Pre­cur­sor to mp3s re­stored

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

NEW Zealand re­searchers have an­nounced they have re­stored the first record­ing of com­puter-gen­er­ated mu­sic, cre­ated in 1951 on a gi­gan­tic con­trap­tion built by Bri­tish ge­nius Alan Tur­ing.

The au­ral arte­fact, which paved the way for ev­ery­thing from syn­the­sis­ers to mod­ern elec­tron­ica, opens with a staunchly con­ser­va­tive tune – the Bri­tish na­tional an­them “God Save the King”.

Re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury (UC) in Christchurch said it showed Tur­ing – best known as the fa­ther of com­put­ing who broke the World War I Enigma Code – was also a mu­si­cal in­no­va­tor.

“Alan Tur­ing’s pi­o­neer­ing work in the late 1940s on trans­form­ing the com­puter into a mu­si­cal in­stru­ment has been largely over­looked,” they said.

The record­ing was made 65 years ago by a BBC out­side-broad­cast unit at the Com­put­ing Ma­chine Lab­o­ra­tory in Manch­ester, north­ern Eng­land.

The ma­chine, which filled much of the lab’s ground floor, was used to gen­er­ate three melodies: “God Save the King”, “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and Glenn Miller’s swing clas­sic “In the Mood”.

But when UC pro­fes­sor Jack Copeland and com­poser Ja­son Long ex­am­ined the 12-inch (30.5 cen­time­tre) ac­etate disc con­tain­ing the mu­sic, they found the au­dio was distorted.

“The fre­quen­cies in the record­ing were not ac­cu­rate. The record­ing gave at best only a rough im­pres­sion of how the com­puter sounded,” they said.

They fixed it with elec­tronic de­tec­tive work, tweak­ing the speed of the au­dio, com­pen­sat­ing for a “wob­ble” in the record­ing and fil­ter­ing out ex­tra­ne­ous noise.

“It was a beau­ti­ful mo­ment when we first heard the true sound of Tur­ing’s com­puter,” Copeland and Long said in a blog post on the Bri­tish Li­brary web­site.

It fea­tures short snip­pets of the thuthuaung@mm­


IT may seem like the end of the earth, but it’s worth it for the food alone. My­itky­ina, cap­i­tal of Kachin State, is not a drop-in kind of place. Get­ting there by plane of­ten takes sev­eral short do­mes­tic flights, and driv­ing from Yan­gon can take up to two ar­du­ous days on wind­ing moun­tain roads. The state is bet­ter known for its IDP camps, the tan­gled armed con­flicts that gave rise to them, and for the con­tro­ver­sial My­it­sone dam project than as a tourist des­ti­na­tion, but there is much more to Kachin State than the head­lines may have you be­lieve. Here’s The Myan­mar Times’ guide to the must-have ex­pe­ri­ences of My­itky­ina:

What to eat: For Kachin tra­di­tional food, try Jein Hpaw Thu res­tau­rant, down on the banks of the Aye­yarwady River. Pounded beef curry with tasty and aro­matic sea­son­ing, oily tra­di­tional curry with veg­eta­bles, pork salad and biryani (Kachin dan­pauk) with veg­eta­bles and chicken are my favourites. The food is healthy as well as tasty, a far cry from the flash-fried samosas that dom­i­nate Yan­gon’s city streets. You can also try kaung yee sapi if you like food that makes your head spin.

What to drink: The lo­cal dis­tilled liquor tsa pi is cre­ated from fer­mented sticky rice. Light and not too strong, the bev­er­age is a favourite among women, es­pe­cially those seek­ing to put noisy chil­dren to a swift sleep. For stronger li­ba­tions, try the lau khu, which is also made from sticky rice. No mat­ter how much you drink, you can get up early and go to work the next morn­ing. This

Where to go: My­itky­ina, amid its wa­ter­falls and crags, is heaven for trekkers. The best sights can be seen an hour’s walk from the city, less if you go out by mo­tor­bike. The wa­ter in the lakes and the falls is ice-cold.

For scenery, take a trip to the prayer mount at Jaw Bum, about 30 miles (50 kilo­me­tres) north of town. At the foot of the hill is an old ceme­tery filled with white grave­stones, where Kachin pa­triot lead­ers such as KIA Gen­eral Laz­ing Ganaw Bawk have been laid to rest. From the top of the moun­tain, you com­mand a view of the city and its sur­round­ings to beat all oth­ers.

If try­ing to stay closer to town, try out Manaw Kwin, the Manaw fes­ti­val grounds by the river.

The clear air will drive away the last ves­tiges of fumes for those who have come from Yan­gon.

You can see tra­di­tional houses and Manaw poles dec­o­rated in colour­ful mo­tifs. If you start early enough, you can still make it in time to en­joy sun­rise at Bala Min Din Bridge in Mankhane ward.

Later, you can take a pic­nic by Aung Myin Thar Creek as it wan­ders through the moun­tains. The lo­cal res­i­dents catch fish straight from the creek and roast or steam them in bam­boo cages. If you don’t want to cook, any res­tau­rant will sell you some­thing to take away.

If all that sounds too out­doorsy for you, don’t worry: There’s plenty of shop­ping to be done. Ven­dors at the gem­stone mar­ket sell­ing am­ber will give you a warm wel­come, and shops full of colour­ful Kachin gar­ments with their char­ac­ter­is­tic de­signs can en­ter­tain a shop­per for hours. – Trans­la­tion by San Layy and Thiri Min Htun

Rag­ing wa­ter­falls can be found in the jun­gles.

Fried bees – yes, bum­ble­bees – are just one of the many unique Kachin dishes to be found in My­itky­ina.

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