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Music and Mathematics: From Pythagoras to Fractals 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199298938
ISBN-10: 0199298939
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"An ear-opening book for students of mathematics, especially those who plan to teach, whose style will also suit music students keen to think in new ways. Recommended"--Choice


About the Author

About the Editors:
John Fauvel is Lecturer in Mathematics at The Open University.
Raymond Flood is Tutor in the Department of External Studies at the University of Oxford.
Michael Shortland is Director of Research in the Department of External Studies at the University of Oxford.
Robin Wilson is Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at The Open University.


Raymond Flood is Vice-Principal of Kellogg College, Oxford and former President of the British Society for the History of Mathematics.

Robin Wilson is Professor of Pure Mathematics at the Open University (UK), a Fellow in Mathematics at Keble College, Oxford University, and Emeritus Gresham Professor of Geometry, London (the oldest mathematical Chair in England). He has written and edited about thirty books, mainly on graph theory and the history of mathematics. His research interests focus mainly on British mathematics, especially in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and on the history of graph theory and combinatorics.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199298939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199298938
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 0.4 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #968,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Only two chapters address fundamental mathematical-musical issues, namely decent chapters on the Pythagorean principles of consonance and scales and Helmholtz's theory of consonance. The rest of the book treats various quirky side topics, many of them trying in more or less contrived ways to force mathematical ideas (magic squares, finite projective planes, fractals, the Erlanger Programm, etc.) into a musical setting. Personally, I was amused by chapter 7 on bell-ringing: a bell-tower has a few different bells and of course "an evening spent playing unchanging rounds might be considered uneventful", so we wish to change the ringing order of our bells, but "because bells are heavy and slow" we are limited to changing the order one adjacent pair at a time, and so eighteenth century bell-ringers developed a sophisticated understanding of symmetric groups generated by transpositions, which we can now illustrate with modern concepts and Cayley diagrams and so on, only to conclude that the ringers "had been doing 'group theory' and 'ringing the cosets' all along". That's about as good as it gets. The book as a whole suffers from many shortcomings including lack of depth (e.g., chapter 2 on Kepler's musical cosmology doesn't contain a single line of mathematics), lack of breadth (e.g., Fourier analysis is not even in the index), and lack of originality (e.g., chapter 4 consists of recycled Ian Stewart material which in turn was mostly recycled Barbour material, down to consistent misspelling of the main character's name).
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Format: Paperback
Unlike the sniveling drivel written by the other reviewer on this book who makes materialistic suppositions about the quality of this book, in error no less,...this book is in fact a brilliant gem very well worth purchase. Needless to note again that I own every book ever written on Pythagoreanism, Plotinus, Neoplatonism, & there is aught that I give much praise to. Namely 98% of ALL books written on this topic are myopic "X commentator thinks this means Y, and A commentator thinks differently" equivocations. This is not one of "those miserable little books" CAF Davids. All Pythagorean number and harmonic interest is AS PER ontology/metaphysics only.

The other reviewer expected/wanted/projected an existentialist/materialistic tripe book as found in the science section. This is a book, rightly so, about Pythagorean harmonics, ratios, & its corresponding arithmos-metaphysics. High praise for this wonderful book, it stands out among the common trash.
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