Schedule Feb 19, 2014
Rhythms & Algorithms ~ Physics and Music
Theo Geisel, Max Planck Institute,

Even the best musicians do not play rhythms with perfect precision. Slight deviations from an ideal beat pattern are a fundamental characteristic of music played by humans. In this public lecture, using techniques from statistical physics and chaos theory, Prof. Geisel will discuss the laws underlying rhythmic fluctuations and their role in musical perception. With acoustic demonstrations and musical examples ranging from J.S. Bach's The Art of Fugue to stochastic music, he will highlight the role of long-range correlations in music and its connection to information processing in the brain. One application of these findings is a "humanizing algorithm" which allows computer-performed music to sound more human.

Introduction by Lars Bildsten

Musical Score
Theo Geisel Theo Geisel is managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and founder of the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Göttingen, Germany. Trained as a theoretical physicist, he held faculty positions in Würzburg and Frankfurt before arriving in Göttingen. In 1994, he was recognized with the Leibniz Prize. Well known for his research on nonlinear and chaotic systems, he has worked in fields that include quantum chaos, the spread of epidemics, and theoretical brain research. As a student, he showed similar versatility, neglecting his studies (from time to time) in favor of the saxophone and flute, and performing in styles ranging from avant-garde jazz to renaissance music. He even recorded a jazz album with the somewhat Seussianly named combo The Flohzirkus ("flea circus") of August Stockinger.

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