Lecture to explore the maths behind music

Lecture to explore the maths behind music

The unique connection between mathematics and music will be explored next week in a public talk by a leading Aberdeen mathematician.

Professor David Benson from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Aberdeen will highlight the deep historical link which has existed between the disciplines for centuries, in his lecture Mathematics and Music which will be held at the University's King's College Conference Centre on Monday (17 November). 

Professor Benson will discuss how mathematics has an effect on the most fundamental aspects of music from the scales and chords we use to the way in which we hear music and our relationship with particular sounds. 

Intriguing facts such as how different multiples of frequencies found within a given note have an impact on which notes work in harmony with one another, will also be highlighted in his lecture which is based on his book Music: A Mathematical Offering.

Professor Benson said: "Pythagoras, perhaps the world's most famous mathematician, was the first to understand the unique connection which exists between maths and music several thousand years ago. 

"From understanding the difference between consonance and dissonance to what we mean by meantone and well tempered scales mathematics provides the reasoning behind many of music's complexities.  My lecture will begin by discussing the very origins of scales and temperaments, going on to look at important factors in music theory such as Harmonic Analysis."

Professor Benson's lecture is the fifth to take place as part of the institution's Inaugural Lectures 2008 series which showcases the pioneering research being conducted by some of the University's leading academics.  

Professor Benson's lecture Mathematics and Music takes place on Monday 17 November at 6pm at the Kings College Conference Centre, University of Aberdeen.   The lecture will be followed by an informal wine reception.

Places are free for the lecture, and can be booked online at www.abdn.ac.uk/inaugurallectures or by calling 01224 273 874.

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