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Extra Credit: Math and music connected? April 18, 2008

Posted by dfrazier in Extra Credit.

Attached is an artical claiming a geometrical connection between math and music. As I have studied math and learned to play music, I have been able to see some similarities between them. So read the article and let me know what you think. Also try to think of anything connections you see between math and music and share them. Extra credit for well thought out replies.


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1. Myles Adams - April 18, 2008

I think that it is really cool that something like music could ever be related to math. In the article they talk about how certain types of music represent different shapes. For example, if somebody was deaf and couldn’t hear music, I think it would be cool to show a deaf person different shapes to that represent different music to give them the same experience as a hearing person. For instance, rock n’ roll would be rigid straight lines like triangles and rectangles. Jazz or classic could be round and smooth lines such as circles and ovals. This has changed the way I look at math forever.

2. szybka pozyczka - April 20, 2008

yeah i agree

3. Skull Bones - April 22, 2008

I really didn’t think that math and music are very similar but I am beginning to see that that is changing in my mind. Math and music together: how is that not one of the two greatest things in life. Kinda like if Social Studies and Science came together (but they have in some ways) or junk food being healthy…

4. Moza M. - April 22, 2008

Wow, this article turned out to be very interesting and thought-provoking, to me. Before today, I had heard ‘here and there’ many different connections being made between music and math. Some people had said that there was a connection between higher academic achievement and math–and other had said that math is easier to understand if you play at least one instrument, and vice versa. However, I had never actually realized that there was a link between music and visual geometric shapes and other things that are compatible with coordinate grids. Also, I think that it is very important to point out Myles’ point about the deaf possibly being able to experience music through visualization. Although the deaf may never actually experience genuine music playing through their ears, at least it does give them a chance to experience music in an innovative way, someday. However, I would like to believe that helping the deaf is just one way in which the research being conducted by the professors benefits the people of the general public. In other words, hopefully this research is just the start of a great revolution for many generations to come.

All in all, I found this article very interesting and would recommend it to anyone who: is a music player, is interested in music, thinks their parent are useless yahoos who shouldn’t have signed them up for band, or anyone who is interested in mathematics. In conclusion, I hope that the three professors: three music professors Clifton Callender at Florida State University, Ian Quinn at Yale University, and Dmitri Tymoczko at Princeton University contine with their studies and blaze a trail for this young generation’s youth to further follow.

5. Rose C. - April 23, 2008

I play the piano, and at first it was hard for me to make a connection from the strict rule based world of math to the unpredictable world of music.However once I thought about it some more I began to realize what the professors meant when they said that math can be represented through geometry. Now when ever I play notes and chords, I can imagine how a particular song would look math form.

6. Rose C. - April 23, 2008

I play the piano, and at first it was hard for me to make a connection from the strict rule based world of math to the unpredictable world of music.However once I thought about it some more I began to realize what the professors meant when they said that math can be represented through geometry. Now when ever I play notes and chords, I can imagine how a particular song would look in math form.

7. Isaiah Paikos - April 23, 2008

This is really cool, because I used to play piano and like myles said the notes could make different shapes and designs. I can kind of see how they would connect, like the lesson Adv. Math students are doing or just recently did has different slopes on a grid. This could also be a great way that they could teach deaf people to play music, with the slopes going up and down and certain shapes mean certain notes. If they did not want to use shapes and slopes then like how music has seven notes then they could use the numbers one through seven. And for sharps and flats they could use some kind of exponets, like -1 for flats and +1 for sharps plus nothing for a normal note.

All in all this is a very interesting subject I may look into more and I suggest that other people like scientist should do the same. Lastly, This would connect math and music and also help more deaf people play music like Beethoven.

o/ o__|
\__ W
\ Ballin!

8. Quinten Satterfield - April 27, 2008

I have to agree with Myles on this, I mean, think of how many opportunities that this opens up for deaf people. Though, I think that the concept of the theory is not to help deaf people watch their music, but to visualize it in a mental way.
If the music is playing a classic tune, for example, the person would watch the display and seeing that the image is smooth, they interpret that the music is calm and soothing.
I don’t know, that might have sounded really obvious, but maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t an invention for entertainment. It might as well be a tool to help deaf people compose classical pieces. Man, 21st century composers have it easy now.
I was watching a program some time ago where a scientist was using sound to help blind people see their surroundings. By using pixels, say if there was a building, he would be able to tell what the building looked like. The pixels stacked on top of each other would generate a loud sound and the pixels that were separated by the windows would make a softer sound.
It sounds complicated yes, but with these two pieces of technology, we could be seeing the dawn of a new age; where visually as well as hearing impaired human beings have the capability to develop and function like people who aren’t handicapped in these conditions. This article, to me, was worth reading

9. Rachel Belcher - April 30, 2008

This article was very interesting. I can see how many people relate Music and Math. I personally can relate the two because I am a musician. I play the Viola in the Tri-North Orchestra and I have to work with math in that class everyday.

What really strikes me as interesting is how the scientist can take a piece of music and turn it into math. That is just amazing to me! Anyway because scientists are developing these new ways to relate music to math the technology is developing which means there are a lot of possibilities of new technology in the future.

All in all, I think that what the scientists are studying is important and people should pay attention to this because it will be beneficial in the future.

10. Michelle K. - May 4, 2008

Reading this article reminds me of when one of my dance instructors told me that math was related to ballet in many ways. Hearing that the music and the dancing I do is also related to math facinates me. Just this year, my science teacher had my class study some excerpts from a Bill Bryson book on Math and Science. Reading that also opened my eyes to see how much math is actually used each day for things that no one realizes are math based.

Another example of how music and math are related could be how fractions are like the measures and rythm. Also, the set theory can be related to key scales.

11. Matthew Childress - May 11, 2008

It was a very interesting article. I play the saxophone. At first it seemed very unlikely for there to really to be a connection, but after i really thought about it it seemed to make sense!!! Wow, this article really gets you thinking!

12. Shelby Rush - May 16, 2008

I think that music and math really do combine. As I was reading the article I thought it was crazy, but after reading it, and some of the other comments I very much agree. As said by Myles, (involving the deaf situation) that is a really great connection for music. Also, I can make a connection because I play piano. I think this allowed me to be more open to the subject, and I really understand how a certain math lesson, could resemble a chord for example on the piano. I really think that articles like this allow you to open up to other parts of school that really interst you. I thought hey I love math, and i love piano but theres no way they can relate. Now I realize they do, and I am really amazed that I never could’ve noticed that. It’s a great realization!

13. Emma - September 25, 2008

I think that math and music really are connected.I play the piano, so I knew that they were related in some ways because you have to make the notes and counts equal to the ammount of beats that need to be in a measure. Also, in ballet and other types of dance you have to use math to count out the beats in the music. While I was reading this article I found out that math and music are related in more ways than I thought. I didn’t know that it was possible for scientists to take a piece of music and turn it into math. I thought that was really interesting. It makes me look at music in a whole different way!

14. hydrty - April 4, 2011

you wroteallot

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