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Singapore Math

Friday, April 2, 2010


Here are some random thoughts between mathematics and music―indeed, there are more parallelisms than thinks the brain! 

Bestsellers for publishers are: 

Music for your unborn baby! 
Problem solving for your unborn child! 

Are these mere fads? The Mozart effect and the 'Aha!' feeling 

The centuries-old debate: Why are there more mathematicians who are musicians than musicians who are mathematicians? The ratio is probably a million to one!

The-music-of-the-spheres doctrine prompted astronomers, physicists, and mathematicians to study (read) mathematics to better understand the workings of the universe.
Pythagoras' discovery that the musical notes can be expressed in integral (integers) ratios prompted him to start hypothesizing that "Everything is number!" 

Music is soothing to the ear, mind, and soul; mathematics is like a balm to the mind's eye. In this sense, music can reach out to a larger audience than math, but mathematics seems more selective in revealing its charm and beauty to mankind.

Mathematics often acts as a filter to separate the nerd from the herd; music provides a platform to bring people from different socioeconomic backgrounds together. Music unifies people, mathematics alienates them.

You don't need to know the mechanics of musical notes to appreciate music; you don't need to know abstract mathematics to appreciate the beauty and power of a mathematical theorem (or result).

The mathematics of music (technical, boring, ...) and the music of mathematics (poetic, elegant, certain, ...)

The Mozart effect and the visuospatial skills: is it just a marketing fad to tap on the fear and greed of consumers or parents? There is no concrete correlation or proof that listening to music helps one improve one's visualization skills in the long term.

Let's appreciate music for music's sake, and let's enjoy mathematics for mathematics' sake!

Mathematics is like music to our sixth sense; music is like mathematics to our spiritual sense.

Reading and doing mathematics is Greek to the lay person; speaking and singing in tongues sounds alien to the unbeliever.

God is a Great Mathematician; God ever Geometrizes! The most beautiful theorems are in His Great Book! 

God is the Perfect Musician. The psalmist sings and praises to the Lord! Music soothes the soul or spirit———―King Saul listening to David playing the flute! 

Let those who have ears hear and listen; let those who can think quantify and enumerate!

Let the angels sing! Let the angles cross!

© Yan Kow Cheong, April 1, 2010