Segments in this Video

Music History (02:36)


Dan Rockmore notes that ancient Greeks believed the best music was mathematically based. Waves are the connection between math and music.

Vibrating Molecules (03:47)

Sinusoids are determined by amplitude and frequency. Learn about the different sounds strings make.

Heat Equation (02:39)

In the 18th Century, Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier discovers the combination and separation of waves. Math and music is changed forever. Learn about his wave formation discovery.

Infinite Numbers (04:29)

Rockmore interviews mathematics professor Liz Stanhope to learn about Fourier analysis. Stanhope explains how two waves can be added together.

Fourier Analysis in Action (04:36)

Check out Moog Music, where synthesizers are built. Listen to design engineer, Cyril Lance describe the use of square waves in electronic music.

Spectral Analysis (04:56)

Back in the studio, Rockmore and Stanhope continue to discuss Fourier analysis. They discuss the harmonics of a violin.

Song of the Universe (03:02)

In the mid-1960s, Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias discover that no matter where in the sky a radio antenna is pointed, the same, steady microwave signal is received. It is concluded that this static sound is the spectral remnants of the big bang.

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Harmonious Math: Mathematics Illuminated

Part of the Series : Mathematics Illuminated
3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



The mathematical technique for understanding sound and other wave phenomena is called Fourier analysis, which allows the disentangling of a complex wave into basic waves called sinusoids, or sine waves. In this unit we discover how Fourier analysis is used in creating electronic music and underpins all digital technology.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL110271

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

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