# Bwahahaha! When I control the music, I will control the world! (long)

Now that your attention is firmly within my thread, I am hoping that the combined efforts of our quattuorvigintillions of neurons can solve a problem that vexes me.

I want to corner the music market. I want to write all of the songs currently unwritten, copyright them all, and then sell them for a small profit to any artists who wish to professionally record music. But, there is a problem…

How many songs are there? Of course, there is by necessity a limited number of songs. As there are a limited number of musical notes, and a limited number of permutations, we will someday run out of new music (this may already be happening, given the rampant sampling utilized in the creation of hip hop).

I asked this question of one Mr. David Clampitt, an assistant professor of music at Yale whose specialty is the application of mathematics in music. Sayeth he:

Most of what he said is quite beyond me, though I do understand that the total is perhaps as large as the number used to describe our total number of neurons. With that said, if I owned a monstrous computer such as a Cray X1, and I knew enough about music theory (current level of knowledge: squat) such that I could devise a mathematical formula to have the computer write (assuming I knew anything about programming - current level of knowledge: squat) all songs consisting of melodic combinations of notes and rhythm (all other songs would remain in the realm of modern jazz), could I copyright them all and then sell them back to the likes of Britney and Justin for some major buckaroos?

I asked this question of Cecil about a year back, but have not yet seen an answer, and really can’t wait a moment longer to realize my destiny as the Master of Melody. Please help…rent is due in 4 days.

Will your landlord take a rain check ?

Would you consider

1/2 A - 1/4 rest - 1/4 B - 1/4 B - 1/4 A on a piano the same as

2/5 A - 1/4 rest - 1/4 B - 1/4 B - 2/5 A on some other instrument. ?

They would kinda “sound the same” but they are different melodies.

Your question is number of different perceptible melodies. But then what is the line at which you fail to distinguish between two variants like above ?

Answer that and you would be one step closer.

I would guess it is the “if you had every atom in the universe churning out music for the lifetime of the universe, it still wouldn’t be enough” kind of number.

Plus, doesn’t it cost money to copywrite/patent something? I would say that it would also be economically infeasible on an even grosser scale.

Yes. Whatever your number, multiply it by \$30. If you had that sort of money, you wouldn’t be worrying about the rent.