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87 comments

YMMV (1)

Zephyn (415698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35293662)

I suspect most of my games would wind up sounding like the piano part to "Louie Louie".

Re:YMMV (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295116)

I was thinking the next step would be a music2chess. The awkward situation of Louie Louie beating a chess grand master.

Or even worse, Viswanathan Anand being checkmated by a drummer.

Music2Chess (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295524)

Number of players: 0
Computer chooses: Toccata and Fugue in D minor (white)
Computer chooses: Louie Louie (black)

Start game.

The only winning move is Jam Session.

This is a troll. Please do not bite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35293714)

/me throws out troll bait

It barely qualifies as music. Yes it is listenable, but imitative / algorithmic tunes are merely curiosities. If human creativity were involved in its production, it might sound a little more pleasing.

This is also a troll. Please do bite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35294506)

But there was human creativity involved in its production, it was just not aimed at creating music.

Re:This is a troll. Please do not bite. (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296682)

I've heard a lot of music which was a product of "human creativity", and not even a little bit pleasing.

He added accompaniment (1)

inputdev (1252080) | more than 3 years ago | (#35293716)

I like the idea and everything, but it seems disingenuous to "set blues chords in the left hand to justify the constant tonal shifts from B to b flat in this chess game. The chords modulate from C Major to F Major and finally end in B Flat Major." Not really impressive IMO if the algorithmic compositions can't stand on their own.

Re:He added accompaniment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35294128)

I like the idea and everything, but it seems disingenuous to "set blues chords in the left hand to justify the constant tonal shifts from B to b flat in this chess game. The chords modulate from C Major to F Major and finally end in B Flat Major."

Not really impressive IMO if the algorithmic compositions can't stand on their own.

Sounds like someone's sour that he didn't think of this first. I consider coding in and of itself an art and I think that anything that geeks and nerds do to express their talents in an artistic way is an inspiration to all of us to do the best we can with what we have in as many ways possible. That is what we're supposed to do in our jobs after all. No need to rain on the guy's parade because your ego got bruised.

BTW, I especially like the Immortal Game tune, it's nice and upbeat. Good on this guy for implementing this, kinda brightened my day a little :).

Re:He added accompaniment (4, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295280)

Now we need algorithms to convert code into music. Take the source code for popular programs and convert it to music.
Geek Radio Network announcer:
Next up we have the source code for Internet Explorer rendered as a piece titled "Atonal Nightmare in C#"

Re:He added accompaniment (1)

Takichi (1053302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298774)

It's been done [codesounding.org] , although the output isn't labelled as "music" but as a "sonification". In this way you can quickly get an idea of the flow of your code, rather than solely relying on your eyes to interpret the overall structure.

Re:He added accompaniment (1)

inputdev (1252080) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296104)

I think you're missing my point. I'm simply saying that I don't think it's fair to claim that these songs are the chess games mapped onto piano - the part that is the chess game is the random sounding string of notes that was then accompanied to make it sound nice like a composition, which it is.

Very cool! But what about the opposite? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35293748)

I wonder if there is a song out there that could be mapped to a chess game. This would be much more difficult (if not impossible) to find one AND have the moves be legal / in the correct order.

It'd make for a heck of a flash movie though.

Re:Very cool! But what about the opposite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35294182)

Why the HELL would that need to be in freaking Flash?!

Re:Very cool! But what about the opposite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35294240)

I did not say it needed to be in flash. Furthermore, I don't understand the irrational hatred of flash that you're trying to convey with your post. Did it beat you up and take your lunch money?

Re:Very cool! But what about the opposite? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294314)

Furthermore, I don't understand the irrational hatred of flash that you're trying to convey with your post. Did it beat you up and take your lunch money?

No, that was The Flash. Hating Flash is just a guilt-by-association kind of thing, like how a kid at an Israeli school named Hitler isn't going to be very popular.

Re:Very cool! But what about the opposite? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35295334)

Furthermore, I don't understand the irrational hatred of flash that you're trying to convey with your post. Did it beat you up and take your lunch money?

No, that was The Flash. Hating Flash is just a guilt-by-association kind of thing, like how a kid at an Israeli school named Hitler isn't going to be very popular.

Who in Israel would name a school Hitler?
Hitler Pre-School and Daycare, Don't worry about picking your kids up.

Re:Very cool! But what about the opposite? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35296266)

Surely you know of Godwin's law 6130. Are you trolling?

Oh yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35293776)

Rock out with your cock out!!!!

Re:Oh yeah (2, Funny)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#35293816)

That would have been funnier if you had adjusted it even slightly to the topic, such as 'Rock out with your rook out!' However I suspect for you it would 'Rock out with your pawn out!' Poor AC.

Re:Oh yeah (3, Funny)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294662)

However I suspect for you it would 'Rock out with your pawn out!' Poor AC.

Yeah. Always gets the check, never gets to mate.

And now, for your listening pleasure... (5, Funny)

Zephyn (415698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35293784)

Victor Borge and Bobby Fischer will perform "In the Hall of the Mountain King's Gambit Accepted."

Re:And now, for your listening pleasure... (2)

cruff (171569) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294038)

Let us speculate:
Would Victor use the pieces he captured to modify the sound of his piano by letting them bounce around on the strings?
Or would Victor just provide musical accompaniment and commentary while Bobby played another person, perhaps an opera singer?

Re:And now, for your listening pleasure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35296588)

mod parent insightful — he deserves karma for that post

Other Algorithms (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35293786)

I've thought of this basic idea years ago, but never got anything working. I think a better algorithm can be made by using the "tension" of a game defined by whether something has an "only move" sacrifice or whether it is a simple positional game. Other factors include how threatening or placid a move is.

Amiga (1)

Chysn (898420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35293928)

I did a chess game-to-music algorithm for a university class back in 1993. The algorithm itself was written into an AREXX script for Amiga. AREXX was a neat scripting language for the Amiga; many software packages included an AREXX port, which exposed an API to the language, so that AREXX programs could control the software. So I had the script read chess notation from my word processor, parse it, calculate the music, and write the notation to my notation software, where I could print it, play it, change instrumentation, etc. I actually used this type of workflow for several different algorithms. The early ones focused on the moves themselves, and later involved concepts like captures and threats. It was fun, and I got an A in the class, but I don't remember producing anything sublime.

Listenable compared to what? (5, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35293954)

Seems to me the first thing you'd want is a control game. Convert a game played by two amateurs to music. Or two computers making random legal moves. Do they sound any less listenable?

Or have you just rediscovered basic music theory that random notes in the same key end up sounding like music?

It's pretty clear from listening that it's not following any time pattern; it's got no beat.

Is it the chess game that sounds good? (2)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 3 years ago | (#35293974)

Or is it the program that interpreted the chess game into music? That is, would a bunch of random numbers being fed into the program produce just as good of a sound? Sometimes I wonder about these things.

Re:Is it the chess game that sounds good? (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294214)

You can't really miss if you choose a harmonic framework and make timing interesting enough.

What's interesting here is the method to generate the notes and the relative pitch variance. The former is the choice of the composer (or producer in this case) and the latter comes from the game, from the players.

Re:Is it the chess game that sounds good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35295106)

People have been calling random noise 'Jazz' for years :)

Re:Is it the chess game that sounds good? (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296058)

Actually, there is a thing called aleatory music [wikimedia.org] but one would use 'sound', not 'noise' to talk about it. (Noise:Sound::Weed:Plant)
I do know of one piece of 'music' that could properly be described as random noise: John Cage's 4'33" [wikimedia.org] .
I use the scare quotes there quite purposefully.

Re:Is it the chess game that sounds good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35295554)

Or is it the program that interpreted the chess game into music? That is, would a bunch of random numbers being fed into the program produce just as good of a sound? Sometimes I wonder about these things.

This is an interesting question, although I don't know the answer for this chess music.

There is another project that plays the nesting level of logic proof "trees" as notes, mapped more or less directly without interpretation, with somewhat interesting results. From http://us.metamath.org/mpegif/mmmusic.html [metamath.org]

Unlike a proof's tree structure, which is inherently suggestive of a musical score, the digits of pi have no obvious pattern. To make it interesting, a human composer will often add a non-mathematical creative element such as an underlying beat with pre-selected chords and instrumentation.

Why? (1)

Roger Wilcox (776904) | more than 3 years ago | (#35293994)

This exercise is a waste. We could do a similar exercise with sectors of the lawn your dog chose to piss in and the results would be just as random and useless.

Sometimes I wonder how this stuff makes it onto the main page.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35294056)

There's nothing random about where my dog pisses, and where he craps is even less random. He definitely has an algorithm. One of the parameters seems to be fear -- he is a tough alpha-dog type but when it comes to taking a crap I think he is afraid of the momentary position of weakness it puts him in, so he is extremely meticulous about choosing his spot, and then knowing there is nothing on the other side of the wall or above him, and after some deliberation, does his business.

Re:Why? (1)

drainbramage (588291) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294210)

You sure know a lot about his dog!

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35294598)

GP said "your dog", parent said "my dog". Where exactly is the implication that the dog discussed was GP's?

Re:Why? (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35299000)

GP said "your dog", parent said "my dog". Where exactly is the implication that the dog discussed was GP's?

In a bramaged drain?

Re:Why? (2)

obarel (670863) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294162)

I've actually found a strong correlation between the sectors of the lawn my dog chooses to piss in and the stock exchange. And I don't even have a dog.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35294394)

I have your dog.

Re:Why? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294166)

Yes, he possibly could have used Go; but the algorithm would be much too complex. Every stone is a stone somewhere, and placing one stone to one point to key mapping is not useful. Its threats and influence are rather difficult to calculate, difficult enough for humans to ascertain even. Indeed, the translation of Go to music seems frivolous and illogical; the translation of chess to music seems more likely, but only with a strict structured algorithm intent on the purpose of getting good results in the limited space of a chess game.

Not really a chess-to-music mapping (1)

howlingfrog (211151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294012)

What's being done is starting with a chess game, throwing out most of the information (the positions of non-moving pieces, which piece is moving, and one of the two dimensions of movement), converting (deterministically) what little is left into a sequence of notes, deciding (creatively/non-deterministically) what rhythm to put them in, and deciding (creatively/non-deterministically) how to harmonize them. It's only a mapping between maybe 10% of the game and maybe 20% of the music.

It's a mildly interesting way to "seed" the creative process, but it's neither an impressive intellectual accomplishment (from a musical or mathematical perspective) nor a testament to hidden order in the universe. Most people seem to be misinterpreting it as one (or paradoxically both) of those.

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35294220)

What's being done is starting with a chess game, throwing out most of the information (the positions of non-moving pieces, which piece is moving, and one of the two dimensions of movement), converting (deterministically) what little is left into a sequence of notes, deciding (creatively/non-deterministically) what rhythm to put them in, and deciding (creatively/non-deterministically) how to harmonize them. It's only a mapping between maybe 10% of the game and maybe 20% of the music.

It's a mildly interesting way to "seed" the creative process, but it's neither an impressive intellectual accomplishment (from a musical or mathematical perspective) nor a testament to hidden order in the universe. Most people seem to be misinterpreting it as one (or paradoxically both) of those.

This is what I hate about fellow nerds. As soon as someone in the community accomplishes something, they have to shit on whatever they accomplish and bitch about everything they do wrong and explain how they could do it much better without actually producing actual results. All this guy wanted to do was create something fun out of something most people thing is boring and I think he succeeded beautifully. If this leads to increased appreciation for what we nerds do then we all win. Put up or shut up. You probably couldn't reproduce what this guy has done if your life depended on it. If you don't want to produce something better, then quit talking out of your ass.

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35336360)

Ah, the classic "if you can't do it better yourself you have no place complaining".

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (1)

CowardWithAName (679157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294234)

RTFA again. The pieces moving aren't being thrown out, they're being used to determine the note value, and thus the rhythm the notes are being put in is being determined by the chess game. The rest of your points are valid.

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (1)

howlingfrog (211151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294296)

Ah, yes, I missed that. The point remains that this is not (and is not even intended to be) algorithmic composition by any stretch of the imagination.

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35296638)

If you ignore the chords, many good chess/music folks would be able to recreate the game.

Really good players can play an entire game without a board or pieces at all. You just name the moves and keep track of the pieces in your head (a Blindfold [wikipedia.org] game). Pretty much anyone in USCF class B can do it as can many in class C.

The most common chess notation for games contains almost exactly as much information as this guy's music. The only exception is that this music loses the distinction if more than one pawn/piece can make a move.

It is also common to notate that a capture takes place, but it isn't strictly required since moving to the same space as an opponents piece/pawn is an implied capture.

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294272)

The only good point you've made is the elimination of one of the dimensions of movement. However, the combination of piece value and target file is much more significant than a 10% compression of the game. For example, at any given point in the game, there's very few different moves possible from those conditions. The non-moving pieces are non-moving; even in chess notation nobody cares about those.

Additionally, the goal of this exercise is to deterministically convert chess to music. So I think you're missing the point if you count that as a negative.

Calling this 20% of music is a bit harsh as well. True, many elements of music are not represented here, but arguably this is adding an additional element.

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (1)

howlingfrog (211151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294468)

It sounds like you know more about chess than I do, so I'll take your word for it that more than 10% of the game is represented. But speaking as both a mathematician and a musician, I was being generous in describing melody alone as 20% of musical content. Listen to a piano arrangement of Pachelbel's canon, then a song called Heeding The Call by power-metal band Hammerfall and tell me I'm wrong. The non-deterministic additions Stokes is making to the deterministic chess output match, or arguably slightly exceed, the differences between Pachelbel's and Hammerfall's interpretations of the same melody.

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295872)

OK, call me very, very thick today, but I don't understand what you really wanted to say. Do you mean that Pachelbel's Canon [in D?] and Heeding The Call share a melody? When you are comparing Stokes's non-deterministic additions to the difference between PC and HtC, do you mean they are both big?

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (1)

howlingfrog (211151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35297646)

Yes, Heeding The Call takes its entire melody, and even most of its chord progression, directly from Canon in D--and yet they sound so different that a non-musician wouldn't notice that they had anything in common at all. That's how small a part melody plays in music. And that tiny fragment of common ground--melody--is the ONLY part of the chess music that is generated algorithmically from the game descriptions. The rest--the vast majority--comes from Stokes' imagination.

There's certainly nothing wrong with seeding the creative process with outside information, as I described it. Bach himself used to ask people to hit a few random keys on his harpsichord, then improvise fugues based on the themes they came up with. Whole subgenres of mid-20th century experimental music are built on similar ideas. But that's all this is, just another particular source of outside inspiration, not a new development in (or even an example of!) algorithmic composition.

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35297774)

Heeding The Call takes its entire melody, and even most of its chord progression, directly from Canon in D--and yet they sound so different that a non-musician wouldn't notice that they had anything in common at all.

Very interesting. Obviously I'm not a musician ;)

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298012)

I find it interesting that when one googles for pachelbel canon and heeding the call together, only your post comes up, or else I gave up browsing too early. I know that it may be that no one else had explicitly mentioned it, but I still find it a bit strange that it's not a widely known piece of trivia given popularity of both the canon and Hammerfall. I've tried to find the similarities, and lo and behold, one can start from the now obvious [youtube.com] and go from there.

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35298210)

This rant [youtube.com] gives even more examples, even if it misses Heeding The Call. And thanks to you I've spent 3 hours on youtube instead of working, great ;)

Re:Not really a chess-to-music mapping (1)

howlingfrog (211151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35303074)

Wow, that was hilarious, thanks for posting it. I feel for the guy--orchestral trombone parts (I'm a trombonist) are all like that.

Hermann Hesse, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35294018)

Joseph Knecht... Magister Ludi... The Glass Bead Game? Music, mathematics, strategy of Chess/Go...

Just sayin'

What about the sofa? (1)

UriGagarin (1268184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294280)

The important question is how does the sofa get round that bend in the stairs?

Re:What about the sofa? (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295438)

Richard MacDuff called and wants you the hell out of his apartment. And take that damned monk with you when you go. You can leave the horse.

Experimental pieces - interesting but not new (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294336)

The idea of using fairly random or non-musical elements in composing music is definitely not a new idea: John Cage [wikipedia.org] famously created a piece using the I Ching as the source of randomness. The thing is, how it sounds depends largely on how you set the parameters you randomize. For instance, if you allow pitch to change because somebody played Qd2, but have all the notes at the same volume, the most noticeable effect will be the relatively constant volume.

And yes, I am a music geek who's even composed a few things this way that came out not half-bad.

Re:Experimental pieces - interesting but not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35309716)

Yeah... volume and rhythm really need to be varied. Otherwise you end up with something almost as emotionally resonant as Animusic.

Silly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35294342)

I am a lover of games such as chess and a lover of music (I play piano a lot). Personally, I found this blogger's idea to be irrational or silly at best. Any stream of data can be converted to (bad) music (see John Cage, '50s/'60s) and this guy just picked some chess moves to arbitrarily convert into diatonic chords and melody. Good job - you've created nothing and, in a way, disrespected two great arts in the process.

Tried with the games of a Latvian player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35294508)

and it sounds like heavy meTAL

Grammar fail :( (1)

Swaziboy (1457667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35294798)

"Outputted" - seriously? More coffee for the poster methinks. Or a spell check enabled browser.

Re:Grammar fail :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35296626)

since “output” is a modern verbification, its conjugation should be regular, so yes, “outputted” is grammatically correct

Pretty neat (1)

pjbgravely (751384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295522)

What they need to do next is to map a companies financial reports to music. That might make some money if the government doesn't buy it out.

Great (1)

Silvermistshadow (1943284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35295710)

Next thing you know some lawyer will be running around getting people to reveal what they aren't telling him by playing an elaborate game of mental chess.

Another cool chess/music project (4, Interesting)

jbum (121617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35296250)

Back in 2009, I did something very similar with one of the 1997 Kasparov vs. Deep Blue games.

One difference is that I used a chess engine, and made the search tree audible, so you can hear the chess computer "thinking". Here's my original blog article: http://www.krazydad.com/blog/2009/05/musical-chess/ [krazydad.com] and here's video from the concert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42G6P0b72Gk [youtube.com]

The Glass Bead Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35296652)

Reminds me a lot of Magister Ludi (or The Glass Bead Game, depending on which version of the translation you got) by Herman Hesse.

Also, Haskell Small composed a piano duet about a game of Go played by Shusaku vs. Ota Yuzo.
It's on Youtube in two parts:

part 1 [youtube.com]
part 2 [youtube.com]

Re (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35297872)

My daily dosis of bullshit

How about this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35298276)

I wonder if we could flip this concept on this back and turn music into chess games?!
Take a large bunch of existing popular music files , see if anything maps to a logically played chessgame . If anything like that exists .. well i'll be damned

Re:How about this.. (1)

Jake Griffin (1153451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35313716)

I highly doubt you would find anything that worked. Here's just a few things that would narrow down the list quite dramatically: First, there would have to be an even number of notes in the song, which wouldn't be that hard to find, but it eliminates about half of all songs. Second, the entire song would have to be played without any sharps/flats (black keys) except B flat/A sharp (though that could probably be obtained from many songs by transposing). Third, there could be exactly one "rest" (no note played) and it would have to appear at the very end of the song. Fourth, the song would have to consist entirely of 16th, 8th, quarter, and half notes. Fifth, the song would have to be entirely in a single octave, with the exception that notes in the next highest octave would be permitted if preceded by an identical note in the lower octave.

And these don't even incorporate the rules of chess... every two notes would have to correspond to a valid chess move.

Fool's Mate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35298776)

Would the Fool's Mate game sound like "Shave and a Haircut?"

Meh, no big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35299272)

It's called aleatoric music (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleatoric_music)

When I was an undergrad music major, I created an algorithm to convert games of a particular variant of solitaire to four-part "harmony". It was part of a sophomore theory project. I had to do it all by hand, since it took place in 1980.

The results were un-surprisingly un-listenable.

the missing link -- B=Bflat and H=B (1)

johnrpenner (40054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35299662)

i was already working on 'audiobrain' for pChess - mapping move scores to pitch, but jon stokes system for mapping square values to note and octave makes too much sense - using Bflat for B, and Bnatural for the H column is just genius, and provides the missing link - i sense a new feature coming to pChess.. :-}

pChess (open source chess application for OS X) [earthlink.net]

I've been listening to these so long... (2)

srobert (4099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35300596)

I've been listening to these so long, I don't even hear the music anymore. All I see is pawn, knight, redhead.

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