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Computer Symphonies 

June 22, 2015

It was a pretty limited development platform. No graphics. I could display ascii text in 16 colors and that was about it. But, the music synthesizer was pretty impressive. 

The IT-99 was the first computer I wrote code on. It was all BASIC. Not that it was simple. BASIC is a computer language. My program was the results of a survey on world events in 1982. (Good Thing I Didn’t Test It First) I could include the frequency for each note and the length. By today’s standards it was pretty simple, but at the time, it was awesome. 

And it’s the music aspect that got me thinking. Music and computer science and science in general have a long history. My first real company, WordPerfect was founded by a Alan Ashton, a Computer Science professor at BYU and Bruce Bastien, the director of the BYU marching band. Bruce and Alan met when Bruce wanted to use computers to simulate the different band formations. 

 Albert Einstein was an accomplished violinist and pianist. 

Life without playing music is in- conceivable for me. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music…I get most joy in life out of music.

Brian May, the lead singer for Queen has a PhD in astrophysics. Art Garfunkel was touring with Paul Simon and working on a doctorate in Mathmatics at the same time. 

Steve Martin is best known as an actor and comic. He’s also an accomplished bango player and was an early adopter of computers. I remember someone on my team at WordPerfect getting a call from Martin. He really didn’t want to give his name when the agent needed to call him back. 

I think the structure of music appeals especially to programmers. At its heart, a song is a program. It has a beginning and and an end. It has a structure and a framework. It has certain notes that are allowed and others that aren’t based on the key signature. It has constructs that are not dissimilar to procedures in coding. 

Yesterday was Father’s Day. My family gave me several gifts, but two of them stand out. 

A ticket to The Stadium of Fire

Provo, Ut puts on one of the biggest 4th of July celebrations in the United States. While fireworks are a big part of the event, it’s really an excuse for a concert. Actually a series of concerts. This year, I especially wanted to go because my 16 year old daughter will be performing. Her dance troupe was selected to perform. Another group performing will be the Cresent Super Band. This is a professional High School band conducted by my friend Caleb Chapman. I’ve never seen them in concert. . .Oh and the 80’s rock band Journey will be performing too. 
Imagine Dragons Night Visions CD


You might remember that I talked about buying this CD when I was trying to expand my music tastes. (What Bruno Mars and Imagine Dragons Taught Me About My Job) But, that was the standard version. Yesterday I got the enhanced version that includes seven additional tracks. 

I was reminded again how much music and computers overlap in my own life. From coding on that TI-99 back in high school to loading up my iPad with 7000 songs, computers and music have both played a large part in my life. 

This week, I’m going to be talking about how music has interacted with my computer IT career. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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