A stunningly beautiful connection between music and computing: Jason Freeman’s “Grow Old”

May 26, 2014 at 8:25 am 1 comment

My eldest child graduated from college this last year, and I’m feeling my first half-century these days.  That may be why I was particularly struck by the themes in Jason Freeman’s beautiful new work.  I recommend visiting and reading the page, and you’ll get why this is so cool, even before you listen to the music.  It’s not live coding — it’s kind of the opposite.  It’s another great example of using music to motivate the learning of computing.

Why can’t my music grow old with me?

Why does a recording sound exactly the same every time I listen to it? That makes sense when recordings are frozen in time on wax cylinders or vinyl or compact discs. But most of the music I listen to these days comes from a cloud-based streaming music service, and those digital 1s and 0s are streamed pretty much the same way every time.

In this world of infinitely malleable, movable bits, why must the music always stay the same? From day to day and year to year, I change. I bring new perspectives and experiences to the music I hear. Can my music change with me?

This streaming EP is my attempt to answer these questions. Once a day, a simple computer program recreates each track. From one day to the next, the changes in each track are usually quite subtle, and you may not even notice a difference. But over longer periods of time — weeks, months, or years — the changes become more substantial. So when you return to this music after a hiatus, then it, like you, will have changed.

via Jason Freeman: Grow Old.

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Constructionism for Adults Adding Coding to the Curriculum: Considering the claims

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Dennis Frailey  |  May 27, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    It’s an interesting concept. But upon thinking about it I realize that there’s another way to look at it. The music I like grows older each day (at least in the minds of everyone else) without my doing a thing. It was contemporary when I was young, and was considered “oldies” when I was middle aged. Now that I’m a ‘senior” my music is considered archaic by many.

    Every generation tends to like its own music the best. But from my perspective, the music I prefer (much of which was from my parents’ generation) is still the best music ever written in the US – music by the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, Harold Arlen, and so many others whose prime was during the depression and the next few decades. I also prefer the way they sang and played music back in those days – arranged by arrangers with talent, sung by singers who could sing in an articulate manner (so you could understand the words), and played by bands that had instruments beyond rhythm, guitars and keyboards (like trombones and saxophones) and didn’t rely on exaggerated rhythm and vocal pyrotechnics to make up for lack of melody and harmony. Sure there are many talented musicians today, but the norm is pretty irritating to my ears. When a singer has to shout or scream they may be demonstrating stunning vocal range but they aren’t singing.


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