Ada Lovelace performance used new Centre software

Ada Lovelace performance used new Centre software

Pioneering 'NumbersIntoNotes' software written by Centre Director Professor David De Roure was used in a performance of Dr Emily Howard's 'Ada Sketches' short operatic work in Manchester on Wednesday 27 July.

The performance, which celebrates the life of the first computer programmer and pioneering mathematician, Ada Lovelace, was part of the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), the biennial, pan-European science conference focused on the latest advancements and discoveries in the sciences, humanities and social sciences.

The software is an interactive web application tool which generates a number sequence. This is then reduced using clock arithmetic and mapped to notes, and the music explored by selecting fragments to play.

"The software uses the mathematics of two centuries ago to generate number sequences, and helps the audience create compositions for live performance by musicians", describes Professor De Roure. "It's an exciting contribution to conversations around music, mathematics, and materiality."

The development of the software is linked to the Centre's participation in the Fusing Audio and Semantic Technologies (FAST) and Transforming Musicology projects, which are fostering new ways for professionals to work with music and for consumers to engage with it, and investigating how advanced computing can alter the way music historians, theorists and psychologists approach their research.

'Ada sketches', Dr Howard's short dramatic vocal work, was presented on 27 July in an evening event at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Dr Howard spoke about the process of composing Ada sketches and the mathematics behind the work with Professor De Roure and mathematician Professor Lasse Rempe-Gillen (University of Liverpool). Dr Howard also led an interactive session where the audience was invited to help 'turn numbers into notes'.

The event followed on from a performance of the Ada sketches in November 2015 in Oxford, organised by the Centre and TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) as part of the 200 year anniversary celebrations of Ada Lovelace. The celebrations draw inspiration from the note by Ada Lovelace: "Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent".