OT: Music and Math

Started by Randy Yates October 21, 2007
I found out something intriguing recently: Dirichlet's wife, Rebecka,
was the sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn!

This is from Marcus du Sautoy's delightful book, "The Music of the
Primes," which is as much about math history as it is the primes. A
really wonderful tome, Sautoy provides very informative glimpses of many
of the mathematicians we in DSP espouse: Guass, Euler, Riemann, Cauchy,
etc. It really is a delightful read!
-- 
%  Randy Yates                  % "Maybe one day I'll feel her cold embrace,
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%%%% <yates@ieee.org>           %        'Yours Truly, 2095', *Time*, ELO   
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Randy Yates wrote:
> I found out something intriguing recently: Dirichlet's wife, Rebecka, > was the sister of the composer Felix Mendelssohn! > > This is from Marcus du Sautoy's delightful book, "The Music of the > Primes," which is as much about math history as it is the primes. A > really wonderful tome, Sautoy provides very informative glimpses of many > of the mathematicians we in DSP espouse: Guass, Euler, Riemann, Cauchy, > etc. It really is a delightful read!
Euler is an interesting case in point. he was invited by Fred the Great to Berlin to join the Acedemy of Science. This was in 1741, two years after he had published a substantial treatise on music theory: "An attempt at a new theory of music, exposed in all clearness acccording to the most well-founded principle of harmony". JS Bach went to Berlin/Potsdam in 1747 (which resulted in "The Muscial Offering"), so it is not inconceiveable that he and Euler met. Or carefully avoided meeting - Euler was firmly in the Newton "camp", while Bach (a comitted Pythagorean) was pro-active in the Leibniz "camp" (Bach of course being based in Leipzig for the final period of his life), and there seems to be gneral agreement that the Musical Offering served as a philosophiocal or even political tract supporting Leibniz in the argument that was raging so vehemently across Europe. It is only is our disassociated last 100 years that music and maths, arts and sciences, have been seen to be somehow "opposites". Not so long ago, to master either one you had to be learned in the other. Sadly today, our education systems seem designed more to prevent rather than encourage people to become polymaths. Richard Dobson