Can You Play a Simple Song?

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Rasputin
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rasputin » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:46 am

Liebniz said that music was unconscious calculation - I shouldn't think he was the first to make the link and he certainly wasn't the last, but I think the word 'unconscious' is important. Catching a ball involves a lot of very complex calculations, but being good at it is not the same as being good at maths. I think the difference lies in the fact that in the case of catching a ball, we are oblivious to the process, whereas when we do maths, we are conscious of at least some of it. You can't really observe yourself doing a sum - you just send the instruction and then receive the answer - but you are at least conscious of the reasoning that requires the sum to be done, and how the result relates to whatever it is you are trying to work out. All of that is done behind the scenes in catching, and also in music.

I believe there is a correlation between mathematical ability and musical ability, but that doesn't mean that if you're not good at maths then you can't be good at music. I think the link is often made far too simplistically and leads to wrong-headed ideas about rhythm (e.g. more like a metronome = more rhythmical) and various other things (e.g. all intervals are understood by reference to the harmonic series). Ironically, if theorists were better at maths, this kind of thing might not happen.

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:32 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:46 am
Liebniz said that music was unconscious calculation - I shouldn't think he was the first to make the link and he certainly wasn't the last, but I think the word 'unconscious' is important. Catching a ball involves a lot of very complex calculations, but being good at it is not the same as being good at maths. I think the difference lies in the fact that in the case of catching a ball, we are oblivious to the process, whereas when we do maths, we are conscious of at least some of it. You can't really observe yourself doing a sum - you just send the instruction and then receive the answer - but you are at least conscious of the reasoning that requires the sum to be done, and how the result relates to whatever it is you are trying to work out. All of that is done behind the scenes in catching, and also in music.

I believe there is a correlation between mathematical ability and musical ability, but that doesn't mean that if you're not good at maths then you can't be good at music. I think the link is often made far too simplistically and leads to wrong-headed ideas about rhythm (e.g. more like a metronome = more rhythmical) and various other things (e.g. all intervals are understood by reference to the harmonic series). Ironically, if theorists were better at maths, this kind of thing might not happen.
Math and music? yes it could be correlation...but it is not compatible.
Math is cold emotionally dead calculation. Numbers. Abstract stuff.
Music is a Passion, Emotions, Love, Hate, Hope, despair...
Yes sure - one could calculate love.
One probably could show to you calculated love and passion . It could work... for a while ...
One probably could follow all instructions and calculate "Passion" and "Love" and "Despair" in music and perform it.
But somehow this perfect mathematically calculated stuff could be heard through the sounds of Music ...
Or.. do we think that we could be completely calculated in every our movement and feeling and moment?
Well, then what is our difference with machines?
And we are just machines, why can't we be completely replaced by more perfect machines? :D
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

kmurdick
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by kmurdick » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:12 pm

Explain to me why math is cold, dead calculation. Actually the study and practice of mathematics has little to do with calculation.

Rasputin
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rasputin » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:33 pm

AndreiKrylov wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:32 pm
...Math and music? yes it could be correlation...but it is not compatible.
Math is cold emotionally dead calculation. Numbers. Abstract stuff.
The experience of doing maths is cold and for most people emotionless - but maths itself is a language for describing complex phenomena in a very elegant way. To say that music has a mathematical basis is not to say that it is emotionally dead at all, nor is it to reduce the scope for creativity - it is only to suggest that the creative space available in music is a multi-dimensional space formed by the interaction of many principles which, considered individually, are simple. That is very much how I see it.
Music is a Passion, Emotions, Love, Hate, Hope, despair...
Yes sure - one could calculate love.
Yes, love is a rational survival and reproduction strategy and in that sense it can be calculated, but consciously pursuing someone out of a desire to propagate your genes is not love. What makes it love is the fact that we are at one remove from the calculation - we can't help it, the feelings just well up inside us and the cold evolutionary logic that lies behind them does not make them any less real. In the same way, the fact that we are at one remove from the musical calculation is part of what makes the experience of music worthwhile - otherwise there would be no more passion involved than there is in doing sums. Just as we don't need to deny that there is an evolutionary logic behind love in order to claim that we are in love, we don't need to deny that there is a mathematical basis for music in order to claim that it moves us.
Well, then what is our difference with machines?
Only that current machines do not experience emotion. Even so, we are just biological machines - if you had the technology to replicate a human being atom by atom it really would be a human being, even though man-made... and it can't make any difference whether a machine is made of carbon or silicon.
And we are just machines, why can't we be completely replaced by more perfect machines?
We can be... in fact that's how evolution works, except that perfect just means better suited to a particular environment. We replaced our evolutionary ancestors precisely because we were better adapted to the environment we found ourselves in. I am not particularly bothered by the idea that there could be a being better at surviving and reproducing in our environment than humans are (in fact it seems obvious that there could be) or by the idea that there could be a being superior to humans in a more general sense. We can only be who and what we are - there is no shame in the fact that we are not perfect.
Last edited by Rasputin on Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Rasputin
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Rasputin » Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:34 pm

kmurdick wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:12 pm
Explain to me why math is cold, dead calculation. Actually the study and practice of mathematics has little to do with calculation.
People who dislike maths always seem to equate it with arithmetic, which is a great shame...

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Thu Dec 28, 2017 4:05 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:33 pm
AndreiKrylov wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:32 pm
...Math and music? yes it could be correlation...but it is not compatible.
Math is cold emotionally dead calculation. Numbers. Abstract stuff.
The experience of doing maths is cold and for most people emotionless - but maths itself is a language for describing complex phenomena in a very elegant way. To say that music has a mathematical basis is not to say that it is emotionally dead at all, nor is it to reduce the scope for creativity - it is only to suggest that the creative space available in music is a multi-dimensional space formed by the interaction of many principles which, considered individually, are simple. That is very much how I see it.
Music is a Passion, Emotions, Love, Hate, Hope, despair...
Yes sure - one could calculate love.
Yes, love is a rational survival and reproduction strategy and in that sense it can be calculated, but consciously pursuing someone out of a desire to propagate your genes is not love. What makes it love is the fact that we are at one remove from the calculation - we can't help it, the feelings just well up inside us and the cold evolutionary logic that lies behind them does not make them any less real. In the same way, the fact that we are at one remove from the musical calculation is part of what makes the experience of music worthwhile - otherwise there would be no more passion involved than there is in doing sums. Just as we don't need to deny that there is an evolutionary logic behind love in order to claim that we are in love, we don't need to deny that there is a mathematical basis for music in order to claim that it moves us.
Well, then what is our difference with machines?
Only that current machines do not experience emotion. Even so, we are just biological machines - if you had the technology to replicate a human being atom by atom it really would be a human being, even though man-made... and it can't make any difference whether a machine is made of carbon or silicon.
And we are just machines, why can't we be completely replaced by more perfect machines?
We can be... in fact that's how evolution works, except that perfect just means better suited to a particular environment. We replaced our evolutionary ancestors precisely because we were better adapted to the environment we found ourselves in. I am not particularly bothered by the idea that there could be a being better at surviving and reproducing in our environment than humans are (in fact it seems obvious that there could be) or by the idea that there could be a being superior to humans in a more general sense. We can only be who and what we are - there is no shame in the fact that we are not perfect.
So ..love is? "love is a rational survival and reproduction strategy...evolutionary logic"?
Both artists with profound ideas, deeply touching other s are and their listeners are just "biological machines"?
well... ok ... I remember some very rational explanation why one tribe of humans are superior than others... and another explanation why "better" machines in a sense of real health both physical and mental, should destroy and prevent from reproduction other "machines", sick or crippled or with "wrong orientation", or else...?
nowadays we do not mind to create future "creatures" or simply machines who will "survive and reproduce better"?
Well bedbugs and cockroaches survive and reproduce much better than us.... I wonder if it is maybe possible to put intelligence and different kind of brains in them? Who know...maybe... they will create more interesting music too? :)
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

PeteJ
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by PeteJ » Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:37 pm

There's no doubt that musical and mathematical abilities tend to be correlated and I've even heard teachers suggesting that children should study music to make them better at maths. As has been said, maths is not arithmetic. The foundations of maths overlaps with metaphysics and religion and requires no arithmetic. I'd say that nobody is likely to be better equipped to understand how the prime numbers are generated than a musician. A lot of maths is tedious but then so is a lot of music. Logic and maths are not the enemies of love, art and creativity but their compliment. It's how one uses them that counts.

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:37 pm

PeteJ wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:37 pm
There's no doubt that musical and mathematical abilities tend to be correlated and I've even heard teachers suggesting that children should study music to make them better at maths. As has been said, maths is not arithmetic. The foundations of maths overlaps with metaphysics and religion and requires no arithmetic. I'd say that nobody is likely to be better equipped to understand how the prime numbers are generated than a musician. A lot of maths is tedious but then so is a lot of music. Logic and maths are not the enemies of love, art and creativity but their compliment. It's how one uses them that counts.
funny thing...I am so out of this picture... I was always bad in math... and bad in "studying music" too...and very average or almost bad marks pupil in school in general
I left music school when I was a child because the way I've been taught there was so boring and meaningless for me...(but I came back later because I need it for my job...)
I do not see math as"enemy" of love :) but I do not see any correlation between good study of math and creative musical abilities whatsoever... even opposite.. what do I see from my own life experience is that my schoolmates who had good marks in school in general and in math in particular, spent their lives on different jobs which are not related to music or art at all, and ... seems that only one (me) of very average if not the bad pupils became a musician and compose music and poems all my life... isn't it a nonsense? :)
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

JohnB
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by JohnB » Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:12 pm

When I was at university (more decades ago than I care to remember) it was noticeable how the Maths Dept had a disproportionately high number of talented amateur (classical) musicians.
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso"

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:32 pm

"Demonstrating a connection of this kind is not as easy as one might think. To begin with, there are plenty of innumerate musicians and tone-deaf mathematicians, so the best one could hope to demonstrate would be a significant positive correlation between aptitudes at the two disciplines. And then one would face all the usual challenges of establishing a statistical connection. "
"Of course, abstract structures are not confined to mathematics and music. If you are learning a foreign language then you need to understand its grammar and syntax, which are prime examples of abstract structures. And yet we don't hear people asking about a mysterious connection between mathematical ability and linguistic ability. My guess is that that is because the connection exists but not the mystery: grammar feels mathematical, so it would hardly be a surprise to learn that mathematicians are better than average at learning grammar. Music, by contrast, is strongly tied up with one's emotions and can be enjoyed even by people who know very little about it. As such, it seems very different from mathematics, so any connection between the two is appealingly paradoxical."
"There are a lot of aspects of music that can be expressed mathematically, but musicians do not sit through a piece of music calculating its mathematical nuances or interval frequencies, Slevc said. Though a performer may understand intervals and time measurements in music, it does not mean he or she is automatically good at math"
https://www.livescience.com/51370-does- ... kills.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-enter ... 07387.html
https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... -and-math/
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

chiral3
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by chiral3 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:24 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:34 pm
kmurdick wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:12 pm
Explain to me why math is cold, dead calculation. Actually the study and practice of mathematics has little to do with calculation.
People who dislike maths always seem to equate it with arithmetic, which is a great shame...
You both have nailed it. As someone who has been trained as a mathematical physicist I always cringe at the disservice education does to math, which usually gets conflated with, as you say, arithmetic, which was necessary for basic jobs and war efforts at one time. There was a nice remembrance of Maryam Mirzakhani in this weekend's paper. Being from Iran, she was the first woman to win the Fields and, sadly, passed away at the young age of 40 after battling cancer. She called herself a "slow" mathematician. I know quite a few people that identify as "slow". She would spend hours and days doodling to understand the beauty of the spaces that she studied. My kids were exposed to topological concepts like genus, orientability, diffeomorphism, homomorphism, and curvature at the ages of 5 or 6. They slowly doodle with little things that we've built. They try to answer simple questions like "If an ant returns to where it begins if it walks in any direction, how does it know if it's on a sphere or a donut?" These little things are all the germs of serious math, which is hauntingly and startlingly beautiful if you look hard enough.
物の哀れ

chiral3
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by chiral3 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:31 pm

JohnB wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:12 pm
When I was at university (more decades ago than I care to remember) it was noticeable how the Maths Dept had a disproportionately high number of talented amateur (classical) musicians.
Very common! I know more than a few jazz and folk bands out of MITs math and engineering dept. Noam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Elkies) used to run colloquia on math and music. He would build variations in the class... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CEKPazA_bk
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Dirck Nagy
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:45 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:33 pm
...
if you had the technology to replicate a human being atom by atom it really would be a human being, even though man-made
...
This is not what a human being IS; this is only what one is MADE OF.
Rasputin wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:33 pm
...
and it can't make any difference whether a machine is made of carbon or silicon.
...
Whaaaat....How do you figure that?!?
Rasputin wrote:
Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:33 pm
...
Only that current machines do not experience emotion. Even so, we are just biological machines -
...
You are ignoring a pesky little detail called "consciousness".
2015 John H. Dick
1994 Larry Breslin ("Deerhead")
1952 Vincente Tatay

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by AndreiKrylov » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:59 pm

what about computers?
aren't "they" better in mathematics than humans? what about AI ? isn't it better in mathematics than humans already?
Therefore the "best" musicians are computers? And the best "creators" of music are computers too? since they are best in mathematics? isn't it possible to put all rules of harmony all different musical and harmonic theories in computers to create music?
Math is Great!
Music is Great!
but... Music is not Math....
and math is not music...
I'd better speak by music...Please listen my guitar at Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

Dirck Nagy
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Re: Can You Play a Simple Song?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:57 pm

chiral3 wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:31 pm
JohnB wrote:
Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:12 pm
When I was at university (more decades ago than I care to remember) it was noticeable how the Maths Dept had a disproportionately high number of talented amateur (classical) musicians.
Very common! I know more than a few jazz and folk bands out of MITs math and engineering dept. Noam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noam_Elkies) used to run colloquia on math and music. He would build variations in the class... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CEKPazA_bk
Pardon me for repeating this parable from a previous post of mine:
Dirck Nagy wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:26 am
Many years ago, I knew a guy who was studying Applied Math at the university. He also played the piano a bit and was interested in composition, so he took some Music Theory courses in his spare time. He didn't do very well in the classes. He was very surprised by this. I overheard him complaining to a friend: "How can they give me a "C"...I'm a Math major!"
2015 John H. Dick
1994 Larry Breslin ("Deerhead")
1952 Vincente Tatay

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