MAT 231 The Mathematics of Music (3 credits)
Music has many connections to mathematics. The ancient Greeks discovered that chords with a pleasing sound are related to simple ratios of integers. The mathematics of rhythm has also been studied for centuries—in fact, ancient Indian writers discovered the celebrated Fibonacci sequence in the rhythms of Sanskrit poetry. Other connections between math and music investigated in this course include the equations describing the sounds of musical instruments, the mathematics behind digital recording, the use of symmetry and group theory in composition, the exploration of patterns by African and Indian drummers, the application of chaos theory to modeling the behavior of melodies, and the representation of chords by exotic geometric objects called orbifolds. Along the way, we discuss the role of creativity in mathematics and the ways in which mathematics has inspired musicians.
Prerequisite: MAT 162 and some musical training (ART 1511 or equivalent). Students with exceptional performance in Calculus I (or AP) and musical training will be admitted on a case-by-case basis.