Pi Day: Musical Pi
Music and mathematics are very closely related. We can explain and describe how instruments make music, and even why some sounds don’t sound like music at all, using mathematics. In a sense, musical instruments are mathematical instruments.
Marcus Miller does a wonderful job exploring the relationship between music and mathematics in his TEDx video The Beauty of Math and Music (20:26):
While mathematics is very good at explaining and describing music, can mathematics be used to create music? The short answer is yes! All modern electronic instruments and recording and mixing technologies rely on complicated mathematical algorithms to make and model music.
But what about in a more direct sense? For example, can
Pi (represented by the Greek letter π) is the ratio of the length of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and has a value of approximately 3.14.
Learn more about Pi in part 1 of this Nerd Out series.
Several people have used the digits of π to create songs. Usually, they associate each digit (0, 1, 2, 3, etc.) with a note in the musical scale (C, D, E, F, etc.). Here are three examples of songs that have been written directly inspired by the digits of π.
In this video, Michael Blake describes his simple process for converting the first 32 digits of
This is the original video that David Scout posted to YouTube in 2011. The video includes many fascinating π facts as well.
Visit Pi and Music to learn about a few other
Are you ready to try your hand at writing your own
To learn more about the deep relationship between music and mathematics, read this paper called An Exploration of the Relationship Between Mathematics and Music.