Today Google has released a doodle as homage to Oskar Fischinger which includes a page to make your own composition by clicking dots representing notes.

I can't recognize the notes but I noticed that any combination produces beautiful chords and that clicking more notes improves them, no matter which ones you choose.

I want to know how it works. Why are there no dissonances? How can it be that there are only harmonious chords?

I guess that they do so by only allowing notes placed at fitting intervals (thirds? fifths? octaves?) and not dissonant ones (seconds? fourths?). I also noticed that the bottom line and the fifth one yield the same notes and I suppose that the notes might be Do, Mi, Sol, Si, Do (C, E, G, B, C) in the bottom rows, but from here upwards it becomes more complicated.

Then my questions are:

  • How does this page work to always produce beautiful music?
  • Is it just how the notes are chosen or is there anything else?
  • How are the notes chosen?
  • 1
    Oh, great: now I'm going to waste hours playingwith that instead of getting work done! Jun 22 '17 at 12:15
  • 1
    @CarlWitthoft I'm sorry...
    – Pere
    Jun 22 '17 at 12:28

I don't have an instrument handy to check the notes, but depending on what dots you click I think you can get 2nds, 7ths, and 9ths so technically dissonances are possible. Some notes are 'missing' in that it isn't a full scale so some harsh dissonances will be avoided. It's similar to a pentatonic scale where all the notes sound nice together, because the palette of notes is limited.

If you select all the dots on either a single horizontal or vertical line you will hear one giant, banging chord or one single note repeated. Then it doesn't sound so pretty. It relies on the space between the notes that remain when the typical person just clicks around the grid randomly.

Another factor is the tones of the instruments. They are really great sounds! If you replaced them with low quality sounds, it probably wouldn't sound as impressive.

I hope I don't sound like I am making light of this app. I think it's really impressive. I'm only making a few points about how I think is works musically.

You may be interested in 'musical dice' games. It's another way of making quasi-random music where seemingly any random selection of music works.


How are the notes chosen?

The notes are all in the same major key. You can change the major key in the "Modify" sidebar menu.

How does this page work to always produce beautiful music?

IMO, you can easily construct your composition such that it isn't beautiful. There are some dissonances in http://g.co/doodle/gmt9c3, especially in some of the chords in the second half (you may need to click on the doodle to access my example composition). The dissonances are mainly in the seconds between some of the notes that share an instrument and vertical slot.

That the "circle" instrument has a high tendency to produce out-of-tune notes isn't helping.

  • I'm sorry I can't accept two answers. Thank you anyway.
    – Pere
    Jun 27 '17 at 12:22

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