From Music to Mathematics

The rhythmic structures and beats of all varieties of music have their roots in math concepts, but they aren’t often examined side by side. Gareth Roberts, professor of mathematics, does just that in his new textbook, From Music to Mathematics: Exploring the Connections.

The book covers music theory, including notation, scales, intervals and tonality, alongside the related math concepts. Using musical examples from jazz and popular music, Roberts presents math topics ranging from calculating with fractions and manipulating trigonometric formulas to constructing group multiplication tables and proving a number is irrational.

The interdisciplinary textbook, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, is designed for the curious, and doesn’t require specialized knowledge of either music or math.  ■

—Maura Sullivan Hill