Maths and Music

Seems these two are actually quite well related to each other. It is said that when a musician writes a piece of music and a mathematician postulates an equation in maths, both are using the same parts of their brain.

Music, Arithmetic, Geometry and Astronomy were part of quadrivium(4 tenets of education) in Liberal Education taught in ancient Greece. All of these subjects speak with each other.

We shall find out how related are geometry and music.

Several mathematicians have been trained musicians as well. Albert Einstein, Art Garfunkel, Jonny Buckland(ColdPlay) are a few examples.

Is there some relation between these two disciplines that we can explore?

We know music has a rythm and a pattern that we like. This rythm is quite evident when a drum kit is played in the background of a song. The rythm and patterns are easily represented through numbers. Remember your dance instructor tapping their feet while repeating 1-2-3, 1-2-3 … maths helps music by providing numbers to count. However, that is not the only thing it does.

Maths has been working out ways to help music with its advancements. 3 scientists from the University of Princeton, Yale and Florida have tried to plot the musical notes on a graph. Remember graphs in high school? You drew 2 lines crossing each other perpendicularly and then plot further points as per the first 2 lines.

So what the scientists have done is to mark musical notes on a graph.

Why is it being done?

Well.. one is to help musicians record their music in a visual format. This could also change/bring an alternate way to train musicians. May be after a trainee plays a piece of music, s/he gets to see their performance on a visual. They can compare their performance graph with the originally intended graph that they were to play. This seems to be an interesting development considering that the new generation is all into digital stuff.

Also, one of the scientists suggests that this could be used to make new music as well. As of now the music note is represented in different ways. Therefore one nomenclature of music might not be understood by somebody else knowing a different nomenclature. The visual representation of music aims to formalize the language or music such that everyone could read it.

You need to spend some time to be sure of which number is highest amongst the ones listed in second column. Graphs make it easier !

In a way, this is like introduction of graphs to our lives. We can very well do away with graphs in our lives. However, certain times ask for a graphical representation only. Imagine reading through a table to find out which team is leading in a tournament vis a vis looking at a graph. The graph can let you compare things with such an ease that you can also infer things quickly.

One might wonder if visual representations of music will impact the quality of music being created. Is it a good idea for music to have a framework? Will it make easier to produce music but even more difficult to be creative with it ?

One reply to “Maths and Music

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