Amber Run: Pop Done Right

Let me tell you about a band you probably haven't heard of. Amber Run is an indie pop/rock band from Nottingham. I accidentally discovered them a little over a year ago on some random Google Play station (yes, I might have said, "OK Google, play good music" just to see what would happen). Amber Run's… Continue reading Amber Run: Pop Done Right

The Stack of Pitch Class Sets

I know it's been a while since I've talked about either of these topics, but I've always been meaning to point something funny out. I thought I might formally work it out and write it up to submit to a music theory journal, but no one would probably accept it anyway. So I'll sketch the… Continue reading The Stack of Pitch Class Sets

Mathematical Music Theory 4: Intro to Post-Tonal Methods

All right. Let's skip from first week of first year of music theory to something that probably won't come up until a music theory elective in your third year (yes, we're skipping two full years of theory here). What I'm going to describe is usually encountered in a class on "Post-tonal theory." This can be… Continue reading Mathematical Music Theory 4: Intro to Post-Tonal Methods

Mathematical Music Theory 3: Combination Tones

Today we'll cover one of the most dangerously overlooked consequences of what we've been talking about. I say it is overlooked because most people can probably get a degree in music composition without this ever once being mentioned. It should be obvious by the end of the post why it is dangerous for anyone writing… Continue reading Mathematical Music Theory 3: Combination Tones

Mathematical Music Theory 2: Derivation of the Western Scale System

It is extremely important that you believe that the overtone series is inherent to music in a natural way before proceeding, because now what I want to do is make an argument that the reason the 12 note chromatic scale that is so fundamental to Western art music and sounds like the "natural" way to… Continue reading Mathematical Music Theory 2: Derivation of the Western Scale System

Mathematical Music Theory 1: The Overtone Series

Since I'm coming up dry on actual math, I thought I'd give a few lessons on music theory from a mathematical viewpoint. The overarching argument I'm going to try to make is that students of music (and of music composition in particular) need to know some math and physics. I think for the most part… Continue reading Mathematical Music Theory 1: The Overtone Series