Piano and Math

Piano and Math, two of the most beautiful fields. I never thought they can be related because they are so different, art and logic. And there he was, Ludwig van Beethoven who made it possible. It was not his creation, yet it is throughout his music that I realized it. I guess they are not that different after all; I guess logic is nothing else but the art of reasoning.
Behind Beethoven’s moonlight sonata music hides pure math; mathematicians have discovered it by graphing the sine wave for each note which allowed them to see a pattern known as consonance that is pleasant to the human ear. Throughout every musician’s music- as well as moonlight sonata- we find beautiful patterns just like the consonance.
I needed to dig deeper and deeper in this realm because my inquisitiveness was beyond my control. Thus, I made a survey that revolves around asking instrumentalists if they are good at math. The results were predictable and yet, I still felt pleasantly surprised: out of 30 people that I managed to ask, 20 of them said they were very competent in math, which is nearly a percentage of 67%. And this includes engineers, math teachers, piano teachers, students, physicians, psychologist, and many more. This, of course, is not a research done under strict scientific controls but rather a qualitative research that helped me get closer to my goal: find the correlation between music and mathematics.
What I found extremely interesting and worth taking into consideration in my survey was each person’s response: while some said mathematics improved their musical skills, others said the reciprocal. Whilst a number of instrumentalists stated that they are proficient in algebra, others claimed that they are adept in geometry- although it is way harder to identify the connection between music and geometry than it is between music and algebra. There were even people who mentioned their skills in languages but it is sadly not the matter of this research.
This made me comprehend that my question was fairly imprecise, for “good at math” can have different feedbacks. And so, I decided to go even further in my instructive journey. So, I built my research on these diverse feedbacks, started navigating the internet like a passionate sailor until I came upon this arbitrary website explaining the meaning of an “equal temperament”. It states that an equal temperament is a musical temperament, or a system of tuning, in which the frequency interval between every pair of adjacent notes has the same ratio. This is clearly and undoubtedly mathematics. I also read compelling informations about how rhythm depends on arithmetic, how harmony draws from basic numerical relationships, and how the development of musical themes reflects the world of symmetry and geometry. Let us not mention beats, tempos, musical patterns and so on…
Up to now, all what I sought for was the mathematics behind music and it came to my mind that I have completely forgotten about the music behind mathematics. Because mathematics is not only the final result, but rather all those steps that we take to get to this final result. It is all those emotions we feel when we get closer and closer to this final result, it is all those numbers dancing to the music of math, jumping from a side of an equation to another just like pianists’ fingers jump from note to note on a piano keyboard.
There is no queries, mathematics and music are indeed related. And although many people react cholerically to such a claim, assuming music is much more emotional and valuable than mathematics, and that to make such a resemblance is to misinterpret what music is truly about; I believe that such an argument misinterprets what mathematics is truly about.

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Hi!
I'm Barry!

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