You are? Wow! What luck! Apparently Recreational Mathemusician Vi Hart had the exact same kind of morning recently, and used it as the springboard for addressing the 12-Tone Technique originally devised by Arnold Schoenberg. Uninitiated philistines may want to double down on the caffeinated beverage of their choice, as this stuff is dense, and Hart talks the way a hummingbird flies.
But as she notes at the 15 minute mark, “Creativity means fearlessly embracing things that seem odd, even random, knowing that if you keep your brain open you’ll eventually find the connections.”
Ergo, those of us whose reference level (or, it must be said, interest) is no match for a 30 minute treatise on the history and logic of ordering the twelve pitch-classes of the chromatic scale into numerically designated sets should find something to chew on, too: copyright and Fair Use Law, for starters; the constraint-bound experimental fiction of French literary group Oulipo, not to mention Borges’ “Library of Babel” and the organized randomness of Rorschach blots and constellations; zombies… John Cage…
(Easy to imagine the sort of jacked-up, explanation-crazed, bed-resistant child she must have been.)
As ever, her sharpie-on-spiral stop-motion visuals add dimension, especially now that she seems to be experimenting with giving her on-the-fly stick figures a certain Hyperbole-and-a-Half exuberance.
For good measure, we’ve added a conventional video primer on the 12 Tone Technique by The New York Times below.