Maths and Music


There are several universal languages that we share on this planet. Something that everyone can understand no matter if they are English or French or German. Two of these languages are music and maths. Both are things that have been studied and learned and things that may never be perfected, no matter how we try or how close we get. Other than the obvious link that they both start with the same letter, there are other things that create a link between these two worldwide neverending conversations. 

Plato and Aristotle believed in the connection between music and maths. For the Greeks, music was an integral part of their culture, something ingrained in their lives and the education of their children. All of the Greek myths talked about the great power that music holds. It is unsurprising then that two of the most prolific philosophers of the time would have their own opinion on music. Plato and Aristotle both talked about music in regards to the soul and education, but it was Pythagoras that made the connection between music and maths.

 It was by pure chance that he noticed the connection between the sounds that come from a smithie hammering an anvil, the ratio of their weight and the musical scale. He figured out that harmonius music notes have full number ratios. Pythagorus described the first four overtones that became the primary building blocks of music and the oldest tuning method for the 12-note-chromatic scale is called the Pythagreon tuning and is based on what he called the perfect fifth, using stacks of 3:2. He even became so obsessed that he began to believe that the world, even the whole universe was based on numbers. He began to relate the ratios that he had found within music to the stars in the sky. 

There are things that translate to both maths and music. Patterns are things that appear frequently in both music and maths. Music has it’s repetition, choruses, melodies, words, so much so that sometimes we can predict what comes next in a song just from the cews within the song. In maths, patterns can also be used to predict the unknown, as they give us a frame work of what has been so we can discover what will be or perhaps what has already been happened. Patterns within music can always be studied or looked at mathematical, and it has been shown that certain patterns within music can make the song more likely to be popular. The repetition within pop songs may be one of the reasons that it has become so popular. 

So the link between maths and music has been acknowledged for a very long time and it has been proven that both can be easier to understand with the support of the other universal language. So the next time you look at a maths problem, or a sheet of music, know that it is a whirling sandstorm of numbers and notes transcribed upon a page. 


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