Sunday, November 13, 2011

Music and Mathematics – A Comparison

The deciphering or decoding of music is unknown to me. I believe that it must have evolved proportional to the evolution of the language. The fundamental sounds or axioms reveal a strong mathematical base, typical of man’s intuitive response to music. It would be of great interest to the historian or (in actuality, if I should meet the standards of precision) the musical linguist to uncover the identity of various sounds and the implications it has to the musical genius (musician). In my view, a romance with the sounds, purely mathematical in design, has led to music and will continue to do so. The supportive reason that all music and its types have the same classical base or should I say the same mathematical foundation establishes this thought. Since romance is both sweet and unreasonable, such a fine feeling can lead to beauty appealing to all senses. Sounds reveal a sequence of octaves which, when heard in that manner, appeals scientifically but neither emotionally nor sensually. However, imagining these octaves to have a subtle underlying significance with a lovely attachment to a child like innocence conceives the music. Such a conception is a result of the combination of romance and mathematics or one can say the combination of imagination and logic.

I am not in any way reducing music to mathematics; in fact, music, I would say, is a lot friendlier and sweeter. Einstein, the great mathematician and scientist, himself felt that imagination has greater significance than knowledge. In mathematics, the objective truth has “reason” to be correct. In music, the subjective imagination has “feeling” to be sweet. There can be no room for a debate in favour of true or untrue music.

Sweet music in its fine form, while it may be imperfect and unreasonable, reveals an appealing and imaginative chord that strokes the innocence in man. Cacophony, on the other hand, strikes the ear drums and ensures their destruction. Cacophony is a sneer on both mathematics (classical sounds) and music.

Imperfection makes music wonderful while perfection reduces it to the dismal and dull monotony of applied mathematics. Depth makes pure mathematics insightful but shallow mathematics has appeal only commercially. An explanation in this manner relates the brilliance of mathematics to the melody of music.

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