The Physics of Music

The Physics of Music

The Physics of Music


February 18, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm


Georgia Institute of Technology, Ferst Center for the Arts



University of North Carolina, Ashville

"This event is free and open to the public."

The Physics of Music, by Michael Ruiz, University of North Carolina, Ashville.

We will first use a musical ear-training exercise in conjunction with Lissajous figures to establish the simplest ratios for the frequencies of the major scale. We will call this scale the musician’s scale. Then we will proceed to use strings and pipes to arrive at the harmonic series, which we will call the physicist’s scale.

We will show how the I, V, and IV harmonies pervasive in Western music emerge naturally from our analyses. We will give examples in classical music and jazz, including live piano performance.