HexadicThis story falls under the “Why didn’t I think of that” category. Wired recently interviewed musician Ben Chasny of the band “Six Organs of Admittance,” because he created what he calls the Hexadonic System for writing music using playing cards.

I’ve heard of musicians experimenting with lots of different random patterns to compose songs, like earthquake activity or fractals. But, I’ve never heard of using a deck of playing cards.

After reading the description of how the system works, I can’t believe no one has thought of it before. It is fairly simple.

The first thing Chasny did was assign notes, timing, and structure to each playing card. For example, he lays out 36 cards on the table and assigns them to the frets on his guitar, covering three octaves.

Then, he shuffles the cards and draws six hands, which represent six different scales. Another card is drawn, which is used to represent the timing and order of the notes.

There is a bit more to it than that, but what a great idea. Chesny’s band made an entire album out of this method of songwriting, aptly named Hexadic.

I love random pattern musical experimentation. It is incredible the kinds of sounds that can be produced by such chaos in nature.

I’ll bet one could perform a similar musical experiment using a six-sided die. All you would have to do is assign each number to a chord and then let it role. I think I’m going to try it out right now.