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Article Title

Unleashing Music’s Hidden Blueprint: An Analysis of Mathematical Symmetries Used in Music

Graduation Year

2015

Abstract

The history of the development of mathematics and the development of Western music unleashes fascinating connections between the two fields and illustrates their similarities and dependence on each other. The human brain’s logical functioning left side and creative functioning right side, as studied by psychobiologist Robert Sperry ("Whole Brain Development”) are bridged together in this project as mathematical patterns meld with the art of musical composition. These studies investigate mathematical patterns such as the Fibonacci Series and the Golden Mean; as they apply to the composition of concert music, in comparison to other mathematical symmetries used as compositional tools, such as palindromes, crab canons, and fractals. This research explores the impact that these compositional techniques have on the style, structure, and aesthetic beauty of a composition as a whole, and thus considers how these techniques set the piece apart from other works that do not use such mathematics. The findings show that the Fibonacci Series and Golden Mean were the most effective compositional tools and yielded the most aesthetically pleasing results.

Comments

Unleashing Music’s Hidden Blueprint: An Analysis of Mathematical Symmetries Used in Music was a recipient of one of the 2015 Phi Beta Kappa Liberal Arts Scholar Awards at Illinois Wesleyan University. For more information, please see the press release.