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Jumping from her seat, Björk plunges her hand into a dish of sugar cubes, scattering its contents across the coffee table. She arranges the cubes in alternating blocks of brown and white, mirroring the keys of a keyboard. To her surprise, she has the perfect combination to make an octave.

"Wow, I can't believe it," she says. "I took exactly the right number. We're lucky!" She begins to run her fingers over the different "keys" of her makeshift piano, singing the notes as she does so, and tries to teach me the differences between Japanese, African and Arabian scales.

We are together to talk about Biophilia, Björk's new album and suite of smartphone apps that will combine science-themed songs with computer games that aim to teach music theory to the uninitiated, like me. "Music education's not as hard as people make it out to be, but it's been put on this pedestal for a chosen few," she says. It is for this reason that, like a modern-day Maria von Trapp, Björk is giving me an impromptu music lesson.

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