The Construction of Beauty: Music and Math
From the “harmony of the spheres” to different tunings for keyboard instruments, musical notation systems and numerical symbolism to algorithm-generated computer compositions — mathematics and music have shared a close relationship throughout Western history and culture.
Around 300 years ago, the scientific paradigm in Western Europe shifted and, with it, the thinking about the relationship of music and numbers. Once again, new connections between music and mathematics erupted with the advent of computers in the 1950s. The computer bridged musical composition and performance, mathematics, aesthetics, and physics, and more recently has included cognitive and neuroscience within musical theory and practice.
This workshop will center on the question of whether music and mathematics are bonded in an intrinsic relationship, or if instead culturally driven concepts establish their marriage (nature vs. nurture). This evening will include music generated by computer, presentations of custom-built xylophones and metallophones, and works by JS Bach played on pianos with different tuning systems.
Johannes Goebel has been the founding director of EMPAC since 2002. Between 1990 and 2002 he was the founding director of Germany’s largest production studio for music and technology, the Institute for Music and Acoustics at the Center for Art and Media ZKM Karlsruhe. He started in the field of computer music in 1977 at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Stanford University. Before he started on the institutional track, he was, among others, a composer, music educator, and instrument builder.