Music and Mathematics

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by Keshav Iyengar on Sunday, January 5, 2014

Arts, Media & Entertainment

Session type

Technical level


The basic objective is to make people aware of the striking relationship between mathematics and music.


Music was always treated as a liberal science along with subjects like geometry, astronomy and algebra. It doesnt take much to discover that music and mathematics share some very basic properties. Both are primarily (although not exclusively) dependent on a specialized system of notation within which they are first encoded by those who write them, and then decoded by those who read (and, in the case of music, perform) them. Their notations are both ancient and modern, rooted in many centuries of usage while at the same time incorporating fresh developments and newly-contrived systems to accommodate the changing patterns of mathematical and musical thought.

Throughout the history of mathematical science, mathematicians have felt the lure of music as a subject of scientific investigation. An intricate network of speculative and experimental ideas has resulted. Ideas such as that of musical tuning have always been subjects to review in the light of new theories. It is no secret that rhythm makes the world go round, and the laws of mathematics play a massive role in orchestrating that. It is my view that both musicians and mathematicians can benefit greatly from each others' work.

In this session, I'd like to talk about the relationship between music and mathematics and hopefully spark an interesting dicussion.


Speakers with an AUX cable.

Their ideas and an open mind!

Speaker bio

I'm a professional bass player, an amateur economist, an avid bibliophile and a full time dreamer. I hold a masters' degree in Economics. Travelling, reading and experiencing have given birth to all sorts of ideas in my head, and I'd like to share them with the world.

As a bass player, I've played extensively, across genres. A musical schizophrenic of sorts, I enjoy diverse forms of music. My projects include Brahma Naad, a progressive fusion outfit, Indicus, a fusion ensemble and Blend no. 3220, a blues band among others. Most recently, I was part of Ram Sampath's band for Coke Studio at MTV. I plan to study law in the near future.