Melodyne Inventor Peter Neubäcker Interview (Heavy Conversation For The Mind)

This video, What does a stone sound like?, captures a deep interview with Melodyne inventor Peter Neubäcker, that takes a deep dive into music theory and the math that underlies music.

It was the question “What does a stone sound like?” that led Peter Neubäcker to the invention of Melodyne around 15 years ago.

Neubäcker, the primary person behind such Celemony Melodyne, DNA Direct Note Access and Capstan discusses his passion for philosophy, music and mathematics as well as how guitar-making, Johannes Kepler and the science of Harmonics influenced him and led to the development of Melodyne.

00:30 — Music, philosophy and the Numbers
04:25 — The Monochord, Lambdoma and zero and infinity as the origin of all notes
09:50 — Grasp and comprehend, chaos and fractals
12:35 — Programming and guitar-making
16:00 — Youth, years of quest, and the birth of an interest
21:30 — The sound of a stone and the idea of Melodyne
24:40 — DNA Direct Note Access and the legendary roll of bathroom tissue

via CelemonySoftware

15 thoughts on “Melodyne Inventor Peter Neubäcker Interview (Heavy Conversation For The Mind)

  1. Quite fascinating. A man with ideas who understands music at both the high-levels and low-levels. Wish there were more people as interesting as him.

  2. Agreed with the genius comments, and the understanding music at both high and low levels, but…

    … could have a bit more depth on the mathematical side. For example, the markings on his monochord are more than beautiful and musically useful, they are a Farey Sequence. Look it up, it's a part of Number Theory, which is barely glanced on in school mathematics classes (you remember learning about prime numbers and lowest common denominators – that's the start of number theory.)

    How mathematics is taught at school parallels the development of Western music. First you learn about Rational Numbers (aka Vulgar Fractions) – which is equivalent to Just Intonation. Then you reach a sticking point – the more arithmetic you do on vulgar fractions, the bigger the numerators and denominators get, which is the sticking point in JI – the more intervals, the more you are heading towards Pythagorean commas and wolf tones and the like.

    At this point you abandon Rational Numbers and jump into Real Numbers – decimal fractions, which maps onto Even Temperament, and all those horrid wolf tones vanish, at the cost of the loss of perfect consonance.

    If they stuck with Rational Numbers and plunged headlong into the more tricky aspects of Number Theory eventually you would arrive at Mediant Rounding schemes (note: "mediant" in the mathematical, not the musical sense, although there is a relationship here) – which I strongly suspect are something that researchers into microtonal music would be very interested to hear about. My intuition is that a system that implements this could be the basis of a system that has the consonance of JI and the flexibility of ET. Unfortunately my grasp of Music Theory is strictly limited, or I would be pursuing this avenue myself. But if you're reading this and are strong on both math and music, the best reference for the mathematical side is The Art of Compuer Programming by D E Knuth. (Volume 2, Seminumerical Algorithms 2nd Edition (1981, Addison Wesley, the chapter on Rational Arithmetic (4.5) and specifically 4.5.3 Analysis of Euclids Algorithm, exercise 40)

  3. Sometimes I wonder if this Peter Neubacker isn't just an actor paid by Celemony to make the whole Melodyne business more "magic". The guy is just so perfect for the job that it's something I can't get out of my head.

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