Music | Mathematical Approaches to Music
T410 | 9823 | Julian Hook


Mathematical Approaches to Music (3 cr.)
Prof. Julian Hook

MWF 12:20-1:10 p.m., Simon 344

Since the time of Pythagoras it has been recognized that mathematical
relationships underlie many musical phenomena, but the precise nature
of these relationships remains elusive to this day. Scholars in the
middle ages grouped music together with arithmetic, geometry, and
astronomy in the quadrivium, the higher division of the Seven Liberal
Arts. More recent generations of music theorists have tried to codify
music according to mathematical rules, sometimes applying highly
sophisticated mathematical techniques, with varying degrees of
success. This course will survey some of these mathematical
approaches to music, both historical and contemporary.

Course requirements will include regular attendance and
participation, assigned readings, several short homework assignments,
one major paper, and a class presentation. The paper and presentation
will give students an opportunity to explore topics of their own
choosing, depending on individual interests and abilities.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of pre-calculus mathematics and junior
standing, or consent of instructor. Non-music majors with knowledge
of basic music theory are welcome.