Music: a Mathematical Offering

A good friend of mine recently sent me a link to “Music: a Mathematical Offering” by Dave Benson. I’ve only briefly skimmed the text. However, I can already assure you this free online book is full of useful information. It does veer into the technical, as it is packed with equations that may seem a bit alien to some. Don’t let this dissuade you, as there is plenty of knowledge for people of all backgrounds.

The PDF is 524 pages long, making printing a not-so-viable option. For those who wish to read a hard copy, you can purchase the book from Amazon.

Here is a list of chapters in the online version:

1. Waves and harmonics
2. Fourier theory
3. A mathematician’s guide to the orchestra
4. Consonance and dissonance
5. Scales and temperaments: the fivefold way
6. More scales and temperaments
7. Digital music
8. Synthesis
9. Symmetry in music

I would also like to point out that my synthesizer of choice, Csound, is covered.