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The maths of music

By Murray Bourne, 16 Oct 2006

In another life I used to teach music and I have always been interested in the close connection between math and music. Some music is actually based on fractals, that...

... exploit a new kind of inherent symmetry, closely related to the scaling invariance of fractals.

You can make such music using the freeware application MusiNum, which takes sequences of numbers and allows you to turn them into mathematical sequence-based music. The site explains how the sequence of numbers is used to produce the music and there are several other example midi files there.

Update: I came across a related article from "Making music out of math" [no longer available]. At last, a realisation that not everyone (actually, very few) students are happy to listen to a lecturer drone on in their own world about mathematics. There are other intelligences and learning styles, and we should make an effort to address such differences.

From the article:

"By studying a piece of music, students can learn about fractions, patterns and problem solving," said Pat Rourke, math coordinator for kindergarten through eighth grade for the Holliston schools. "Studying frequency can help them understand concepts in science and math. Learning how to graph a sound wave can teach them how to visually represent data."

You may also be interested in:

What are the frequencies of music notes?

A logarithmic music scale - squareCircleZ

Fast Fourier Transform (talks about how CDs and MP3s are recorded)

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Tips, tricks, lessons, and tutoring to help reduce test anxiety and move to the top of the class.