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295
votes
20answers
53k views

Mathematical difference between white and black notes in a piano

The division of the chromatic scale in 7 natural notes (white keys in a piano) and 5 accidental ones (black) seems a bit arbitrary to me. Apparently, adjacent notes in a piano (including white or ...
19
votes
9answers
1k views

Mathematics and Music

I have heard that, in recent years, many mathematicians as well as music theorists have applied different branches of mathematics to music. I would like to know about some books/resources relating to ...
6
votes
2answers
803 views

How do you determine the closest whole number ratio for a given real number?

I've been messing around with formulas for musical notes (trying not to read anything that would help me unless I get stuck) and currently I'm at a point where I'm trying to get a function that ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

Math and Music theory books

Are there any good books on musical theory from a mathematical standpoint? Is "Music theory and mathematics : chords, collections, and transformations", edited by Jack Douthett, Martha M. Hyde, and ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

What is Octave Equivalence?

This is an updated copy of a question I asked on Physics Stack Exchange not too long ago. Since I work primarily in mathematics, I thought it would be a good idea to ask it here as well (especially ...