Tuesday, February 22, 2011

music and computation

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's view on music ('the hidden arithmetical exercise of a mind unconscious that is calculating') has (at least) two straightforward interpretations. The first one is essentially reductionist (a 'fallacy of the misplaced concreteness' according to Alfred North Whitehead) and tends to suggest that music is nothing but computation (albeit in the background/unconscious, in a less obvious way). The second interpretation of the music-calculating connection runs somehow in the opposite direction, and tends to suggest that there is more to computation than meets the eye, an ethereal/ineffable/musical/higher-order quality. At this point, one might try to revisit the spirit of some traditional Gödelian themes...
Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:FortranCardPROJ039.agr.jpg