Virtual Event: David Sulzer
Music, Math, and Mind:
The Physics and Neuroscience of Music
May 14, 2021
7:00 PM ET
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Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome DAVID SULZER—acclaimed composer and a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Pharmacology at Columbia University Medical Center—for a discussion of his book Music, Math, and Mind: The Physics and Neuroscience of Music.
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About Music, Math, and Mind
Why does a clarinet play at lower pitches than a flute? What does it mean for sounds to be in or out of tune? How are emotions carried by music? Do other animals perceive sound like we do? How might a musician use math to come up with new ideas?
This book offers a lively exploration of the mathematics, physics, and neuroscience that underlie music in a way that readers without scientific background can follow. David Sulzer, also known in the musical world as Dave Soldier, explains why the perception of music encompasses the physics of sound, the functions of the ear and deep-brain auditory pathways, and the physiology of emotion. He delves into topics such as the math by which musical scales, rhythms, tuning, and harmonies are derived, from the days of Pythagoras to technological manipulation of sound waves. Sulzer ranges from styles from around the world to canonical composers to hip-hop, the history of experimental music, and animal sound by songbirds, cetaceans, bats, and insects. He makes accessible a vast range of material, helping readers discover the universal principles behind the music they find meaningful.
Written for musicians and music lovers with any level of science and math proficiency, including none, Music, Math, and Mind demystifies how music works while testifying to its beauty and wonder.
Praise for Music, Math, and Mind
"If you ever suspected that musicians belonged to a secret society, this is the book that blows the mysteries wide open. Using a potent cocktail of math, physics, history, biology, and neurology, Dave Sulzer explains why music is the medicine most of us can’t live without. This is a book written for the initiate and the noninitiate about the universal way sound and music connect us, both human and nonhuman." —Peter Gabriel, singer-songwriter, musician, and activist
"Dave Soldier’s excellent book turns into an encyclopedia of our tonal imagination as it catalogues the nefarious passion that gives our creativity its edge." —John Cale, songwriter, composer, performer
"If you think you love music as much as you possibly could, think again. Music, which is so hard to define, and which connects to everything, has yet to reveal every level of its joy to you. This book will help you experience music as an animal, a neural pathway, or a mathematical principle." —Jaron Lanier, writer, computer scientist, and musician
The Harvard Science Book Talks series is a collaboration between the Harvard University Division of Science, the Harvard Library, and Harvard Book Store. The series features talks by the authors of recently published books on a variety of science-related topics and is open to both the Harvard community and to the general public. Typically, lectures are followed by a book signing with the author and refreshments. Learn more and watch recordings of past talks here.
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