Pitch systems use mathematics to organize audible phenomenon for creative expression. The cognitive processes we develop through exposure to music comprise a kind of applied mathematics; our emotional responses to musical nuance grow out of a largely unconscious mastery of the patterns and structures in music. This series of presentations covers the basic mathematics and cognitive phenomenon found in the tonal system used in Western music and much of the music of the world. Over the course of several presentations we will explore basic concepts of pitch and frequency, the organizing rules of tonal systems, and the mathematical construction of basic scales and chords. The reasoning and purpose of equal temperament, the standard tuning system for tonal music, will be explored in this context. Presentations will include graphics and computer applications designed specifically to illustrate these concepts.
An understanding of music notation and basic musical terms is helpful but not required for these presentations. The math involved is basic. This course introduce basic concepts such as pitch systems, frequency, triads, tonal harmony, and Pythagorean sets.