#2245683  11/15/10 12:05 PM
Re: ......the math in music care to commnent?
[Re: SK]

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Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 5294
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]

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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]

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Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 730

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]

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Registered: 08/02/00
Posts: 7294
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 broadbrush 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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#2245731  11/15/10 02:41 PM
Re: ......the math in music care to commnent?
[Re: ]

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Registered: 01/06/06
Posts: 3125
Loc: Nashville, TN

"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" 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"

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#2245746  11/15/10 03:48 PM
Re: ......the math in music care to commnent?
[Re: Meisenhower]

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Registered: 03/14/05
Posts: 512
Loc: earth

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]

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Registered: 05/11/06
Posts: 9876
Loc: Wash DC Area

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. 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.
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