Write a Mozart Waltz With a Game He May Have Invented

John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images
John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is known for his musical genius, but for the rest of us, writing the kind of music he could dash off with his eyes closed isn’t exactly easy. But what if you could write a Mozart waltz without knowing a single note? It’s possible—thanks to an 18th-century dice game the maestro himself may have invented.

It’s called a Musikalisches Würfelspiel, a more German way of saying “musical dice game.” The concept is simple: Toss a few dice and use the corresponding numbers to select a short snippet of music. String together the music and voila—a waltz!

The game’s easy to play even if you don’t know any music—or have any dice. The concept, which is used by [PDF] computer science professors to teach their students about two-dimensional arrays and random number generation, has inspired student websites for years. These days, there’s even an app, Mozart Dice Game, to help you do it at home.

Although Mozart’s name is frequently attached to the game, it’s not really clear whether he invented it. Dice were popular in Mozart’s day, and similar games have been attributed to other masters like Joseph Haydn and C.P.E. Bach (son of the more famous Bach). Since Mozart was so popular, it’s possible that his name was simply added onto the game to earn more money. (And Mozart’s love of potty humor, games, and low culture—which would have included playing dice—is well known.)

But we do know that Mozart invented another musical game. When he died, a mysterious paper was apparently discovered in his archives. It includes 39 minuet fragments of two measures each, labeled by Mozart with the letters of the alphabet. Historians now think it’s a game—this one designed to use words and names to create a minuet, although there were no specific instructions included.

Mozart apparently saw music as child’s play, but it’s not clear if he actually used games to compose. That said, he seems to have liked composing while playing other games, like lawn bowling. Of course, having fun always makes music sound sweeter—and many of us might never compose a line without a game to begin with.

Stranger Things Star David Harbour Officiates Fan's Wedding Thanks to Twitter Challenge

Netflix
Netflix

by Natalie Zamora

Stranger Things fans might remember back in January when Chief Hopper actor David Harbour made a kind of ​crazy agreement with an engaged fan. Seems the actor has a sweet spot just like his character!

Ericka Millholland from Springfield, Illinois tweeted at Harbour, asking how many retweets it would take for him to officiate her wedding. Surprisingly, the 43-year-old actor replied the next day, requesting 125,000 retweets, to read a love letter of his choosing, and to cut the first piece of wedding cake.

Harbour's list of demands were ultimately met, as Millholland got almost 132,000 retweets. The actor went on to get ordained, and performed the marriage ceremony this weekend. The best part? He was dressed as Hopper!

Taking to Twitter, Harbour shared a photo from the wedding with his fans, making sure everyone knew he held his promise. "And so me and some fun folks in Springfield, Illinois made good on our promise we made all those months ago," he wrote.

The wedding is hardly Harbour's first time granting a fan request on social media. Back in October, he agreed to take senior photos with a high school student from California, who reached out to him via Twitter.

Come January, Harbour was there in a full on photoshoot with Damaris Fregoso.

It's great to know such a fan-favorite actor not only acknowledges his fans, but actually hangs out and does hilarious stuff with them as well. We'll see more of Harbour when Stranger Things returns for ​Season 3 in summer 2019.

Sony Launches PlayStation Classic, Preloaded With 20 of Your Favorite Games

Sony. Background: iStock
Sony. Background: iStock

Nintendo proved that nostalgia is a powerful force when it released the NES Classic in 2016. Gamers have had a hard time getting their hands on the mini console since its debut, with limited releases appearing in stores with little warning and clearing out just as quickly. Now, Sony is taking a page from Nintendo's book with a retro re-release of its own. This holiday season, the media giant will release the PlayStation Classic, a smaller version of the original PlayStation that comes pre-loaded with 20 games, Polygon reports.

As is the case with the NES Classic, there's no need to pop game cartridges into the new PlayStation console. The PlayStation Classic comes with what you need to get started: two controllers, a HDMI cord for video and audio input, and a micro-USB for power. Once the system has been set up, use the power button on the console to hop from game to game and press the reset button to pause. All your data is saved to a virtual memory card.

Though there will be a total of 20 titles built in to the console, only five have been confirmed so far. Players will be able to play such classics as Final Fantasy 7, Jumping Flash, R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms, all playable in the format fans remember from the 1990s.

The PlayStation Classic will sell for $99 when it makes its worldwide debut on December 3—the 24th anniversary of the launch of the original PlayStation. The release date also makes it a great gift for the holidays—whether you're shopping for loved ones or yourself.

[h/t Polygon]

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