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Musical Mathematics

  • Andrew May
Chapter
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Part of the Science and Fiction book series (SCIFICT)

Abstract

It’s often claimed that music and mathematics are closely connected, although given their different cultural associations many people find this hard to believe. In this chapter, we look at a couple of ways music really can be considered mathematical. First there’s the connection, known since ancient times, between musical pitch intervals and the ratios of acoustic frequencies. As interesting as this is to scientists, it’s little help to musicians because intervals are perceived as differences, not ratios. An alternative formulation, musical set theory, is more useful in this respect. Among other things, it helps to explain why the “sci-fi” sounds described in the previous chapter sound as alien as they do.

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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew May
    • 1
  1. 1.CrewkerneUK

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