Interesting Esoterica

Mathematics and group theory in music

Article by Papadopoulos, Athanase
  • Published in 2014
  • Added on
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The purpose of this paper is to show through particular examples how group theory is used in music. The examples are chosen from the theoretical work and from the compositions of Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), one of the most influential twentieth century composers and pedagogues. Messiaen consciously used mathematical concepts derived from symmetry and groups, in his teaching and in his compositions. Before dwelling on this, I will give a quick overview of the relation between mathematics and music. This will put the discussion on symmetry and group theory in music in a broader context and it will provide the reader of this handbook some background and some motivation for the subject. The relation between mathematics and music, during more than two millennia, was lively, widespread, and extremely enriching for both domains. This paper will appear in the Handbook of Group actions, vol. II (ed. L. Ji, A. Papadopoulos and S.-T. Yau), Higher Eucation Press and International Press.

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BibTeX entry

@article{Papadopoulos2014,
	abstract = {The purpose of this paper is to show through particular examples how group theory is used in music. The examples are chosen from the theoretical work and from the compositions of Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), one of the most influential twentieth century composers and pedagogues. Messiaen consciously used mathematical concepts derived from symmetry and groups, in his teaching and in his compositions. Before dwelling on this, I will give a quick overview of the relation between mathematics and music. This will put the discussion on symmetry and group theory in music in a broader context and it will provide the reader of this handbook some background and some motivation for the subject. The relation between mathematics and music, during more than two millennia, was lively, widespread, and extremely enriching for both domains. This paper will appear in the Handbook of Group actions, vol. II (ed. L. Ji, A. Papadopoulos and S.-T. Yau), Higher Eucation Press and International Press.},
	author = {Papadopoulos, Athanase},
	month = {jul},
	title = {Mathematics and group theory in music},
	url = {http://arxiv.org/abs/1407.5757 http://arxiv.org/pdf/1407.5757v1},
	year = 2014,
	archivePrefix = {arXiv},
	eprint = {1407.5757},
	primaryClass = {math.HO},
	urldate = {2014-07-24},
	collections = {Music}
}