MadSci Network: Other

Re: Will musicians ever run out of new songs?

Date: Mon Nov 6 14:43:16 2000
Posted By: Justin Miller, Undergraduate, computer science, Geneva College
Area of science: Other
ID: 973220709.Ot

No, Jordan, musicians will never (theoretically, at least) run out of new 

The human ear can hear from about 20 Hz to about 20 kHz.  That's 19980 
different base frequencies, and that's only if we count integer values.  
If we count all possible frequencies, then of course there are an infinite 
number.  Now, granted, not all of those frequencies are distinguishable to 
the human ear, but that's okay.  It turns out that it doesn't matter about 
the frequencies, because every instrument produces a different waveform--
otherwise they'd all sound the same.  Even one instrument can produce many 
different waveforms (especially electronic instruments) based on what the 
musician does with the instrument.

If you take all that into account, and add the fact that there is not a 
finite number of possible rhythms, it quickly leads to the conclusion that 
there is definitely an insurmountable number of songs that are possible.

Thanks for asking!

Justin Miller
Geneva College

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