KID REPORTERS’ NOTEBOOK
When Math Meets Music
This month, the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) in New York City hosted an event exploring the connections between math and music.
“There are countless ways that math and music relate to each other,” said Cindy Lawrence, MoMath’s Executive Director. “Math is in everything from how you count beats in a measure to how musical instruments work.”
The museum is designed for the math-challenged and math enthusiasts alike. State-of-the-art interactive exhibits show the wonders that are possible with the power of math, including a car with square wheels and spheres with points.
“THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX”
At the event, mathematician William A. Massey and musician Marcus G. Miller discussed how their fields are connected. Massey, who is a professor at Princeton University, demonstrated how each note’s frequency in music can be expressed by a separate mathematical formula.
Miller, who is a professional saxophone player and composer, described how the “golden ratio” (a math ratio of 1:1.618) is often found in music. It figures prominently in Mozart’s “Rondo Alla Turca,” for example, which means “Turkish March.”
Massey and Miller offered advice for young people who aspire to be musicians, mathematicians, or both.
“Listen to everything you can,” Miller said. “Absorb it, like it, and figure out how to use it.”
Massey encouraged kids to “think outside the box—or the hypercube.”