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#2245683 - 11/15/10 12:05 PM Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: SK]
Eric Iverson Offline
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Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 5299
Loc: Jackson Heights, NY
The actual video - and yes, I DO understand Portuguese, though not at the level of an educated native - is about how the tempered scale, where certain notes are altered slightly from the pure pitch, so that you can play all 12 keys from the same keyboard, is based on logarithms. It even explains what logarithms are. 2x2 = 2 to the second power (this program doesn't allow superscript); 2x2x2 = two to the third power.
It mentions Bach because he was an early proponent of equal temperament.

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#2245705 - 11/15/10 01:07 PM Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Eric Iverson]
Toano88 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/10
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Humans are by nature good at calculating. We intuitively know the force require to throw a basketball and have it land in the hoop. Most practice is for the muscle control part of the equation. We intuitively know a mirror is showing us and things behind us. Try programming that into a computer. To get it to instantly recognize itself in a mirror even though your hair has changed or your appearance has been altered surgically. Subconsciously we calculate, size, speed, geometry and probabilities everyday. Everyone with a normally functioning brain can do math. Wanting to is a whole other matter.
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#2245709 - 11/15/10 01:20 PM Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Eric Iverson]
Eric Jx Offline
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Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 730
Originally Posted By: Eric Iverson
The actual video - and yes, I DO understand Portuguese, though not at the level of an educated native - is about how the tempered scale, where certain notes are altered slightly from the pure pitch, so that you can play all 12 keys from the same keyboard, is based on logarithms. It even explains what logarithms are. 2x2 = 2 to the second power (this program doesn't allow superscript); 2x2x2 = two to the third power.
It mentions Bach because he was an early proponent of equal temperament.




I have a book called "lies your music teacher told you"

One of the authors main points is the tempered scale makes it harder to understand higher harmonic relationships. He claims equal temperment does a decent jobs approximating a perfect 5th (which should have a 3:2 frequency relationship with the root), but does a poor job appoximating a sharp 11th (which I think be the 11th harmonic).

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#2245712 - 11/15/10 01:30 PM Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Toano88]
JerryA Offline
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Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 7343
Loc: New England
George Lakoff has a really interesting book called 'Where math comes from." I can recall two things he said in it, which I relate to music.

- Math is something we invented (as opposed to something we discovered).
- Much of math is conceptual metaphor (putting things IN categories, using imagined lines to compare values, etc.) which reflects the physical body's understanding of the world.

I see a lot of music as conceptual metaphor, also: the dramatic high point of a tune being melodically high, harmonically dense and rhythmically fervent, to use a very broad-brush example.

I've always been fond of music and maths (as we used to call it in school) and I think a number of the examples provided above as a arithmetic, as opposed to math. To me, arithmetic is simply a more literal expression of underlying math relationships. The math relationships are where the kinship to music comes in. Of course since music is a metaphorical language, one can make connections with story, with texture, with perception, and with lots of other aspects of the human experience.

Chopin's E major prelude # 9, seems to me to be a story about how the number 3 relates to all his friends and neighbors. Of course I am projecting my own assumptions, but that's part of the fun of interpreting a metaphor.

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#2245714 - 11/15/10 01:35 PM Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Eric Jx]
Theo Verelst Offline
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Registered: 02/27/10
Posts: 4098
The question of what math and music have in common could be taken easily as "what does general relativity mean", defying even the general ideas about reference frames and popular notions like possible time travel, but rather "everything is relative" and therefor by extension of that idea "everybody can find some relative truth"...

I mean I've been edified as top EE (could have applied to receive my PhD), and actively taken part in some fundamental nuclear physics classes, I know more than a bit of the essence I suppose of what is generally considered to be higher mathematics, and I'm sure I can define a lot of musical ideas and examples in formal mathematics, yet it is another issue to ask oneself "is all which is right in music actually mathematical ?"

I suppose the Greek were interesting in their notion of "righteous" sounds.

THeo

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#2245731 - 11/15/10 02:41 PM Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: ]
Steve Nathan Offline
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Registered: 01/06/06
Posts: 3149
Loc: Nashville, TN
Quote:
"is all which is right in music actually mathematical ?"


God no! (used for emphasis, not any religious implication)

A better question imo is "is most of what's wrong in music the adherence to or preoccupation with the math"

Quote:
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!


That's why I qualified that sentence with the word "eventually" smile
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#2245746 - 11/15/10 03:48 PM Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Meisenhower]
Offline
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Registered: 03/14/05
Posts: 512
Loc: earth
Originally Posted By: meisenhower
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.





Sr .... Please let me shake your hand.. I m a educator and study both music and math and im in the quest for this conection. ( i could talk for hours with you about this topic asking you questions.


Edited by midijr (11/15/10 03:52 PM)
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#2245992 - 11/16/10 12:15 PM Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Steve Nathan]
ProfD Offline
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Registered: 05/11/06
Posts: 9905
Loc: Wash DC Area
Originally Posted By: Steve Nathan
A better question imo is "is most of what's wrong in music the adherence to or preoccupation with the math?"

That would be my question too. thu

There is room for all types of music and an audience for it. But, I do believe there is a correlation between musicians being overly concerned with "formulas" i.e. playing the right notes (math) and music that is devoid of feel and emotion.

IMO, knowing when and where to play the notes is important but what and how to play those notes in order to make the music feel great takes something else beyond math. cool
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#2245996 - 11/16/10 12:30 PM Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: ProfD]
Theo Verelst Offline
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Registered: 02/27/10
Posts: 4098
For advanced scientists I don't think math is necessarily limiting musical expression, so "math or feelings" isn't necessarily the problem, in fact most important instrument models (this is the *keyboard* forum after all) can all be put into some form of math, just like most natural processes can pretty much.

I vote for also including _boredom_ in the evaluation: using sine waves in an organ doesn't need to become boring, but most mathematics based compositions are (still ?) utterly boring, just as honestly IMO a lot of "modern" musical tastes..

Theo

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#2246170 - 11/17/10 06:40 AM Re: ......the math in music care to commnent? [Re: Dave Ferris]
bluzeyone Offline
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Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 1633
Loc: Utica, Il.
laugh+1 I was a genious in Homeroom and detention!
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