Musimathics: The Mathematical Foundations of Music: 2 Paperback – 2 Sep 2011
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"From his long and successful experience as a composer and computer-music researcher, Gareth Loy knows what is challenging and what is important. That comprehensiveness makes Musimathics both exciting and enlightening. The book is crystal clear, so that even advanced issues appear simple. Musimathics will be essential for those who want to understand the scientific foundations of music, and for anyone wishing to create or process musical sounds with computers." -- Jean-Claude Risset, Laboratoire de Mecanique et d'Acoustique, CNRS, France
About the Author
Gareth Loy is a musician and award-winning composer. He has published widely and, during a long and successful career at the cutting edge of multimedia computing, has worked as a researcher, lecturer, programmer, software architect, and digital systems engineer. He is President of Gareth, Inc., a provider of software engineering and consulting services internationally.
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Top customer reviews
However, I'm delighted to see a second edition, not only with corrections but with new material and positively the best layout I've seen in an academic book - it's lovely just to look at. It's also much cheaper, which is a rarity.
This two-volume set (oddly they are different heights) is the best reference on Maths and Music that I know.
Very highly recommended.
This second volume, especially with Boulanger's Audio Programming book are the new frontrunners in the theory and execution of digital music making.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
In every section, the author's excitement is contagious. Rather than give a bunch of dry proofs that reek of hubris and disregard for the reader, Gareth uses a "curious mind" tone, as if he were just learning and discovering this too, like a kind of puzzle or murder mystery. Loy is Monk, Holmes and Columbo combined. For example, he gives a few expansion series for e, then says: "Wow, there seems to be a striking and beautiful pattern here, doesn't there? Wonder what it can be?" Leave it to a guy into both math and music to see the wonder in a time series!
One more example. Any texts on waveforms have to involve deep calculus, especially PDE's. Unfortunately, deep PDE's don't happen until grad school. But, rather than assume the reader uses calculus all day long, Loy starts with the basics at "now let's see how the first derivative is actually slope finding and integration is the area covered by the moving curve..." including those perhaps more musically inclined who have forgotten what a derivative is. Astonishingly, Loy sneaks around the dry topic of limits to use MUSIC as a great practical refesher on calculus (p. 263 of the second volume, in the section that is the hottest topic in Physics today, from Astronomy to Medical Imaging to of course music: Resonance).
Gareth is one of the few mathematicians around who can relate math to the astonishment of life around us. After all, our brain is doing advanced Fourier Transforms every time we cross a street in traffic, and when we get an MRI, the Fourier Transforms that convert magnetic alignment to pictures are assuming that the atoms in our body are a song, which when pulsed with a radio wave, will sing the positions of their water molecules back to us in harmonics that can be seen as well as heard.
Highly recommend this series, not only for everyone interested in math and music, but math and life!
There is quite a bit of math and physics in the book and I did skip quite a bit of it.
There is also quite a lot of information on different scales and changes in the frequency of notes through history.
I took piano lessons as a kid, but don't have a good understanding of the different keys and scales so this was tough for me, but also very interesting.
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