Throughout the pursuit of this project, we have come across multiple examples of how art has been intertwined with other areas of study such as biology, mathematics, and the healthcare system. Below you will find descriptions of these topics in addition to other studies that focus on interdisciplinary projects involving music.
Geometry of Music
Dmitri Tymoczko at Princeton University has represented musical chords in graphic form using orbifolds. He argues that all musical chords occupy space within an orbifold and though different styles of Western music may localize to different areas of the orbifold, all musical chords exist within the orbifold space. Two-note chords were mapped to a Möbius strip and three-note chords to a prism-like space. By creating a graphical representation of Western chords, underlying principles of musical progressions can be discovered.
Science 7 July 2006 313: 72-74 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1126287] (in Reports)
TIME Magazine: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1582330,00.html
Riemann's hypothesis relates the graph of harmonic waves produced by musical instruments to that of a prime number staircase. His goal was to predict the pattern of prime numbers and this challenge has yet to be solved.
The music of the primes: http://www.musicoftheprimes.com/
Marcus du Sautoy. Music of the Primes: Searching to Solve the Greatest Mystery in Mathematics. Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY. 2003.
Musica universalis or Music of the Spheres is an ancient concept that describes the proportional movement of the sun, moon, and other planets. Pythagoras is often credited with the original idea of musica universalis. The relationships of the celestial bodies were based on whole-number ratios that appeared in pure musical intervals.
Pythagoras Musica Universalis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musica_universalis
Education & Music
Victor Wong was a blind graduate student at Cornell studying the patterns of space weather mapping. In order to explore the electron density variations across a map, he initially used the help of other colleagues to read aloud the color patterns of the weather map. Through a collaboration with engineers, Wong was able to create a stylus that scanned across the maps while playing unique musical notes that represented various colors. The stylus enabled him to independently study weather maps by llistening to musical patterns.
Japanese scientists at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe have integrated scientific concepts into the popular Pokémon card game with the goal of interesting children. The card game also aims to reflect scientists in a positve light.
Nature435, 726 (9 June 2005) | doi:10.1038/435726a; Published online 8 June 2005
iIn an effort to best communicate the significance of gene regulation and the completion of the Human Genome Project, the National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast an auditory excavation through the human cell using the sounds of animals and humans. The project included a variety of captivating sounds such as that of a child slurping on a drink to indicate the sounds of enzymes and mRNA movement.
Carol Miner and Paula Della Villa have designed a project geared for high school students that combines science and music. The students are directed to reverse translate a specific protein into musical notes based on the DNA nucleotide. Each nucleotide represents a particular note.
The BioMusic Program of National Musical Arts (NWA) is a collaborative group of scientists and musicians whose aim is to explore the role of music in all species.
Various groups have used music as an adjunctive therapy in healthcare settings to reduce anxiety and improve the moods of patients. The Toddler Rock program uses music to help underprivileged children develop positive self-images and healthy relationships wtih their parents. Music is also used to help trigger creative thinking and encourage social and academic skill development. Other examples include Rock Against Cancer, a program that helps young patients organize their questions and concerns about their disease through musical compositions. The compositions help patients get their questions answered as well as vocalize their feelings through a unique and creative piece. Debbie Benkovitz, a music therapist, makes her rounds through a Children's Hospital as she plays music that is tailored for each patient she meets. She uses music to help children calm down or to heighten their mood.
Toddler Rock Program: http://www.musicasmedicine.com/outreach/toddlerrock.cfm
Toddler Rock Program: http://www.sunnews.com/news/2006/part1/0216/WTODDLER.htm
Rock Against Cancer: http://www.newsobserver.com/102/story/397361.html
Otherstudies involving music therapy in hospitals have been conducted and documented.
Music intervention study: http://www.joannabriggs.edu.au/pdf/BPISmusic.pdf
Music intervention study: http://www.joannabriggs.edu.au/pdf/EXmusic.pdf
Brain & Music
Synesthesia refers to a neurological condition in which there is a union of two or more physical senses. Commonly, a person will associate unique colors with specific letters. There are also cases of strong associations between color and pitch or less frequently taste and pitch. Multiple groups have investigated this phenomenon to better understand cross-modal associations in the brain. There is speculation that well-known artists and scientists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Alexander Scriabin, and Richard Feynman were synesthetes. Daniel Tammet has a rare form of synesthesia known as Savant syndrome. Not only can he visualize prime numbers as smooth and round, but he also has the ability to become fluent in difficult languages, such as Icelandic, in a matter of days. All numbers have a specific shape, color, and sometimes tone.
Ione A, Tyler C: Neuroscience, history and the arts. Synesthesia: is F-sharp colored violet? J Hist Neurosci 2004, 13(1):58-65.
Hubbard T: Synesthesia-like mappings of lightness, pitch, and melodic interval. Am J Psychol 1996, 109(2):219-238.
Daniel Tammet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Tammet
James Morgan. Revealing the Secret of Genius. The Herald. August 8, 2006.
Daniel Tammet. Born on a Blue Day. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN: 978-0340899755
the Brain, Music, and Sound Research (BRAMS) laboratory was created in 2005 by University of Montreal neuropsychologist Isabelle Peretz and McGill University brain imaging specialist Robert Zatorre. The project seeks to understand the relationship between music and language in addition to how humans learn to perform by themselves and in groups. The new laboratory is located on the University of Montreal campus and include sound booths, a brain imaging lab, performance lab with fully-equipped Bösendorfer piano and a new concert hall that enables researchers to monitor emotional reactions of the audience during live performances.