Musical Dice Game
It was the (nowadays almost unknown) composer and musicologist Johann Philipp Kirnberger (1721–1783) who made musical dice games fashionable as a popular pastime in 1757 with his publication “Der allezeit fertige Polonoisen- und Menuettenkomponist“. Previously, Johann Sebastian Bach‘s second son, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788), had realised the idea of incorporating chance in composing with his paper “Einfall, einen doppelten Contrapunct in der Octave von sechs Takten zu machen, ohne die Regeln davon zu wissen“.
The best-known musical dice game of this kind is attributed to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). His “Anleitung so viel Walzer oder Schleifer mit zwei Würfel zu componiren so viel man will ohne musikalisch zu seyn noch etwas von der Composition zu verstehen” was published in 1793 after his death by Johann Julius Hummel (Berlin-Amsterdam).
The underlying principle of musical dice games is to create a uniform and periodic piece of music, where the selection of bars is random, for example by rolling dice. The compositions on which this random selection is based are usually waltzes, polonaises or minuets.
By means of the experiment “Musical Dice Game” in the Maths Adventure Land, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s idea of selecting 16 bars from 176 bars arranged in two tables (see below) by rolling the dice 16 times, and thus composing a “new” piece of music (waltz), can be realised. Acoustically too!
You need two dice and the following two tables: