My friend Rchrd posted a entry about music and math in his blog. Since he doesn’t have comments enabled, I’ll respond here. 😉
I’ve been interested for a long time in the idea that musical concepts might be expressable in terms of mathematics. Some are obvious, like rhythm and repeating themes. Some other concepts like “this sounds like a horn” and “this sounds like a flute” are more interesting. Why does a flute make us feel one way, and a horn make us feel another way? What about vocal styles? Could I apply a computer algorithm to make my voice “softer” or “harsher” or more “strident” in order to get a specific effect in a song? The same could be asked of musical instruments other than the human voice. Can I apply a computer program to a piece of music to change the sound of the artists fingers on the guitar strings? Can I make him slide his fingers on the bridge? Can I remove the sounds of him sliding his fingers on the bridge? What difference does that make to the music?