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......the math in music care to commnent? #2245102 11/12/10 08:20 PM
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I love this subject .

Care comment anything about it? videos links books?

there is a really cool video on youtube about it
but its in portuguess.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV8q5mNa62M&feature=related

Last edited by midijr; 11/12/10 08:25 PM.
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Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: ] #2245158 11/13/10 12:55 AM
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I didn't get much from it, not speaking Portuguese and all.

There was a really good math/music thing with all the Warner Brothers characters in it that we watched years ago in school.

Here it is... "Donald in Mathmagic Land" (1959.

Upon review, only parts of it are about music, but very entertaining and educational.


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Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: misterdregs] #2245175 11/13/10 06:16 AM
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There is a gorgeous woman talking sensually about logarithms and scale tuning? Linda maravilhosa! I love Brazil! grin

My Portugese is pretty basic. I can talk a little about music, or fun stuff, or even a little politics-- but I couldn't follow the specifics of this.

It is an interesting topic.

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: frogmonkey] #2245404 11/14/10 02:20 PM
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Lots of studies have been done linking musicians to better performance in math. So much so that it doesn't even seem to qualify as a debatable topic these days. Indeed, I think today's studies seem to focus more on the "why" than the "what."

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: NoahZark] #2245406 11/14/10 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted By: NoahZark
Lots of studies have been done linking musicians to better performance in math. So much so that it doesn't even seem to qualify as a debatable topic these days. Indeed, I think today's studies seem to focus more on the "why" than the "what."

Kind of funny to read this after I just corrected a bunch of bad math people had referenced in the "Retailers's profit on keyboards" thread!


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Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: NoahZark] #2245407 11/14/10 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted By: NoahZark
Lots of studies have been done linking musicians to better performance in math. So much so that it doesn't even seem to qualify as a debatable topic these days. Indeed, I think today's studies seem to focus more on the "why" than the "what."


I've always heard about those studies. Math wasn't my best subject in school, and I was talking to a great player friend the other day who mentioned he was horrible at math in school. So I don't think those studies were 100% mathematically correct.

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: SK] #2245461 11/14/10 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted By: SK
Originally Posted By: NoahZark
Lots of studies have been done linking musicians to better performance in math. So much so that it doesn't even seem to qualify as a debatable topic these days. Indeed, I think today's studies seem to focus more on the "why" than the "what."


I've always heard about those studies. Math wasn't my best subject in school, and I was talking to a great player friend the other day who mentioned he was horrible at math in school. So I don't think those studies were 100% mathematically correct.


I think there are so many paths to becoming a good player that the music/math ability connection isn't necessarily important. Even in terms of grasping theory, one can grasp it as a mathematical formula, or as a language, or as shapes, or some other way.

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: SK] #2245520 11/15/10 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted By: SK


I've always heard about those studies. Math wasn't my best subject in school, and I was talking to a great player friend the other day who mentioned he was horrible at math in school.


You weren't good in a class. There a lots of reasons why, from an uninteresting teacher to boredom etc.

All good musicians are good at math, math and music are joined at the hip. That doesn't mean a lot in the real world, It won't make one understand Algebra or count change faster at McDonalds. As far as music goes, if ya ain't good at math instinctively, you wouldn't be able to play with others.

I bet you and most musicians are MUCH better at "practical" math than the average bear. Examples:

1. How long does it take to drive to _____?
2 How long was the movie you just saw?
3. How long did it take your waiter to bring your drink?

You'll score WAAY higher than an average non-musician.

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: SK] #2245522 11/15/10 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted By: SK
. Math wasn't my best subject in school,.....


Nor mine. I excelled in PE though. laugh

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: frogmonkey] #2245523 11/15/10 01:39 AM
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The fact that the connection isn't there (or at least doesn't appear to be there) in two specific examples doesn't mean that a connection doesn't exist. It wouldn't be a surprise to learn that certain brains work differently. That said, there does appear to be a "math/music connection" that has been validated through academic research. In fact, music education appears to have broad impact on cognitive abilities across a variety of disciplines. For examples, clonk here.

I hope I'm not crossing a "no politics" boundary here, but, at least in my view, this is perhaps the second most compelling argument for restoring funding of music education in America's public schools. (The most compelling argument is that we should support music for music's sake. Musical education is, after all, an end unto itself, and I'm sure many of us musicians would agree that it's among the most satisfying educational disciplines that any of us ever studied.)

Noah

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Cygnus64] #2245533 11/15/10 02:38 AM
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Originally Posted By: Cygnus64
You weren't good in a class. There a lots of reasons why, from an uninteresting teacher to boredom etc.

All good musicians are good at math, math and music are joined at the hip. That doesn't mean a lot in the real world, It won't make one understand Algebra or count change faster at McDonalds. As far as music goes, if ya ain't good at math instinctively, you wouldn't be able to play with others.

I bet you and most musicians are MUCH better at "practical" math than the average bear. Examples:

1. How long does it take to drive to _____?
2 How long was the movie you just saw?
3. How long did it take your waiter to bring your drink?

You'll score WAAY higher than an average non-musician.
Cygnus, thanks for restoring my self image as a mathematician. smile In practical math, anyway.

That's a pretty perceptive post too. My good grades really dropped in my senior high school year (started playing gigs), yet somehow, I managed a 1500 on my SAT. So the counselor called me in about the discrepancy with my grades. She asked if I was bored. I said "yes" and she said "OK. You may go." Lot of help she was. rolleyes

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: SK] #2245537 11/15/10 03:02 AM
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SK:

1500 on your SATs and you say that math wasn't your best subject in school?!?! To me, this proves not only that the math/music connection is alive and well but also that the music/way-too-much-humility connection is perhaps something to be studied.... wink

Noah

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: NoahZark] #2245540 11/15/10 03:14 AM
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It had to be a fluke, Noah.

It did help me get into college after my grades screwed up. Not boasting - I never knew what the top score was supposed to be anyway. Not that I shouldn't be 'studied'... wink

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Cygnus64] #2245554 11/15/10 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted By: Cygnus64
I bet you and most musicians are MUCH better at "practical" math than the average bear. Examples:

1. How long does it take to drive to _____?
2 How long was the movie you just saw?
3. How long did it take your waiter to bring your drink?

You'll score WAAY higher than an average non-musician.


I don't think most people would call that math. And while music requires a sense of timing, I don't think there would necessarily be any correlation with a sense of passing time as you suggest. And considering how many musicians I know who show up late for things, I can say I know at least a few who have no such sense!


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Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: AnotherScott] #2245556 11/15/10 09:55 AM
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Quote:
I don't think most people would call that math.

That's because most people suck at math. laugh If you remember back to junior high math class, the test questions were "If a train is going 60 miles an hour, what time will" etc. As the song says, it's about "SUBDIVISIONS". Be cool or be cast out. laugh

Quote:
I don't think there would necessarily be any correlation with a sense of passing time as you suggest.

And yet there is. Again, the magic word is SUBDIVISIONS. There is an amazing amount of math and time involved in music, and it all goes together. Musicians know intervals and relationships between them. They know song structure, how long til you come in for that solo. They know time in all it's forms, whether it's an 8 measure break or an hour drive.

Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
[quote=Cygnus64] And considering how many musicians I know who show up late for things,


People are late because they can be, or because they're arrogant. When I go to a gig, there are 80 musicians in the band, and nobody is late. Late = fired. Everybody is on time. I doubt many people are late for roll call at boot camp, when the penalty is something extremely unpleasant.

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: AnotherScott] #2245557 11/15/10 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted By: NoahZark
I hope I'm not crossing a "no politics" boundary here, but, at least in my view, this is perhaps the second most compelling argument for restoring funding of music education in America's public schools. (The most compelling argument is that we should support music for music's sake. Musical education is, after all, an end unto itself, and I'm sure many of us musicians would agree that it's among the most satisfying educational disciplines that any of us ever studied.)
Even though I started out in my pro life as an engineer and then moved on to software, I am so glad we had some basic music classes in elementary and middle school. I only started playing music in college, and that basic knowledge stuck with me and helped me when I started to learn how to play.

(There was one music class I hated though, it was listening to musicals. I could not stand Annie nor Sweeney Todd, the latter because that damned whistle kept scaring the crap out of me.)

Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
I don't think most people would call that math.
Most people think of math as the complicated stuff in high school like algebra or geometry, or the convoluted material like Cygnus' train example. Many of us now know that stuff wasn't all that hard, many people just let themselves be confused by it. Math ranges from simple stuff such as counting and addition to the very abstract. In between, there are things like pattern recognition, which we all do.

If someone says, "I was never good at math," ask them if they can count. laugh


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Cygnus64] #2245563 11/15/10 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted By: Cygnus64
Quote:
I don't think most people would call that math.

That's because most people suck at math. laugh

I think I see where I misunderstood your point. When you gave an example like "How long was that movie?" I thought you meant that in a non-mathematic sense, like "how long did that feel like" without using any clock for reference. But if you meant "well, the movie started at 4, and it's 5:30 now, so it was 90 minutes," then I agree, it's math.


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Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: AnotherScott] #2245565 11/15/10 10:59 AM
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I hated algebra in High School I think I got a D. When I graduated I went to college and was told I wasn't at college level math. Every other subject was fine. So I starting in remedial math taking one math class every semester. Not stopping I went from basic statistics and trig, through vector calculus and differential equations. I only stopped when I got my first 'C'. And I had completed enough for an EE degree. It wasn't I was bad at it, it was at 16 I wasn't interested combined with a teacher who was awful at teaching it. He was more interested in being a "coach". I could see my old school canceling music but sports was a sacred cow. And they wonder why we aren't tops in math and science, screwed up priorities. I now work for NASA as a data manager and software engineer for atmospheric remote sensing satellites. Had I chosen the career path my High School counselors laid out, I would most likely be an unemployed UAW worker. One of many in Michigan.

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Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: AnotherScott] #2245572 11/15/10 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
Originally Posted By: Cygnus64
Quote:
I don't think most people would call that math.

That's because most people suck at math. laugh

I think I see where I misunderstood your point. When you gave an example like "How long was that movie?" I thought you meant that in a non-mathematic sense, like "how long did that feel like" without using any clock for reference. But if you meant "well, the movie started at 4, and it's 5:30 now, so it was 90 minutes," then I agree, it's math.


Actually I meant the first. laugh One reason is that music takes accuracy. A tribute band tries to play something exactly the same, in exactly the same tempo etc. If an intro was "around 8 measures", then I could come in after 7 and be pretty close. laugh

Another example: Cleveland to Columbus is 131 miles (there is only one road between the two and there is a sign). Ask the average Joe, and they will say it's 100 miles, 180 miles, whatever. Ask a musician and their answer will be closer. Ask an engineer and its 131.064 miles. wink These people and these careers require timing, and it applies to everything in life.
Musicians know how long a 3 minute song is. Therefore they know how long 6 minutes is, etc. Many people don't have step one. That's a simplistic version of it.

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: AnotherScott] #2245580 11/15/10 11:32 AM
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Before I get too far into this, I have to first say I'm slightly biased and here's why.

1. I'm a professional mathematician and physicist for my day job (Ph.D.s in each subject) and an educator.
2. I started playing the piano at 4, and had taught myself algebra and geometry by the time I was 7 and learned calculus at 9.
3. Both music and mathematics are very natural to me.

The mathematics/music connection goes far beyond what many even recognize as a connection. Besides the obvious things like meter, timing and rhythm, musicians regularly use and rely on things that are mathematical at their base.

Harmony, intervallics, the circle of fifths, tuning systems are all firmly rooted in mathematics and many musicians can have an almost "intuitive" way of understanding these concepts. When young children learn music, it can (not always) help wire the brain to process information in a fashion that is also conducive to doing mathematics. It's not clear if this is a "chicken before the egg" issue or not, but there is enough evidence to suggest that "something" is going on there.

While I personally believe there is a significant connection between mathematical and musical ability in young children, what I believe is MORE significant is the following:

Children who study music, with some de rigor and have a disciplined approach with their lessons and practice habits, ALSO tend to transfer and apply those same habits to their schoolwork.

Studying music, particularly over a period of years, when the child student starts becoming fairly accomplished at their instrument installs the kind of discipline and commitment necessary to also perform at a higher level academically. I think this reason, above all others is part of why children of music, generally are better mathematical performers and overall do better academically than those who do not play an instrument.

I teach at the university level (graduate level physics mostly) and on the first day of class (each semester), I always ask my students if they play a musical instrument and when they started. The majority of them raise their hand and many began their musical studies at an early age. While this is a rather informal study, it does demonstrate a pattern of behavior that suggests the math/music connection.

Lastly, mathematics education in the USA is abysmal and there are legions of educators who are simply not responding to the challenge of making math (and science) education interesting or relevant to their students.

To make matters worse, it's totally acceptable in society to admit publically "I can't do math, or I can't balance my checkbook" and get nods of agreement from many in the room with you, while on the other hand, if you were to broadcast "I can't read", besides being ashamed and embarrassed you would likely get a response of shock and surprise.

To me, one is as bad as the other.

You don't need to be able to solve 2nd order differential equations in your head, but EVERYONE should be able to calculate the tip on a restaurant check, do long division and understand fractions and decimals.

Until we wake up and begin to place value on the importance of learning mathematics, we'll continue down a slippery slope that will produce a generation of those who simply cannot do.


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Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Cygnus64] #2245582 11/15/10 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted By: Cygnus64
Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
Originally Posted By: Cygnus64
Quote:
I don't think most people would call that math.

That's because most people suck at math. laugh

I think I see where I misunderstood your point. When you gave an example like "How long was that movie?" I thought you meant that in a non-mathematic sense, like "how long did that feel like" without using any clock for reference. But if you meant "well, the movie started at 4, and it's 5:30 now, so it was 90 minutes," then I agree, it's math.


Actually I meant the first. laugh One reason is that music takes accuracy. A tribute band tries to play something exactly the same, in exactly the same tempo etc. If an intro was "around 8 measures", then I could come in after 7 and be pretty close. laugh

Another example: Cleveland to Columbus is 131 miles (there is only one road between the two and there is a sign). Ask the average Joe, and they will say it's 100 miles, 180 miles, whatever. Ask a musician and their answer will be closer. Ask an engineer and its 131.064 miles. wink These people and these careers require timing, and it applies to everything in life.
Musicians know how long a 3 minute song is. Therefore they know how long 6 minutes is, etc. Many people don't have step one. That's a simplistic version of it.


Ah. Then in fact I do completely disagree with you. And in fact, while I think my mathematic and musical skills are probably both better than average, I think I am no better than most people at estimating distances between places or elapsed times since past events, and honestly see no correlation between that and math skills. Oh well. But I'm not going to pursue it, for me this one falls into the "agree to disagree" category. :-)


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Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: AnotherScott] #2245584 11/15/10 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted By: AnotherScott

Ah. Then in fact I do completely disagree with you. And in fact, I think I am no better than most people at estimating distances between places or elapsed times since past events, and honestly see no correlation between that and math skills. Oh well. But I'm not going to pursue it, for me this one falls into the "agree to disagree" category. :-)


Fair enough. It could be that I'm using poor examples to make my point. Or, I could be some sort of super-genius. laugh
Quote:
I think I am no better than most people at estimating distances between places or elapsed times


But I bet you're better at acccurately expressing your guesstimation, which I think is my point. I don't think musicians use the words "about" and "around" as much as other people.

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Cygnus64] #2245608 11/15/10 01:48 PM
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The underpinnings of every physical phenomena (including sound and music) can be described in math. You want to see some serious math? Go watch ocean saves for a while. Are surfers better at math?

Many (not all) children who have learned to play an instrument:
a) have a family that values education
b) live in an environment with money and stability
c) have the discipline to work/practice unsupervised
d) understand the benefits of work/practice
e) have the basic aptitude to acquire complex skills

I suspect that these advantages correlate to higher academic performance (in math or any other subject).

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: ] #2245613 11/15/10 02:00 PM
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I would contend (and perhaps professor meisenhower would confirm) that the whole universe is math, or perhaps a better description would be that math is the language we use to describe the relationships between all things. It is the one true verifiable, repeatable science that (eventually) explains everything.
Art on the other hand is often the deviation from that math which creates another kind of beauty.

Many musicians exhibit an inner consciousness of a subset of that universal math (concerned with frequencies, intervals, time etc.). It doesn't necessarily mean that you will pass Calculus. laugh


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Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Steve Nathan] #2245625 11/15/10 02:45 PM
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Are baseball players good at math because they can instantly calculate the trajectory of a fast-moving ball in order to catch it?

I wont disagree that many musicians also have a knack for math, or that there is a relationship between the musical knack and the mathematical knack.

But I'll repeat that there is more than one way to think about music, and it doesn't need to be mathematical. Learning to feel 8 measures and play in time doesn't have to be a mathematical feat anymore than catching a baseball.

(Uggh I don't believe I just made a sports analogy. sorry)

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Steve Nathan] #2245626 11/15/10 02:45 PM
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We prefer to say that mathematics is the language of nature. We do our best to try and explain everything in mathematical terms, as it is as "fundemental" a building block that transcends into all aspects of the physical universe.

Many things that can be easily explained by mathematics (like why a body falling in space behaves a certain way, and its outcome can be repeatedly predicted), while other things cannot (what moves us about a particular painting, for example).

I think the "natural" mathematics that Steve Nathan refers to above is exactly what most musicians possess, and while it certainly doesn't necessarily suggest a "mathematical" aptitude, it does suggest that those that possess these skills are exercising the same parts of the brain that is used to perform mathematical calculations.

Research data suggests that the same parts of the brain fire when performing music as when solving mathematics. It is that "connection" that seems to be pretty clear and the next step is understanding why some move more in one direction towards mathematics and others (is it environment vs. ability, nature vs. nurture).

What is very clear is the "more" we attempt to define everything in mathematical terms, and the closer we are to unravelling the "big questions" that we so boldly believe we can define, the more we find out how "little" we know about so much of everything!

Physics has gone through these series of "revolutionary" ideas starting with the Greeks up to present day with Supergravity, that predict that we're at the "last and most fundamental" constituent of matter or energy, only to find out that like the onion, there is yet another layer to understand.

Simply put, what we don't know is A LOT! Mathematics gives us the tools to try and put things in a common language to express it.


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Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: frogmonkey] #2245632 11/15/10 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted By: frogmonkey
Are baseball players good at math because they can instantly calculate the trajectory of a fast-moving ball in order to catch it?


Definitely in that area they are. It's probably more about natural ability and instinct, but it's still math. It's a good example of "you didn't know you were using math, but are".



A large number of Classical musicians play chess, Tennis and Ping-Pong (aka Table Tennis for the purists) extremely well, like competition level. It shouldn't be a surprise since so many of the same skills are involved.

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Cygnus64] #2245656 11/15/10 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted By: Cygnus64
Originally Posted By: frogmonkey
Are baseball players good at math because they can instantly calculate the trajectory of a fast-moving ball in order to catch it?


Definitely in that area they are. It's probably more about natural ability and instinct, but it's still math. It's a good example of "you didn't know you were using math, but are".



A large number of Classical musicians play chess, Tennis and Ping-Pong (aka Table Tennis for the purists) extremely well, like competition level. It shouldn't be a surprise since so many of the same skills are involved.


I believe, then, that we are diluting the notion of "mathematical ability" so far as to be a uselessly general term. Simply putting one foot in front of the other and walking down stairs while keeping our balance is at some level a feat of advanced mathematics.

By this definition of mathematical ability, any ability at all can be reduced to math. But at some point, we are imposing our notion of "math is real" on the world, when the reality is probably more like "math is a good description".

I would like to step back from that and say that some people have a native facility to calculate numbers consciously. They might not train the skill in math class, but their brains are wired for it. These people will probably also have a facility for many aspects of music (there's no guarantee that they will be expressive players).

There are other people who don't have that facility with numbers. Instead they may have a facility for learning languages and expressing nuanced ideas verbally. I believe these people can also be excellent players-- as can people with other, non-mathematical facilities.

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: frogmonkey] #2245660 11/15/10 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted By: frogmonkey
Originally Posted By: Cygnus64
Originally Posted By: frogmonkey
Are baseball players good at math because they can instantly calculate the trajectory of a fast-moving ball in order to catch it?


Definitely in that area they are. It's probably more about natural ability and instinct, but it's still math. It's a good example of "you didn't know you were using math, but are".



A large number of Classical musicians play chess, Tennis and Ping-Pong (aka Table Tennis for the purists) extremely well, like competition level. It shouldn't be a surprise since so many of the same skills are involved.


I believe, then, that we are diluting the notion of "mathematical ability" so far as to be a uselessly general term. Simply putting one foot in front of the other and walking down stairs while keeping our balance is at some level a feat of advanced mathematics.




If you were walking down the stairs, while at the same time walking your hands against the wall in 3/2 against the feet, reading a magazine, and pressing some button with your knee, that would be a better analogy. cool

Playing a fugue on a keyboard takes some math skill, so does writing one. What the baseball player isn't doing is multi-tasking to this extreme. Everything takes math in it's simplest form, but music has many things going on at one time.

Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Cygnus64] #2245666 11/15/10 04:18 PM
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Many things are going on at one time in music, automatically. And like riding a bike, to stay balanced, you can't think about it.

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