Turing: Maths & Music …the seven musical notes

Luisa Liu
LONDON– Where is nowadays’ elettronic music from? And where is the synthesizer from?
It was Alan Turing -an English scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and biologistas, as well as the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence- who created the first artificial music in 1951, 65 years ago.
Actually, Turing highly influences the development of theoretical computer science, providing a diagnosis of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which is wide considered a model of a general purpose computer.
Turing contributes a lot to innovate the tecnology and the music, revolutionizing the computer so that it becomes a musical instrument. Nobody has ever thought about it.
During the Second World War, Turing did a lot against the Nazis. He played a crucial role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enable the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many critical engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic. It has been estimated that thanks to his work the war in Europe was shortensed by as many as four years. That’s incredible, just admirable.
After the war, Turing designed the Automatic Computing Engine, an early eletronic stored-program computer design. He also helped Max Newman to develop the Manchester computers. He predicted oscillating chemical reactions, he discover this, he created that, he did so much for the UK, for the Allies, for all the world; …nevertheless, Turing was prosecuted in 1952 for homosexual acts. Such behaviour was still a criminal act in the UK. He accepted treatment with the chemical castration as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954 from cyanide poisoning, noboby does really know whether it is a suicide or an accidental poisoning.
Only 55 years after his death, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for his treatment. Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon in 2013.

The Oscar winning movie “The imitation game” told his story, but the link between the matematician Turing and the music had not been highlighted yet.
Canterbury university’s Researchers found the original record, made 65 years ago in Bbc’s study, which contains only three piece:
God Save the King“, the british national anthem;
Baa, baa, black sheep“, a song for children;
In the mood“, a famous song of the American Gleen Miller.
But the professor John Copeland e the composer Jason Long found out that the tape was seriously damaged. Therefore, only after a long time of hard working, the tape was restorated. During the break of “In the mood”, you can hear an ironic comment “In this piece, he was certainly in no mood”.
Thanks also to Christopher Stracey, who remind the name of Turing, today even we can hear the elettronic-music-tape once again, even we can live it once again.