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The Math Behind the Music (Outlooks)

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  25 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Explores mathematics aspects of music from its acoustical bases to compositional techniques to music criticism.
Paperback, 158 pages
Published August 7th 2006 by Cambridge University Press (first published May 1st 2006)
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(showing 1-51)
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Lee Barry
May 31, 2017 Lee Barry rated it liked it
Shelves: music
Interesting chapter on campanology.
Charles
Sep 15, 2015 Charles rated it it was amazing
An amazing book that links math and music, which have a great deal in common

It is no coincidence that the three areas of human endeavor where there are child prodigies are mathematics, music and chess. Success in each requires a similar form of mental reasoning, with music and mathematics being the two that are most related.
Harkleroad has written an amazing book, after the base introduction in chapter one, chapter two covers the concept of pitch, in other words the fundamentals of how sounds
...more
Laurent
Jun 11, 2015 Laurent rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favourite books ever. I have loved it. The typesetting is beautiful, it is very well written and its content is accessible both for mathematicians with little knowledge of music and for musicians with little knowledge of mathematics. Everything is very clearly explained, the maths are introduced with easy examples (even for abstract topics as group theory).


This book illustrates one of my favourite quotes:
"A good attitude to the preparation of written mathematical exposition is
...more
Bob
Jun 04, 2015 Bob rated it it was amazing
Ever since I took classic guitar lessons about 20 years ago, I've been very curious about how music works. The Math Behind the Music does an excellent job of explaining this, helped immensely by the CD that accompanies the book.

Now I know more but: It is So Complicated that I don't think I will study this very much further.

If there is such a thing as a mathematical composer, then Bach, Beethoven and Mozart must be the highest of all practitioners. They fully understood all this; I do not and wi
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Bill Leach
Aug 29, 2014 Bill Leach rated it really liked it
Main sections:
- pitch
- tuning
- how to vary a theme mathematically
- bells and groups
- music by chance
- patterns
- sight meets sound
- how not to mix mathematics and music

The last chapter had an interesting discussion on how various people have tried to find Fibonacci series in various compositions, with unconvincing results. Mentions Richard Guy's paper "The Strong Law of Small Numbers", pointing out that "there aren't enough small numbers to meet the many demands made of them". The upshot is that
...more
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