The March of the Munchkin Mischief Makers
(from the "What's In a Name series, by Bill Pere)
Featuring the voices of Faith, Rebecca, and Joseph Cowan

You're hearing voices, but no words. You're hearing music , but no instruments. How? The voices of three people, Faith, Rebecca, and Joseph Cowan, were recorded into a computer. The computer allows each piece of the sound to be separated from the rest, like the "O" in "Joseph" or the long "A" in "Faith". The different parts of the names, said in the kids own voices, become new kinds of musical instruments which are then used to create a song. The bass sound in "March of the Munchkin Mischief Makers" is from the name "Joseph". The melody is from the "A" in Faith, and
the organ-like chords are from the "A" at the end of "Rebecca". The percussion sounds come from the last name "Cowan", and other effects heard throughout the song are from other pieces of the names. There are absolutely no other musical instruments of any kind used in this song except for the sounds from the names.

Using computers to work with sound in this way is not new. Called "sampling" or digital sound, it is the same method that makes CD's, or that records messages on a telephone answering machine without using cassettes. Everything about a sound...how loud it is, how high or low, how long it plays, and what it sounds like (its shape) are all represented by numbers....and computers are great with moving numbers around very fast.
Another thing that computers can do is to take a melody and create a "mirror image", so that parts which go up now go down, and parts which go down now go up. It would be like having regular music written out in notes, and then putting a mirror through one of the lines or spaces on the staff, and then playing the reflection. The middle part of this song is a mirror image of the first part.
This is an example of 
how math and computers can be used in art and music.

Copyright Bill Pere. All Rights Reserved