music of the spheres

Most people enjoy listening to music. I know I do. But music is also a fascinating thing to think about. The connections between music and mathematics (and chess, for that matter) are well-known, and therefore will not be explored in this post. What will be explored are the following interesting questions and speculations:

Are there any connections between Fibonacci series, Bode's Law and the diatonic (tone, tone, semi-tone) scale? Are they different manifestations of a meta law? Is one a version of the other?

White is all the other colours added together. Is "white noise" all the frequencies of sound waves added together?

Why does some music sound "sad" (ie, invoke the emotion of sadness)? Why and how does music invoke specific emotions in the music-hearer (and presumably music-maker)? Are the emotions invoked by hearing music the same emotions invoked irrespective of the nature of the music-hearer, eg in terms of culture, musical tradition, and background? In so-called "Western culture", music in a minor key invokes a range of "saddish" emotions including regret, loneliness, sorrow, unrequited love, etc. Does music in a minor key always invoke emotions related to sadness in every person, irrespective of culture, musical tradition, and background?

The connections between music, emotion, mathematics and human psychology would make an interesting set of hypotheses for anthropological, sociological or psychological research.

Copyright © S R Schwarz 2007. All rights reserved.

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