CENCIA Program to Explore Intersection of Music and Mathematics

Posted On April 2, 2012 by Jeremy Craig
Categories Discovery

ATLANTA — Georgia State University’s Center for Collaborative and International Arts (CENCIA) will present an exploration of mathematical music theory – where art and science come together in understanding the mathematics behind music.

“Symbols for Sound: Exploring Mathematical Music Theory” includes a concert to be held at 7:30 p.m. on April 5 at the Florence Kopleff Recital Hall. The event, and all events in the Symbols for Sound program are free and open to the public.

“CENCIA’s mission is to enrich campus and community life through collaborative and international arts and Symbols for Sound is a perfect program to achieve these goals.  This research program brings together mathematics and music in ways that are new and engaging, challenging our notions of both disciplines,” said Pearl McHaney, director of CENCIA, and associate dean for fine arts.

The concert will feature Emilio Lluis-Puebla of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a mathematician and musician playing two Beethoven sonatas for piano.

The second half of the concert will feature jazz with mathematician and pianist Guerino Mazzola of the University of Minnesota School of Music, who holds a joint appointment with the University of Zurich Department of Informatics, and drummers Heinz Geisser of Switzerland and Shiro Onuma of Japan.

“Mathematics and music theory have been intertwined since ancient times, from the Greeks through the middle ages,” said Mariana Montiel, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, “and until the Renaissance, the four liberal arts – or el ‘Quadrivium,’ consisted in arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy.”

Mathematical music theory today has arisen in music and mathematics departments in the U.S., Europe and Latin America, Montiel said, as musicians use the theory to analyze the patterns of modern musical composition.

“Mathematical music theory is of interest to music theorists, composers, mathematicians, computer scientists, acousticians and cognitive scientists, to name a few,” she said, and is also useful in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education – relating modern theories in mathematics, humanities and computer science.

The week’s program will also include a symposium from 1 to 4 p.m. April 4 in the Rialto Center Lobby, where Lluis-Puebla and Mazzola will be joined by Parag Chordia of the Music Intelligence Lab at the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology.

There will also be a seminar on Rubato Composer, software developed by Mazzola, held at 11 a.m. April 5 in the College of Education building, Room 796, in addition to a more technical colloquium at 2 p.m. April 6 in the College of Education building, Room 150.

For more information about Symbols for Sound and an interview with WRAS-FM, 88.5, about the program, visit http://arts.gsu.edu/7585.html.

April 2, 2012