[Haskell-cafe] Mozart versus Beethoven (was: Writing "Haskell For Dummies ...)

Kirsten Chevalier catamorphism at gmail.com
Wed Dec 13 19:05:31 EST 2006

On 12/13/06, minh thu <noteed at gmail.com> wrote:
> Another difference with music that strikes me is the level of
> abstraction : a note is a note. A line of code (especially in a
> imperative setting) is much more than a line of code. Ok, one can
> argue that notes interact together but, imo, not in the same way line
> of code can do.
> Programming is complex, you have to layer code on codeon code. Music
> is quite 'direct', you hear it without thinking.

I'm not sure that's right, though. Just as a line of code seems to be
simple but what's going on at the hardware level is very complex, a
musical note is simple but what goes in inside your brain when you
hear one is extremely complex, poorly understood, and the details of
it aren't accessible to you consciously. You say "you hear it without
thinking" -- exactly, you feel like you're "not thinking" because of
all of the amazingly complicated things that are going on inside. No
program is nearly that complex!

I suppose I must be channeling Hofstadter.


Kirsten Chevalier* chevalier at alum.wellesley.edu *Often in error, never in doubt
"One of these days and it won't be long / Going down in the valley and
sing my song
Gonna sing it loud, sing it strong / Let the echo decide if I was
right or wrong"
-- Bob Dylan

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