Daisy Bell /Bicycle Built for Two (1892/1961) 2'00"
[ Harry Dacre, arr. Max V. Mathews ]
When Dacre, an English popular composer, first came to the United States, he brought with him a bicycle, for which he was charged duty. His friend, the songwriter William Jerome, remarked lightly: 'It's lucky you didn't bring a bicycle built for two, otherwise you'd have to pay double duty.' Dacre was so taken with the phrase 'bicycle built for two' that he decide to use it in a song, which he titled "Daisy Bell".
There was a real Daisy who inspired the song— the Countess of Warwick, Frances Brooke, one of the mose desirable women of those times, and one of the wealthiest. Daisy was her nickname. For a while she was the mistress of the Prince of Wales (subsequently Edward VII, king of England, 1901-10). In her lifetime, she became a vegetarian, championed women's education and stood as a Labour (leftist/socialist) candidate. She was eventually married to John Boyd Dunlop, the founder of the rubber company.
Mathews' arrangement of "Daisy Bell" is nearly as 'old time' for us now as Dacre's tune was in 1961. Since then, the computer has become a virtuosic singer; 1994's castrato from the movie "Farinelli" was a singing computer— as no one today is interested in undergoing the requisite snip to have that lovely singing voice. And we can't forget today's popular music is kept tune by singing computers, pitch correctors which sing with the pop star's own voice.
Mathews' singing computer is based on the work of John Kelly of Bell Laboratories and others. Arthur C. Clark heard the computer-synthesized song when he visited the labs, and had Hal the computer sing it in 2001, "A Space Odyssey"— while Hal was being disconnected.
—ja, from David Ewen, Fizzgig, & J. R. Pierce
The Second Law (1961) 3'00"
The second law of thermodynamics (the law of entropy) was formulated in the middle of the nineteenth century following observations that, like the fall or flow of a stream that turns a mill wheel, it is the "fall" or flow of heat from higher to lower temperatures that motivates a steam engine. One way the law can be stated is:
Energy spontaneously tends to flow only from being concentrated in one place to becoming diffused and spread out.
Whenever an energy distribution is out of equilibrium a potential or thermodynamic "force" exists that the world acts spontaneously to dissipate or minimize. Entropy is the measure of "diffusion" or "disorder", so the second law states that in all natural processes, the entropy of the world always increases.
The second law has inspired many 'entropic visions' in the last century, which is not too surprising— two devastating world wars, the invention of nuclear warfare. W.B. Yeats' states the law when he writes "things fall apart" in his poem about the dawning of the first of the world wars, "The Second Coming".
When referring to information theory, the notion of entropy is related to the noisiness of a system. Mathews doesn't dwell on the apocalyptic implications of the the law of entropy, but instead plays with noise in his "The Second Law". About it J.R. Pierce writes:
This composition makes extensive use of random noise. The noise is used with a variety of bandwidths (the frequency limits of a given sound pattern) to achieve effects ranging from noise of definite pitch to pitchless noise. Contrasted against the noise is a tone with vibrato.
—ja from F. L. Lambert
Max V. Mathews (USA)
was born in Columbus, Nebraska, on November 13, 1926. He studied electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology receiving a Sc.D. in 1954.
He worked in acoustic research at AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1955 to 1987 where he directed the Behavioral and Acoustic Research Center. This laboratory carried out research in speech communication, visual communication, human memory and learning, programmed instruction, analysis of subjective opinions, physical acoustics, and industrial robotics.
From 1974 to 1980 he was the Scientific Advisor to the Institute de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), Paris, France. In 1987 Mathews joined the Stanford University Music Department in the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) as Professor of Music (Research) where he developed a new pickup for electronic violins and a real-time computer system for music performance called the Conductor and Improv Programs and a 3D MIDI Controller called the Radio Baton.
AT Bell Labs in 1957, Mathews demonstrated synthesis of music on a digital computer with his Music I program. Music I was followed by Music II through Music V and GROOVE, all were involved in the composition and performance of music on and with computers. These programs have been influential in the development of computer music. For this pioneering work he has been called the "father of computer music," and most recently, "the great grandfather of techno!"
Max Mathews has conducted research on computer methods for speech processing, human speech production and auditory masking, and developed techniques for computer drawing of typography. He created the first computer singing, "Bicycle Built for Two," made famous by the Kubrick movie 2001 as the swan song of the dying computer. The developer of "Music V" synthesis software and "Groove," the first computer system for live performance, he is also the inventor of the Radio Baton, a computer-driven device that allows the user to conduct their own orchestral performances from MIDI files stored in the computer. This gives the user control over tempo, dynamics and balance among all the orchestral instruments. The commercial software product "Max" was based on Mathews' ideas for a flexible, user-patchable sound generating system.
Mathews is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and is a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Acoustical Society of America, the IEEE, and the Audio Engineering Society.
Among the more idiosyncratic forms of recognition he has received, Mathews' Electronic Violin was featured recently on the cover of Playboy magazine. He has won the IEEE Gold Medal, Acoustical Society of America Silver Medal, and the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres, République Française.