# Re: (OT) Music

From: | Keith Gaughan <kgaughan@...> |

Date: | Monday, June 10, 2002, 10:57 |

From: Jan van Steenbergen [mailto:ijzeren_jan@YAHOO.CO.UK]
> --- Maarten :
>
> > Aesthetics certainly does play a role in mathematics, as
> > does taste. Ok, I admit that musics calls up stronger
> > emotions than mathematical problems, but that is true for
> > all sounds, musical or not.
>
> Wasn't it John Cage who said, that every sound it music,
> even silence? I still don't agree with you. Music is nothing
> without aesthetics, taste and emotion. Mathematics, on the
> other hand, is (almost) not affected be such factors.

Oh, but it is! Have you never heard of a mathematician describe
a function, theorem, etc. as elegant? That's because it appeals
to their sense of aesthetics, or the `tuning fork of truth',
as David Gelernter calls it.
As a programmer, I can get a similar feeling from algorithms.
An algorithm might do the job well enough, but it might not
feel elegant to me. Virtually invariably, algorithms which
seem elegant will do the job better - they ring the fork.
You mightn't know a lot about the domain the algorithm is
for, but you still get a feeling of rightness about it.
Of course, like a lot of things, you need to be a programmer
to appreciate it.
> If a mathematical function or figure evokes such an effect
> from the reader, it's just his problem!

Music = mathematics in so far as i) every musical sound except
white noise fits more or less into a mathematical function and
ii) music is built up from patterns, mathematical patterns,
overlayed and interweaved with one another.
K.

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