Latest Issue of Science News


News

Gödel, Escher, Chopin

Inuitive links between musical chords and geometries

Familiar relationships between sets of musical notes, such as transposition between chords, directly translate into geometrical structures such as this Möbius strip — where each dot represents a whole class of equivalent two-note chords — or into more complex structures with many dimensions.

Composers have an understanding of these geometries without realizing it, says music theorist Dmitri Tymoczko of PrincetonUniversity. “Musicians like Chopin had a very direct, intuitive understanding of these spaces at a time when mathematicians still didn’t know much about high-dimensional geometry,” he says.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.