Later this week, I’ll be heading to Baltimore for the annual Bridges Math+Art conference. I’ve written about Bridges before, but this is my first time attending. The conference has presentations on everything from great circles in mathematics and poetry (by Emily Grosholz, whose work I featured here in April) to Bob Bosch's optimization art to spherical geometry and VR headsets (by Vi Hart, Andrea Hawksley, and Henry Segerman, three of my favorite math makers).
I am especially excited to be going because I’m leading a workshop on math and music. If you will be attending Bridges, I hope you’ll join me Thursday July 30 at 2:00 for Hearing Math and Seeing Music: a Workshop on Pitch Perception and Temperament.
It’s one thing to know that you can’t tune a piano; it’s another to hear the Pythagorean comma you get when you generate a scale using only perfect fifths. In my workshop, we will use the free audio editing software Audacity to generate waves of various shapes and frequencies based on Pythagorean and other tuning systems. We will also explore the auditory “illusion” of the missing fundamental. The workshop will be flexible with several possible avenues of exploration, so participants can let their interests guide them.
If you do plan on coming, things will go slightly more smoothly if you bring a laptop with Audacity already downloaded on it and some headphones or earbuds to reduce the cacophony of a room full of people tinkering with sawtooth waves. Audacity is very user-friendly, so no prior experience using the program will be necessary. There will be some laptops available for those who don’t have their own, and sharing with friends is encouraged.
The full text of my proposal for Bridges is available here (pdf), and the Bridges program is here. Friday July 31 is Family Day, with free math events at the University of Baltimore all day. If you’re going and would like to meet up, please leave a comment here, email me, or send me a tweet. Or, you know, just come to the workshop on July 30 at 2 pm!