Imagine listening to the radio... your favourite song pops up... but before you can get into it... it's all over! Now you want to listen to it again but the radio has moved on to another song and you're left high and dry.
Now imagine that the second song on the radio suddenly sounds eerily similar to your favourite. That would be nice, wouldn't it?
This ability to recognise similarities in the pattern of musical notes is something that has, apparently, been hardwired into your brain. It turns out that our brains tend to accept (look for?) signals similar to the ones we want and then register similar (as approximately as possible) feelings of pleasure in our minds.
An article on Wired.com introduces the possibility of an interstitial form of music (assuming music is a strategically ordered selection of frequencies of sound). The report says the recurring tone or factor is called a fractal - a typically self-similar pattern, where self-similar means they are the same from near as from far.
Now, assume two forms of music - Brown and White - in which the latter is best described as the static between, for example, radio music and the former as the random motion of small particles, where every position is only a slight distance away from the other.
The third form of music, which we mostly refer to, is described as 1/f music. The report defines this as "power law decay in the correlations between pitch over time".
So What about Fractal Music?
The 1/f music referred to is similar to fractal music. It lays in-between Brown and White music, with a mix of down and upscales. Fractal music has the near-perfect combination of pattern and randomness and, if you look closely at the shape of the curve described by 1/f music, it has a shape that upon reduction retains its similarity to the parent piece.
The fractal nature of pitch in music is known. However, a research paper by Daniel Levitin then suggested there could be a similar structure in the idea of rhythm.
"Because music has a beat and is based on repetition, it has been said that 'what' the next musical event will be is not always easy to guess, but 'when' it is likely to happen can be easily predicted," he notes.
The Wired.com article then says: "But if you look at the timing of musical notes, they are not as regularly spaced as we might expect and in fact have a certain fractal structure as well. Using a large collection of music that spans centuries, the researchers find that musical rhythm obeys a 1/f pattern, with different types of music being able to fit to this power law (though varying in the exponent of the power law)."