The Ultimate Melody

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"The Ultimate Melody"
If 195702.jpg
Author Arthur C. Clarke
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Tales from the White Hart
Genre(s) Science fiction
Published in If
Publication type Magazine
Publisher Quinn Publications
Publication date February 1957
Preceded by "Critical Mass"
Followed by "The Pacifist"

"The Ultimate Melody" is a science fiction short story by British writer Arthur C. Clarke, first published in 1957.[1] The story describes the work of a physiologist who attempts to discover the connections between music and the rhythms of the electrical pulses in the brain. He believed that all "hit-tunes" were merely poor reflections of an "ultimate" melody, and he built a machine to search for this tune. By the end of the story, he succeeds, but the influence of the melody is so powerful that he becomes completely catatonic.

The piece was later published as the sixth story in Clarke's collection Tales from the White Hart.[2]


  1. ^ "Bibliography: The Ultimate Melody". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Clarke, Arthur C. (1957). Tales from the White Hart. London: Ballantine Books. p. Forward. 

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