"The study of sound and music, and their basis in mathematics, dates back at least to the early Greeks and Chinese. Euclid and the followers of Pythagoras were keenly interested. Plato and Aristotle taught the importance of studying the quadrivium -- astronomy, arithmetic, geometry, and music.
Indeed, in the minds of many ancient scholars, there was no real separation between these subjects. Without detracting from music’s beauty, math alone readily explains some fundamentals of music: Why do some musical intervals sound pleasing (consonant), while other sound jarring (dissonant), and what does that have to do with “good” and “bad” numbers?
Why is the musical octave usually – and most naturally – divided into 12 steps, and yet, why is it impossible to achieve perfection in any division into 12 steps? What “universal musical equation” applies to all musical instruments (string, wind, brass, percussion, etc.)?"
Dr. Gadbois teaches math at Memphis University School. No charge for admission.