The Math Behind the Music

The Math Behind the Music

by Leon Harkleroad
Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press
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The Math Behind the Music

Mathematics has been used for centuries to describe, analyze, and create music. In this book, Leon Harkleroad explores the math related aspects of music from its acoustical bases to compositional techniques to music criticism, touching on - overtones, scales, and tuning systems - the musical dice game attributed to Mozart and Haydn - the several-hundred-year-old style of bell-playing known as ringing the changes - the twelve-tone school of composition that strongly influenced music throughout the 20th century and many other topics involving mathematical ideas from probability theory to Fourier series to group theory. He also relates some cautionary tales of misguided attempts to mix music and mathematics. Both the mathematical and the musical concepts are described in an elementary way, making the book accessible to general readers as well as to mathematicians and musicians of all levels. The book is accompanied by an audio CD of musical examples.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521009355
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 05/28/2006
Series: Outlooks Series
Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
Pages: 158
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.55(d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgments; 1. Mathematics and music, a duet; 2. Pitch: the ground of music; 3. Tuning up; 4. How to vary a theme mathematically; 5. Bells and groups: music by chance; 6. Pattern, pattern, pattern ; 7. Sight meets sound; 8. How NOT to mix mathematics and music; 9. Bibliography; Contents of the CD; Illustration credits; Index.

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