Exploring Connection Between Science, Music
Tehran (ISNA) – According to music activists, there is a deep connection between science and music, which leads not only to the aesthetic aspects of music, but also brings unique achievements for musicians.
In an interview with ISNA, Bijan Norouz, a musician and the CEO of an active startup company which is active in the field of astronomical and scientific music said, “Some people believe that music and science are poles apart, and some other think they are peas in a pod. However according some activist such as Ant Law, Caroline Scott, Oli Hayhurst, and Tom Green, there is a deep and mysterious connection between music and science”.
He continued, “But there is something to be learned by comparing them. Both disciplines are full of patterns but, for me, there are also other, more unexpected connections to be made”.
Music as Mathematics?
Bijan Norouz referred to the theory of “Music analysis and the use of musical patterns”. As he mentioned, the theory deals with the intervals between notes, the rhythmic order they appear in, and so on. For example, C to G is a ‘perfect fifth’ interval – think of the first two notes of the Star Wars film theme. Combining C, E and G gives us the settled, stable harmony of a C major chord. Using music theory, we can steer towards a musical aim, rather than picking notes at random until something sounds good.
He added, “Some people, especially composers and arrangers, have a massive, organized and explicit knowledge of theory. Others understand it more implicitly, building up over years an internal link between what they hear and what they do on their instrument. Most do a bit of both”.
As an activist in the field of scientific music, he mentioned, “The theory isn’t precisely scientific, but can feel quite mathematical – counting an unusual rhythm, deducing the harmonic role of a certain note in a chord, and so on”.
It’s not all about patterns
Bijan Norouz reminded, “Perhaps this is why some people think the music-science connection is natural. Scientists tend to be good at analyzing patterns and at least comfortable with mathematics; and music is just patterns and mathematics, right? Wrong. In fact, to focus on this narrow similarity is to misunderstand not just music, but science too”.
“It’s easy to point out that music needs emotion, creativity, and intuition – not just an analytical knowledge of its various rules. And applying music theory in practice requires instinct, habit, and luck,” he said.
“No new idea gets off the ground without an initial spark of inspiration. Finding that spark is often the hardest bit. The rest might flow remarkably freely: doing the calculations, collecting the data, like a composer fleshing out the accompaniment for a melody which only came to them, seemingly at random, after days of deadlock,” he continued.
There’s beauty in both
Referring to the connection between Physics and music, Bijan Norouz mentioned, “In both, there’s a strange dichotomy. The core of the work – the practice, the preparation, the experiments, the weeks of calculation and pondering – is private. That’s true even in collaborative research, even if you play in bands rather than solo. It can be isolating; it can foster self-doubt”.
In both science and music, as he mentioned, this public/private duality is stark and can be difficult to deal with. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that both fields are turning focused attention to mental health. And in both there is the shared joy of things coming to fruition, of pieces slotting into place aesthetically.
He added, “Perhaps some analytical and pattern-decoding aspects of science and music appeal to similar people. But the connections are far deeper and more complex than that”.