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#1
many here and elsewhere believe the phrase "music is math"

i'd like to discuss this. how is music math? or, why isn't it?
i don't know why i feel so dry
#2
I remember listening to some pop song on the radio a few weeks ago, and I began listing the chords relative to the scale the song was in. Sounded like, "6th, 4th, 1st, 5th..." etc.

My brother's girlfriend said, "I don't know how you made music sound like math, but you did."

I said, "Well, music involves a fair bit of math."

"Nah, not really..." was her reply.

---

In harmonic structures, it's not so much math really, as it is just logic or putting things together sensibly. You basically just need to know how to count to 12.

In rhythm structures, the math involved is a lot more complex.
#5
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Xenakis bro. Don't even.


go ahead.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#6
Quote by Eastwinn
go ahead.

He applied mathy shit to music. I haven't studied him that much.

Oh, and I realize that doesn't literally make music math. He was just the mathiest composer that ever lived.

Xenakis pioneered the use of mathematical models in music such as applications of set theory, stochastic processes and game theory

Specific examples of mathematics, statistics, and physics applied to music composition are the use of the statistical mechanics of gases in Pithoprakta, statistical distribution of points on a plane in Diamorphoses, minimal constraints in Achorripsis, the normal distribution in ST/10 and Atrées, Markov chains in Analogique, game theory in Duel, Stratégie, and Linaia-agon, group theory in Nomos Alpha (for Siegfried Palm), set theory in Herma and Eonta, and Brownian motion in N'Shima.


Only problem is I have no idea what any of those things are.
#7
There is also a thing called math(x). Music in math to the extreme. Mathcore is the best example I know of, requires you to think like an equation, you can't really feel the music outside of muscle memory.
#8
Music is math in the same way that art (paintings) are math. In that it isn't. Yeah you've got music with lots of math elements, but that doesn't make it math.
it's all just coming back
it's all coming back

it's all coming back to me
#9
Math is math. All the universe can be described mathematically, and music is no different.

Computers can't write masterpieces though, so in that sense, it is not simply a product of axioms, not simple ones anyway, and requires sentience to produce, because it is the experience of music that makes it good. Not it's mathematical attributes. It is complex to decipher that way, and to define a set of basics from which great music can be made.

If that wasn't true, then there would be a "Hit song" Plugin you could get for your DAW, and we'd all be churning them out like butter.

Some people like to say that hit music is easy, because it is simple, but I don't find that to be the case.

Computers can make music. Just not good music, imo anyway.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Sep 24, 2014,
#10
Quote by fingrpikingood


Ig that wasn't true, then there would be a "Hit song" Plugin you could get for your DAW, and we'd all be churning them out like butter.

well give us a sec, i'm sure someone's working on it
#11
Music can be modeled mathematically, but that completely misses any emotional impact that said music had on the listener.
#13
Quote by willT08
well give us a sec, i'm sure someone's working on it


I'm skeptical that we will live long enough to witness it, but I don't think this will happen until we figure out how to artificially create sentient beings.

And then we will be faced with sending the sentient beings the same sort of emotional responses that animals get from music. And also other things that are different among us, which contribute to making the difference between a musician, and a non musician. In essence, not just in application.
#14
Quote by fingrpikingood
All the universe can be described mathematically

yeah I don't think so.
it's all just coming back
it's all coming back

it's all coming back to me
#15
chord analysis is "mathie" but that is not music..

but I can see in a way how one might "see" it that way...when I see works by MC Esher it has a "math" quality - the way he uses symmetry in his work...and when I hear Bach inventions on piano..the same kind of feel is there - strange I know..but I think of numbers-floating in space- for some reason..and no..not on drugs..but don't ask about the 60's

wolf
#16
Quote by Baby Joel
yeah I don't think so.


Well, the feat has not yet been accomplished, and may never be. There are still some quantum events that seem random to us, but that something seems random, and that something IS random, are not the same things. As Einstein said, I don't believe that God plays dice. That seems to me impossible. You are free to believe otherwise.
#17
I don't think math is often able to explain the 'why' of many things.

Let's take for instance if I am walking down a road. I have no objective, no goal, no destination. I come across a fork. Neither way is more appealing than the either. They are completely identical with no indication of what is at the end. I choose to go right.

I don't think math can explain that. Why did I choose to go right? Why did I choose anything? Because I made that decision. If math is an explanation for that, then humans are broken down from sentient beings to mathematically dictated beings, and I just don't believe that to be true.

Similarly with music, music is an expression of its creator. Every time. I don't think there is an instance where music is not an expression of its creator. Because I do not believe that people are math, I do not believe that a person's expression is math either.

This is not to say that music doesn't have elements of math in it, because it does. But music itself is not math.


EDIT: I just want it to be said, I'm not saying that I'm right and everyone else is wrong or anything. I think a lot of these types of discussions don't have rights and wrongs. Just offering my opinion, which is probably a bit out there, I don't know.
it's all just coming back
it's all coming back

it's all coming back to me
Last edited by Baby Joel at Sep 24, 2014,
#20
Quote by Baby Joel
I don't think math is often able to explain the 'why' of many things.
I actually disagree with this, but I never said originally that math explains why. I said that it describes.


Let's take for instance if I am walking down a road. I have no objective, no goal, no destination. I come across a fork. Neither way is more appealing than the either. They are completely identical with no indication of what is at the end. I choose to go right.

I don't think math can explain that. Why did I choose to go right? Why did I choose anything? Because I made that decision. If math is an explanation for that, then humans are broken down from sentient beings to mathematically dictated beings, and I just don't believe that to be true.
Because you are a being consisting of atoms and molecules, arranged in some precise way, which are combined together to create a being, with a brain of a certain specific structure, which functions in a certain specific way, and which is fed sense data of the state of the immediate universe around them and which uses that information, as well as all the information collected over your entire life, all of the sensor data, and changes in brain states, shaping of emotions etcetera, which all together create a being that is face with a random choice, and they select one, but it was not really random. The brain followed the laws of physics, as it processed the situation and observed that it was trivial, and made a trivial selection based on how that brain worked.

And yes, that would mean free will is an illusion. But like I said, you are free to believe as you wish.

Similarly with music, music is an expression of its creator. Every time. I don't think there is an instance where music is not an expression of its creator. Because I do not believe that people are math, I do not believe that a person's expression is math either.

This is not to say that music doesn't have elements of math in it, because it does. But music itself is not math.


I am not math music is not math, these things can be described mathematically, as they are real physical manifestations in the universe.

I am still me, I still exist, the music I make is still a product of the physical, and mathematically representable entity which is me. I still create fully emotionally with full honesty. But it is still my belief, that it can all be described mathematically.

the alternative, is that you would be some sort of soul, some ambiguously defined thing, which is not physical, and yet somehow has the ability to manipulate the physical world.
#21
The aspect of rhythm and note durations, how a song flows in time from beginning to end is no doubt mathematical.
#22
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, change, and the creation of order out of chaos.

So, in a word, music.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#23
Quote by Eastwinn
many here and elsewhere believe the phrase "music is math"

i'd like to discuss this. how is music math? or, why isn't it?


Math can be used to describe music.

But math can also be used to describe how an airplane works. You still can't build one without an understand of aerodynamics and engineering.
#24
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
What is math?


that's a good question. bonus points to the first prick to try to derive a definition from the etymology of the word.

as for being able to model the universe with mathematics... such an idea is horribly outdated. almost all events are unknowable and some are explicitly uncomputable or transcomputational. furthermore, high-order predicate calculus in the basic inductive steps inherent in our number system necessitate the existence of some statement, however arbitrary, that is certainly true but cannot known to be true. sorry, there is no mathematical system for our reality. it is truly too beautiful for such hegemony.

Quote by Jet Penguin
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, change, and the creation of order out of chaos.


no it's not. checkmate.

Quote by HotspurJr
You still can't build one without an understand of aerodynamics and engineering.


i'll be sure to ask the next vulture i see where she got her degree in fluid dynamics.
i don't know why i feel so dry
Last edited by Eastwinn at Sep 24, 2014,
#26
Math is the language of science.

Music may be art, but the process of it is science.

I'm not dead yet.

All joking aside, it won't make our writing better. It doesn't matter whether or not its math.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#27
I don't think "music is math" is a good way of putting it because the word 'math' is just as broad as the word music and we associate different things with both words.

Math can mean adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing. It can also mean studying patterns, ratios, quantities, changes over time, and speeds. The second part of that sounds a hell of a lot like music.

There are tons of ways you can use math to express elements in music. We actually do it quite a bit, and unknowingly. How do you think equal temperament came about? Guess who invented it's predecessor (which equal temperament is very heavily based on) by using math? (Hint: It was Pythagorean. You know, that geometry guy?) Ever tried learning scale theory? I've seen it broken up into matrices and described using binary codes to represent scales and intervals.

I guess the point is that it may not be 'math' in the sense that we sit down with a graphing calculator and make music, but it's no secret that the two of them are pretty much married with a few kids
#28
Quote by Jet Penguin
Math is the language of science.


immaterial

Quote by Jet Penguin
Music may be art, but the process of it is science.


what in music is reasoned inductively?

Quote by Jet Penguin
It doesn't matter whether or not its math.


then why does everyone keep saying it
i don't know why i feel so dry
#29
Quote by Eastwinn

then why does everyone keep saying it


From wikipedia:
Music theorists sometimes use mathematics to understand music, and although music has no axiomatic foundation in modern mathematics, mathematics is "the basis of sound" and sound itself "in its musical aspects... exhibits a remarkable array of number properties", simply because nature itself "is amazingly mathematical".


That might have something to do with it
#30
I was always very frustrated when people in my 20th century theory class would complain about how they couldn't learn anything because they're bad at math. Just cause you're filing in a matrix doesn't mean you're doing math.

I feel like people conflate "having to do with numbers" and math.
Last edited by jazz_rock_feel at Sep 24, 2014,
#31
Mathematics are simply ratios. That's it. Math itself is just the ratios. But we use it applying it to ratios of actual things. And we can get incredibly complex ratios.

That the universe is mathematically knowable is not at all outdated. It is an old idea, yes. After newtonian physics, it was believed a simple truth. Quantum physics put it into question again. Now some people believe that there are random events which are only knowable in probability, more than a wave function, which is nothing at all to do with random or probability, but is a fundamental feature of how the universe must work.

The farther back in time you go, the more things are seemingly random. As we learn we discoer patterns and learn about consistency, and correlation.

We don't know everything, so obviously some things are not explained, but that is not to say they are not explainable.

This is an even older, more outdated notion, where people would invent stories legends ghosts and goblins to explain things, because they couldn't detect the order before them.

Some believe there is still inherent disorder, that what appears random to us, is in fact random, rather than a riddle we've not yet solved. But this is by no stretch a consensus among scientists, nor is it a modern idea. It also isn't one einstein held, the man that simply from thinking about it, discovered relativity, a concept that 99% of the population has trouble even understanding, let alone being able to discover.

It just seems odd to me how science has been making order out of disorder since the dawn of time, and yet some believe we've arrived at the edge and the remaining disorder is actually not solvable this time.

The concept of random doesn't even agree with any physics we know about. We observe perceived randomness, but it also appears random when you play poker on the net. But it isn't, it's just the algorithm is complex.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Sep 24, 2014,
#34
Music is not math. Music is meth.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#36
^so gud

...modes and scales are still useless.


Quote by PhoenixGRM
Hey guys could you spare a minute to Vote for my band. Go to the site Search our band Listana with CTRL+F for quick and vote Thank you .
Quote by sam b
Voted for Patron Çıldırdı.

Thanks
Quote by PhoenixGRM
But our Band is Listana
#37
Quote by MapOfYourHead
did u not do this before?

Yes he did.

Btw, it's not. Yes, some mathematical structures may be present, but like Jet Penguin said, why does it matter? Considering music math will just make you a bad musician. Entirely theoretical music sounds artificial and unmusical.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Sep 25, 2014,
#38
why does theoretical music sound artificial and unmusical?


also, what does theoretical mean in this context?
#39
Quote by willT08
why does theoretical music sound artificial and unmusical?


also, what does theoretical mean in this context?

Well, I meant music composed from a mathematical/theoretical viewpoint. The way a computer would make music.

And no, I'm not going to discuss this with you.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Sep 25, 2014,