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Music: A Mathematical Offering
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  • Title Music: A Mathematical Offering
  • Author(s) David J. Benson
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 11, 2006); eBook (Online Version, December 14, 2008)
  • Permission: "Cambridge University Press (the publisher) have granted me permission to keep an updated version of the book online in its entirety, even after publication, so the pdf file will continue to be available on this site, and will continue to be updated periodically."
  • Paperback 423 pages
  • eBook PDF (531 pages, 9.7 MB)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521619998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262514293
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Book Description

This book provides a wealth of information for the teacher, the student, or the interested amateur to understand, at varying levels of technicality, the interplay between two ancient disciplines. A must-have book if you want to know about the music of the spheres or digital music and much in between.

Since the time of the Ancient Greeks, much has been written about the relation between mathematics and music: from harmony and number theory, to musical patterns and group theory. Benson provides a wealth of information here to enable the teacher, the student, or the interested amateur to understand, at varying levels of technicality, the real interplay between these two ancient disciplines.

The story is long as well as broad and involves physics, biology, psycho acoustics, the history of science, and digital technology as well as, of course, mathematics and music.

Starting with the structure of the human ear and its relationship with Fourier Analysis, the story proceeds via the mathematics of musical instruments to the ideas of consonance and dissonance, and then to scales and temperaments. This is a must-have book if you want to know about the music of the spheres or digital music and many things in between.

No online version will ever be identical to the published version; each has material not contained in the other. For example, the online version keeps and continues to update material of a more ephemeral nature such as links to online resources, and some extensive tables not suitable for a published book.

About the Authors
  • David J. Benson is a 6th Century Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen.
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