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Explained: The Math and Music Connection

Most of us abandoned mathematics as soon as we had the chance since it was presumably the subject we all despised the most in school. On the other side, music served as our shelter, our escape, and our "break" from long hours of work, revision, and study. What if I told you that these two disparate subjects — which at first glance seem to be polar opposites — are actually rather similar and are thus inextricably linked?

Despite the fact that math and music are two quite separate academic disciplines, there is a significant association between them. It is typical for those who are strong in arithmetic to also be good at music, and they often overlap at some point. It may seem absurd to draw comparisons between mathematics and music, but there are more parallels than you may think, and many people use mathematical concepts and numbers to teach or study music.

The greatest similarities between the two disciplines are patterns and structure.

Patterns form the very foundation of these two subjects. In music, not the specific letters or notes, but the understanding of patterns is what gives written language and music notation meaning. Patterns in mathematics are more than just scribbles on a page; they adhere to a predictable norm that enables us to foretell what will happen next. According to mathematicians, mathematics is the study of patterns, including patterns and structure in geometry as well as patterns and structure in numbers. One crucial mathematical habit of the mind is the ability to see networks and patterns.

Research also suggests that listening to music stimulates the same brain regions involved in spatial-temporal problem-solving. Certain sound patterns and frequencies are processed differently by the two hemispheres of the brain. Therefore, it stands to reason that some musical genres may elicit a larger reaction in one hemisphere than the other.

This is why listening to music that may activate the left hemisphere, which is in charge of solving mathematical issues, may improve cognition and the capacity to acquire mathematical concepts. This is corroborated by a 2012 research that found that allowing children to listen to music while taking a math test might boost their performance by 40%.

Other than the similarity in patterns, Math helps us build harmonies and melodies by tuning musical instruments to produce the exact note one would want to hear, don't take it from me, take from the ancient Ionian Greek philosopher, who we have all come across in school Pythagoras.

Pythagoras was a firm believer in the idea that numbers were a guide to the interpretation of the universe and that mathematics could explain everything, including music.

We owe the well-known geometric theorem that the sum of the squares on the legs of a right triangle is equal to the square on the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle)—or, in familiar algebraic notation, a2 + b2 = c2 to Pythagoras. This theory is greatly applied to music too!

When hit or plucked, a string that is exactly half the length of another will produce a pitch that is precisely an octave higher. You may increase the pitch by splitting a string into thirds by an octave and a fifth. You can go much higher if you divide it into fourths. The overtone series or harmonic series is a principle of physics and mathematics that affects waves and frequencies in ways that we can see, hear, and feel as well as those that we cannot

Mathematics also helps every musician analyze pitches, frequencies and treble,which are the very building blocks of a symphony. Waves make up music, and when a perfect tune is graphed, it produces a sine wave. The sine wave is the most ideal wave and can only be created in a lab or by a tuning fork, as can be seen even in the way the tongs move while the sine wave is vibrating.

This explains why and how Beethoven managed to compose the legendary musical piece called Moonlight Sonata even though he was deaf most of his life! The answer lies in the mathematical and erythematous understanding of the notes of the piano. One can employ a graphical representation of the sound and tone of the piano to show how consonance functions in the various sections by demonstrating how the sounds become aesthetically pleasing to our ears.

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