“Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting
without being aware that it is counting.” – Gottfried Leibniz
The relationship between mathematics and music has been a subject for investigation for thousands of years since both disciplines involve precision, organization and structure. We can study everything in music from different mathematical perspectives, including geometry, number theory and so on. hese numbers and patterns help us to understand much more than the structure of music.
Around the year 530 BC, Pythagoras discovered that the lengths of vibrating strings for notes which harmonized musically were in simple numerical ratios. He had developed musical theories based on mathematical harmonies in frequency ratios of whole number intervals.
An important concept in math, ‘Golden Ratio’, that can be found across nature, whether by accident or with intent, found its way into music as well. During Math Day, grade 8 students, Abhinav and Sri Hari Santhosh, studied and presented how the Golden Ratio Concept has been applied in the making of violins. They also presented a multiplication table by the use of a very popular rhythmic art form in Carnatic music known as ‘Konnakkol’ which was very much appreciated by everyone.
Though there are arguments on whether or not these concepts of math were intentionally used, their perceived existence does go along with the idea that humans are naturally drawn to such numbers and patterns.