Abstract

In my course of education the fields of Music and Math have fascinated me by their separation in description, math being considered a science and music a subject of art. However I now see them both as an art and a science. I am a cellist, pianist, and trumpeter and in my pursuit to master these instruments I began to blur the lines between math and music seeing music in a more mathematical light, recognizing the distances between notes on a cello’s finger board and opening the piano to see the harp and the length and thickness of stings; I started to think that math was in essence the basis of all music. For my mathematical investigation I wanted to see how exactly mathematical concepts existed in music and then to see if I could derive these concepts from my playing of cello.

Mathematics is the fundamental building block of sound and in its musical form an even larger array of number phenomena exist. Although the mathematical properties of sound had been studied by the ancient Chinese, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian societies, the scholars of the Pythagorean School is ancient Greece were the first to investigate and formulate musical scales and tuning systems in terms of numerical ratios and functions. They had believed that all nature consists of harmony arising out of the small integers of 1, 2, 3, and 4; regarding them as the source of all perfection as did Confucius from China and Indian theorists. These numbers are crucial in the equations of musical scales and tuning systems.

Research Category

Physics/Chemisty/Liquid Crystal

Primary Author's Major

Mathematics

Mentor #1 Information

Mrs. Litman

Presentation Format

Poster

Start Date

11-3-2015 1:00 PM

End Date

11-3-2015 5:00 PM

Research Area

Arts and Humanities | Fine Arts | Music | Musicology | Music Theory

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Mar 11th, 1:00 PM Mar 11th, 5:00 PM

Modern Western Tuning System

In my course of education the fields of Music and Math have fascinated me by their separation in description, math being considered a science and music a subject of art. However I now see them both as an art and a science. I am a cellist, pianist, and trumpeter and in my pursuit to master these instruments I began to blur the lines between math and music seeing music in a more mathematical light, recognizing the distances between notes on a cello’s finger board and opening the piano to see the harp and the length and thickness of stings; I started to think that math was in essence the basis of all music. For my mathematical investigation I wanted to see how exactly mathematical concepts existed in music and then to see if I could derive these concepts from my playing of cello.

Mathematics is the fundamental building block of sound and in its musical form an even larger array of number phenomena exist. Although the mathematical properties of sound had been studied by the ancient Chinese, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian societies, the scholars of the Pythagorean School is ancient Greece were the first to investigate and formulate musical scales and tuning systems in terms of numerical ratios and functions. They had believed that all nature consists of harmony arising out of the small integers of 1, 2, 3, and 4; regarding them as the source of all perfection as did Confucius from China and Indian theorists. These numbers are crucial in the equations of musical scales and tuning systems.