Los Angeles Math Circle

1/27/2019 -- High School I: Mathematics of musical scales (Olga Radko


In this power-point presentation, we will address the following questions: Why do some musical intervals sound pleasant, while others do not? Why do we have exactly 12 notes in an octave of a piano? Why aren't distances between frets on a flute or a guitar equal to each other? The answers, surprisingly, involve deep mathematical analysis involving continued fractions, the problem of doubling the cube, and rational approximations.