Mozart’s Dice Game

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This activity is another one of my favourites. It first appeared on my blog in this form.

This activity is a great introduction to the fundamental counting principle.

  1. Explain to your class that Mozart (they think) created a dice game whereby a pair of dice is rolled 16 times to create a minuet. Based on the roll, a certain measure is inserted. In the end, you have 16 randomly selected measures. More detailed explanation.
  2. The trio section is created in the same way, but only a single die is rolled to determine the 16 measures.
  3. Create a minuet as a class by going here. I live in mortal fear that someday this site will disappear. It’s fantastic, because you can even view and print the score for the minuet you create.
  4. Tell your class that you are pretty darn sure no one has ever heard that minuet before. Ask them to figure out why.
  5. Turn them loose. They will invent the fundamental counting principle. Honest.

Extensions:

  • What is the number we generated called? (Wolfram Alpha will help out with this)
  • How long would it take to listen to all the possible minuets?
  • What if every person in the world started systematically working together to make sure every minuet got played? How long would that take?
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3 thoughts on “Mozart’s Dice Game

  1. Do you by any chance have a new website that still works for this? I can’t create any midi files. 😦

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