Musical Mathematics


Neal Bushaw, Ph.D.

Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, Virginia

Friday, November 1st, 4:30 PM
Innovation E430




Leibniz said that "Music is the pleasure the human soul experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting.”  In this talk, we'll do some of Leibniz' unconscious counting, exploring mathematical problems that arise in music theory.  What does it mean for an instrument to be "in tune"? How many different scales are there?  Why do we only see the circle of fifths, and never the circle of sixths?  Was Fibonacci a musician?

We'll focus on combinatorial problems, but we'll also see some number theory, some algebra, and some physics along the way.  This talk is intended for a general audience, and will not assume any particular familiarity with either music theory or combinatorics.



Kiki M Reno