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Pythagoras: Music and Space

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Author:J. Boyd-Brent
Description: A brief introduction to Pythagoras' observations on the relation between music and number. Graphics show music intervals expressed as mathematical ratios. Pythagoras observed that when the blacksmith struck his anvil, different notes were produced according to the weight of the hammer. Number (in this case "amount of weight") seemed to govern musical tone... Further, he observed that if you take two strings in the same degree of tension, and then divide one of them exactly in half, when they are plucked the pitch of the shorter string is exactly one octave higher than the longer... You can pluck the strings yourself from this Web page and explore pitch. To have established the relation between music and space/number fired the imagination of the Pythagorians and was taken up especially by the School of Plato and the subsequent Neo-Platonists.

Levels: Elementary, Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Languages: English
Resource Types: Audio, Lesson Plans and Activities
Math Topics: Number Sense/About Numbers, Patterns/Relationships, History and Biography, Music
Math Ed Topics: Interdisciplinary/Thematic Studies

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