Mathematics in Music and Writing

In the first half of this year we look at mathematics and music. 

Music, with its rhythms and structures, is almost by definition mathematical in flavour. We will explore these ideas in more detail in three lectures. 

Firstly we consider the implicit and explicit use of mathematics in composition. Next we find out what mathematics can tell us about creating musical instruments, in particular the relationship between different pitches of notes and how to use this to produce sounds. Finally we discover how we can analyse and create different patterns in bell-ringing. 

The second three lectures this year will be about mathematics on the page. We begin with a look at how ideas of dimension, shape and size have been written about and played with in fiction, from Edwin Abbot’s Flatland to Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Then we explore how mathematics has been used to create structural forms in poetry and fiction, and finally we will consider how mathematics itself has been written down, from number systems to symbols, and how the way we write our mathematics can even influence the paths our mathematical understanding takes.

In this series