Scientists refute Pythagoras' view on music after 2,500 years

So it wasn’t that Pythagoras was wrong, as he was only basing his views on the instruments he had access to. It’s the western world trying to apply his theories to all musical instruments and styles, since the world opened up and we discovered the world was not just Europe.


I don’t really see that this is a big deal.

“The researchers were surprised to find a significant preference for slight imperfection, or ‘inharmonicity.’…”

Just means that I’m not the only one that prefers live music with all its little imperfections to “perfect” recordings that are the result of multiple takes and software tweaking (and don’t get me started on autotune)


To be fair, I think Euclid has to take the blame for that one.
However this is why mathematicians have the greatest chance of immortality. Long after Hendrix is forgotten and the guitar, when Einstein has been shown to be a complete crackpot then kids will still be taught Pythagoras’ theorem it will always be correct and important.

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Couldn’t have put it better Ian.

How many people would flock to stadiums or festivals to listen to a recording?

Here’s hoping our kids will be alive to appreciate this, and not have succumbed to the consequences of the crackpot’s beautiful equation E = mc² :exploding_head:
Maths is a useful (and beautiful) tool that physics uses to describe the laws of the universe we live in :smiley:

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I’m glad the physicists find it useful, it’s becoming much more difficult to find branches without applications these days!


Physics is everything and mathematics is its language

Quote by Miranda Cheng


This reminds me a bit of a radio segment I heard several years ago about a book called This is Your Brain on Music. In the segment, they talked about how we generally like predictability so that we can groove along with the tune, but we also appreciate little surprises thrown in to get our attention and keep our interest. One example they gave was Stevie Wonder’s drumming at the beginning of “Superstition;” for the most part, the pattern is the same, but he does occasionally change a beat here or there. They went on to describe how great composers have been doing similar things for centuries.

There’s a lot of great neuroscience of music being done today.

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Thanks for sharing Rogier, very interesting reading and…I’m very happy with that quote too :sweat_smile:

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