Understanding Science and Music – Combining the Tools of the Two Areas
The two worlds, science and music, seem like worlds apart. On the one hand, traditional universities in the UK have historically focused their students onto the more practical arts or the more academic sciences. On the other hand, individuals coming out of music school may often incorrectly guess both physics and chemistry, and may even be surprised to discover that work in either science and music, actually comes from a cross-pollination of the two disciplines. And while many younger generations are comfortable with this fusion of learning, others have yet to come to terms with the duality.
Science and Music
Both science and music require the study of complex physical laws and principles. It’s not surprising then, when you start comparing these two disciplines, that you’ll immediately see a stark contrast. To illustrate, consider the common laws of thermodynamics, a branch of physics that has completely impacted the study of how the world works. Music, by its very nature, requires harmony, and symmetry; both of which are required by thermodynamics.
Combining the Tools
Similarly, when you consider the study of music, you’ll see that mathematics plays a much larger role than previously thought. Geometry and the science of sound are integral elements for understanding how music is created and how it is interpreted. As such, students of music will learn how to create musical concepts such as pitch and dynamics, as well as learning mathematical formulations such as amplitudes, powers, series, and sinusoidal waves. These concepts not only make music possible, but also lay the foundation for sound engineering and production. Additionally, these same techniques can be used in any form of mathematics, including calculus theory.
Science and Music – Two Areas
So, how does all of this tie in with the subject of science itself? In the case of music theory, students will learn the concepts of scales, modes, and chords. While these may seem seemingly unimportant to the overall study of science, they actually go a long way in explaining how science comes to have observations of reality. For example, it is not hard to recognize that if we watch a plane pass by, the speed it travels through the air is not constant. Rather, it varies with every angle, altitude, or direction. This is exactly the point where physics and science came together.
In the same way, a piano player can recognize and apply the basic science of chords. In order to play a song, the notes must be arranged in a manner that makes sense and that listeners can understand. This is why it is important for students of science and mathematics to study complex mathematical concepts in their studies of music. Learning these concepts not only makes them more interesting, but it also makes it easier for them to apply them in the real world, making them valuable tools in any creative endeavor.
Students of science and math must be cognizant of the difference between theoretical knowledge and scientific knowledge. When learning how to arrange a piano song, for instance, a student should learn the piano keys as well as their shape and placement on the fretboard. They should also know about the different ways in which they are made, including the order in which the strings are turned. They should be able to listen to an auditory presentation of the music and understand it as well. But they do not need to know all of the subtleties behind the scientific methodologies behind scientific methodologies, such as why a violinist avoids placing his fingers near the hole in the violin finger when playing a violin piece. All they need to know is that the violinist is able to produce a certain type of sound, that is musical.
- Of course, it is not enough for a student to merely be able to play the piano or violin well.
- To fully understand the nature of classical music, they must know how to explain music in a way that everyone can understand.
- That is why students of science and mathematics must also be introduced to creative methods of visualizing patterns in natural systems.
- That way, they can learn how nature “speaks” to us through its visual system, much in the same way that classical musicians have been learning the language of nature for centuries.
- The more scientific and the more artistic a student is, the more they will be able to communicate the beauty and elegance of the world around them.
Thus, while both science and art can potentially teach us something, it is ultimately up to us to choose which path we want to take. One path may prove more beneficial to us in the long run than another. For instance, while scientific theories and studies can provide a great deal of information, sometimes it can be difficult for the general public to understand certain concepts. On the other hand, certain artistic works may have a negative influence on society in general, but are still necessary for understanding our own minds. It all depends on what we want for our lives.
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