To the layman, math in music is an amazing thing. Naturally, one would associate math to physics or art to music but not math to music. What they are unaware of is that there is a lot of mathematics that is involved in music. All music that is created involves conscious and unconscious calculations by the singer, the producer, and even the instruments type, nature, and quality. All music instruments are designed with specific predictions that ensure they produce a sound that is unique to them alone. This is called the law of harmonics (not to be confused with Kepler's third law).
For example, when the string of guitar is plucked, the string is pulled into bent shape when it is released it moves back to the Centre, and then to the opposite side from where it was plucked. This happens several times, creating a wave-like vibrational motion and hence causing compressions to the air space that are called harmonies. These harmonies are what is picked up by our eardrums as sound notes.
The quality and intensity of the sound produced are determined by the energy that is used to pluck the string, type and tightness of string, and the acoustic development of the instrument . With just that one example, we have involved more than five variables that require accurate mathematical calculations to produce the desired sound to create or play music. The variables are frequency, energy, tension, pressure, and speed.
Here are the five things you need to learn how math is used in music.
Every instrument is created with an unambiguously specific sound that it is to make when played in a particular way. When creating music instruments, the simple contrapuntal motions are taken into consideration to set the tension on the different strings of a guitar, the chords of a piano or the different drum sets. Mathematical calculations have to be made to ensure the material of the parts of the instrument, and the tension that the parts are set with allow for the instrument to produce the desired musical notes when played.
The mathematical calculations that are involved in in-studio creation are mainly to do with the acoustics of the studio. Acoustic mathematicians have to help create soundproof rooms that negate background noises and echoes to ensure that there are no other sounds that are picked up by the microphones in recording studios. Optimum acoustic calculations also help the people involved in music production to assess their music properly before making it available to other parties.
Math in Music and song creation
Music is several similar notes that are arranged in a specific sequence and pattern to create a rhythm. In simple terms, in music, every single beat requires a subsequent beat to give the first beat rhythmic meaning. Musicians use these sequences by counting bars and arranging different notes in a specific pattern to create a melody with a somehow repetitive tune and beat. Without sequences and calculation of these patterns consciously or subconsciously, it would be impossible to create a song that ends in rhyme after a similar set of bars.
Math in Music and song recording
After creation, the song needs to be recorded so that it can be played in the future using other forms of media. This also involves various complex mathematical calculations but to simplify, what happens is that when the microphone captures your acoustic voice it converts the vibrations made into continuous electric current that can travel down a wire to an amplifier and then to a digital converter where it is converted to binary 0s and 1s that can be stored in a computer. These Os and 1s represent the amplitudes and notes that make up the sound in the music. Therefore, for created music to be captured there are complex mathematical procedures that take place.
Math in Reading and playing musical notes
Musical notes are almost the same as mathematical symbols. The musical pieces are divided into bars. All bars represent a separation of an equal interval. These intervals/bars are further divided into beats. Already, when a musician is reading musical notes plays specific notes according to the equal mathematical separations of time.
Further calculations are in the notes which are also categorized according to numbers. Some are full notes, while others are half notes or quarter notes and so forth. This is explained in detail when studying the Fibonacci sequence.
When you do your research, you will find your math homework answers that different sounds can be made using different weights and frequencies. The fact that most people do not see the relationship between music and mathematics is ironical because that discovery was made by one of the most famous mathematicians, Pythagoras of Samos.