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Recording: Voice, text chat, slides, web tour
Music and mathematics have been linked together for thousands of years, but rarely have students had the opportunity to explore the many connections that exist between them. To try to fill this gap, Mike Thayer of Hyperbolic Guitars is developing a course. At the event, we will discuss the course outline, as well as math and music links in general.
All events in the Math Future weekly series:
The recording will be at
Help Mike find a resource - a web page, a video, a music piece - to go with one of the topics in the course outline. Full syllabus and details of the outline:
What is sound, anyway?
The physics of waves
The mathematics of waves
The generation of sound by "simple" systems
The vibrating string
The vibrating rod
The vibrating plate (e.g., drumhead or cymbal)
Open and closed pipes
The Helmholtz resonator (--> the vocal chords)
White noise, pink noise
The concept of "timbre"
The perception of sound
Other "listeners": Digital recording
The interaction between the generator and the listener: the science of acoustics
What makes sound become music?
What does a listener "listen for" in music?
Basics of music and musical notation: Musical descriptions
Basics of music: Psycho-physical (auditory) descriptions
What makes sound "musical" (consonance, approaches to composition)?
What makes musical instruments musical?
General classifications of instruments
A new way to generate musical sound: sound synthesis (electronic)
History of instruments
Discussions beginning before the event
"Math, Math Education, Math Culture" group
Hyperbolic Guitars blog:
Math Future email group:
How to join
Follow this link at the time of the event:
Tuesday, January 24th 2012 we will meet online at 6:00pm Pacific, 9:00pm Eastern time.
WorldClock for your time zone.
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If this is your first time, come a few minutes earlier to check out the technology.
Math and music course philosophy
This course should attract musically-inclined students (and individuals) who may not have a "love" of mathematics, but who are willing to see where mathematics enters into their interest in music.
It should be
- playing of music, demonstrations, perhaps even opportunities to design/build one's own instruments, composing music, creating scales, etc. Arguably the most important part of the course.
It should use
DIFFERENT WAYS OF THINKING
- apropos H. Gardner's Multiple Intelligences model, I think the course should allow for students with all different types of strengths to shine. Obviously, the musical and logical-mathematical ones will be incorporated explicitly, but as an example, can dance as it relates to music (physics perhaps?) come in somehow ("bodily-kinesthetic", in MI-speak)?
It should be
- we should take advantage of the Internet, advanced computing power and programs that are widely available, apps, what have you. It's the 21st century, right? And - the software resources should be open source preferably, freeware at the minimum. There will be costs for musical keyboards and such things, but hopefully those will come down in price and/or students would be able to use a cheap laptop (XO-style) to play on. NCTM has several interesting apps that could have relevance to this course:
Of course, there is also software like Audacity (a personal favorite), among others. Suggestions here would be most welcome.
It should be
By that I mean that the course should have a flow, a logic, a reason for being and a "sweep". In a perfect world, it would also be possible to drop in and drop out of the course at various points of interest or lack thereof, but those who go through the course should get a sense of the ways in which a knowledge of mathematics can inform one's musical appreciation, and vice versa.
is a mathematics teacher at Summit High School in Summit, New Jersey. Before teaching at Summit, he taught mathematics and physics at the Beacon School in New York City. He is very interested in alternatives to current mathematical teaching approaches, and in the ways in which technology, music, and engineering can be used to support an understanding of mathematics. Mike blogs at
- a space "dedicated to filling the gap between the quantitative and the qualitative... one post at a time."
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