Music’s New Frontier Pt2

by Helmut Eder

Music’s new frontier is a combining of physics, music, and mathematics. Pre-eminent mathematician Leonhard Euler published a work in 1739 that described a tonnetz, or tone-network. This was a new development because it placed music in a more formalized mathematical framework. In 1866, Arthur von Oettingen and Bernhard Riemann added and expanded on Euler’s original ideas. David Lewin jump-started the new music frontier when he began writing articles in the 1960s. Two of Lewin’s major works are Generalized Musical Intervals and Transformations (1987) and Musical Form and Transformation: Four Analytic Essays (1993). Following in Lewin’s footsteps was Richard Cohn. Cohn began writing articles in the 1980s and continues to be active. Just in 2007, the Society for Mathematics and Computation in Music was founded. You may, or may not have heard, but there are more scientists alive today, than there were the sum total of scientists that have ever lived on the planet. Knowledge, learning, and discovery is exploding exponentially.

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