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 Post subject: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2001 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 270
Location: Wisconsin
This after the obvious boo-boo I just made...<P>What, if any, is the connection between mathematics and the fine arts? Apparently there have been several studies done regarding this - however, I can find nothing! I have always been told by my math teachers that being talented in music and the arts in general, I should be an excellent math student. Did I mention I don't know how to multiply nor divide?<P>Am I lacking in some mental capacity, or is this "research" bunk? Haven't found anything regarding it anywhere - please help!


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2001 3:46 pm 
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Posts: 1689
Location: USA
Bree, lol, you're not alone. I'm still trying to find the connection as it would relate to me personally.


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2001 3:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Bree- I am MARVELOUS at counting to 8 - and if I do have a bad day I count to 4 twice. <P>But, seriously I have heard of those studies too, - they just never studied "ME".


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2001 6:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
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Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
I'm equally adept at music and math. It just comes naturally to me, just as one and one make three. . . .

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Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
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http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2001 7:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Salzberg - LOL<P>Though inept at math- I realized my deficiences and therefore in typical feminine fashion decided to deal with it - I married an engineer........guess who balances the checkbook however?<P>MOI


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2001 9:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Well, there is math and then there is math. There are people who are naturally talented at deriving numbers in day to day situations (like figuring change for example), then there are those who have mental patience with math (like being able to do divisions and multiplications in their head), and then there are those who have the mental capacity to study and understand the significance of numbers. All these are not necessarily the same thing.<P>There are engineers who are good at calculating the pressure on the inside of a tire but can't seem to explain the formulas they use. There are scientists who can explain in detail the progression of a geometrical sequence but who can't balance a checkbook. There is at least one computer engineer I know who is uncomfortable with MS Windows. All these math related tasks require different talents and skills.<P>Here's a test that dancers can use on engineers. Take a sequence of beats/counts/ whatever and ask an engineer to repeat it. See if they can count to the music. I think you will find that the skill required to keep count is fairly unique.


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2001 6:32 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Then there are other tests:<P>Like - how many minutes are left until the washing machine is done and it's his (the resident engineer)turn to take out the wash and put it in the dryer?<P>And, how does the 60 minutes needed to dry the clothes compute on the clock by his desk - so he can take the clothes out of the dryer?<P>If the government wants the taxes done by April 15th, and the date is April 16th, why doesn't he compute that he is at -1?<P>If the sequence in the checkbook is check number 4344 - 4346 - is one check missing that he forgot to write in?<P>If two people are eating supper - then how many dinner plates, spoons, forks, etc, do you need?<P>If there are only three items in the refrigerator - why can't he ever see the one she asked him to find?<P>If the car holds 18 gallons, and he has used up 17 1/2 gallons, and he gives her the car and she had 50 miles to go, why doesn't he realize the car will stall out?<P>Over the years - just out of curiousity - she has asked him why he has problems with these computations. And, he has answered, over the years, that he never took these specific courses in school.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2001 7:40 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Well, even I - the resident math illiterate, see geometry in the ballet. In fact I often would take in pictures to my students - and together we would plot out the cirlces, triangles and other geometric shapes.


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2001 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Basheva you would have looooved my modern teacher who gave a different count for every exercise, especially sevens, nines, and twelves...


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2001 2:11 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Gus Solomons, Jr. has a dance called <I>Steps #13: Thirteens</I>, which is in 13/4 time. When the dancers complained, I pointed out that there was another piece on the program that was in 9/4 time. They replied, "But you can count that in 3 - threes."<P>For some reason they didn't appreciate my suggestion that they count "Thirteens" in 2 four-and-a-halfs.<p>[This message has been edited by salzberg (edited February 13, 2001).]

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Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
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http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2001 6:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 15
Location: birmingham, england
For the real keen, try reading Physics, Dance, and the Pas de Deux by Kenneth Laws and Cynthia Harvey. (Schirmer Books, 1994, ISBN 0-02-871326-5.) Newtonian mechanics applied to ballet technique. Not for every dancer, but very illuminating for anyone who comes to <BR>ballet with a technical or scientific background.


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2001 7:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Trog - I have a similar book by Kenneth Laws "The Physics of Dance" - and I enjoyed it very, very much - go figure.<P>Maggie - I am sure I would have loved your teacher - but would she have loved me????LOL


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2001 11:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Hi Susie and thanks for telling us about your Fibonacci based work. For those who might not have come aross it, the Fibonacci sequence is:<P>1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 etc.<P>ie the next number is the sum of the two previous ones. It crops up frequently in plants as well as the examples susie has given.<P>I once saw a Merce Cunningham piece where the number of dancers on stage grew in the sequence:<P>2, 3, 5 and 7 <P>and I realised that they were all prime numbers (only divisible by itself and 1). I don't know whether this was intentional, but it did give the work a distinctive feel, with the necessarily assymetric patterns that we saw after the duets. And it's not just because they are odd numbers (after 2). If you had 9 (not a prime number) dancers you could have 3 groups of 3. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2001 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 40
Location: New York, NY, USA
I understand that it has to do with brain laterality. Music and math are on the same side. I don't mean the ability to move to music or get the correct counts or even appreciate and be moved by music. I mean the ability to understand and process the technical aspects of music. The aspects necessary to become a professional musician. My father was a professional violinist, and he said that his best subject at school was maths. I, on the otherhand, while inheriting his love of music and musicality, have a great deal of difficulty with the technical aspects of it: I can read music only very slowly (even though I started taking piano lessons when I was 5). I joke that I'm musically "dyslexic". I'm also TERRIBLE at maths. I CRIED my way through physics - literally! The only math subject I was ever good at was geometry. But that's a bit different. Oh - and I'm good at logic: another part of the brain.<P>The Physics of Dance is an interesting book. I think it's in that one that he explains the tour jete en tournant, the "physics" of some lifts and, I think, why the most a ballet dancer can do is a double saut de basque while those iceskaters can do those triple and quadruple jumps. Interesting stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Mathematics and the Arts
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2001 4:26 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
A neurologist named Harold Klawans has written two fascinating layperson's books on neurology (<I>Newton's Madness</I> and <I>Toscanini's Fumble</I>).<P>The area of our brain that controls speech is in the dominant side of our brains (in other words, if you're right-handed, the speech area -- called "Broca's area" -- is in the left side of your brain). Klawans tells the story of a gifted musician who woke up one morning completely unable to make music -- she had suffered a small stroke in the exact same area in the <B>non</B>-dominant side of her brain.<P>There isn't enough research to state this conclusively, but it appears that language and music mirror each other in our brains. The philosophical possibilities of this are phenomenal. For one thing, it appears that the "speech" center actually controls all symbolic expression; people who have had strokes resulting in aphasia also lose the ability to communicate in sign language.<P>I wonder if aphasics can still dance.<P><BR>------------------<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg, Lighting Designer<BR>This Day in Arts History: <A HREF="http://www.suncoast.quik.com/salzberg/arthist.htm" TARGET=_blank>http://www.suncoast.quik.com/salzberg/arthist.htm</A><BR>Online portfolio: <A HREF="http://www.suncoast.quik.com/salzberg" TARGET=_blank>http://www.suncoast.quik.com/salzberg</A> <P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by salzberg (edited February 15, 2001).]

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Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


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