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The Science of Music:
Music and Neuroscience


Interdisciplinary Educational Curricula Songs about Science and Math and much more

1/2 of your brain into Music
and 1/2 into Tech

Prince played trumpet in the junior high school band


Musician, inventor and educator Tod Machover, the Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music & Media at the MIT Media Lab, where he directs the Opera of the Future Group. An influential composer, he has been praised for creating music that breaks traditional artistic and cultural boundaries; his music has been performed and commissioned by some of the world's most important performers and ensembles. He has also created the technologies behind Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Machover's opera Death and the Powers premiered in Monte-Carlo in the fall 2010. The project was developed by a creative team of international artists, designers, writers and theatrical luminaries, as well as by an interdisciplinary team of Media Lab graduate and undergraduate students. Powers features a robotic, animatronic stage -- the first of its kind -- that gradually "comes alive" as the opera's main character. The Museum's John Hollar moderated a fascinating conversation with Tod - the son of a noted piano teacher and a computer graphics pioneer - who is using technology to revolutionize music.


Milton Babbitt - American. Born Philadelphia, 1916. Composer of Electronic music known as combinatoriality, "where segments of twelve-tone rows interact with segments of other rows with identical pitch classes." A nice biography of Babbitt appears on the The Computer-Assisted Music Instruction Lab webpage of University of Illinois, School of Music.


Peter Neumann's musical endeavors included, among other things, (1) joint work in 1954-55 with Fred Brooks, Bill Wright, and Al Hopkins for Tony Oettinger's seminars on computational linguistics, in which Al and I used Fred and Bill's Markov analysis of common-meter hymn tunes to compose ``new'' music on the Harvard Mark IV.

Study Shows iPods Help Doctors Hear the Beat
Hearing the Steady Beat and sample Heart Sounds Physicians who listen at least 400 times to common heart murmurs via their iPods or other MP3 devices are much more likely to identify the murmurs in patients, according to a study presented Sunday at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting. The study's lead investigator, Dr. Michael Barrett, last year demonstrated the benefit of repeat listening with medical students at Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital.
The university now offers a four-year curriculum on the topic and posts heart lessons online to teach students how to differentiate between a normal heartbeat and a murmur.

Hi! My name is Alex Sabbeth, and my interest is science and music. Worried about music being cut in the public schools? Here's a way to combine them, in a 2nd - 7th grade lesson plan. I've put together a curriculum which teaches the physics of sound, and the history of musical instruments. Kids build toy instruments, and prepare demonstrations which explain sound waves, sound transmission, and other principles relevant to music. Attention is given to how we hear, and how animals use sound.I teach through in-service sessions, and published a book based on these projects, called Rubber Band Banjos.

Two general suggestions are

1) Be sure that teachers understand the scientific explanations about sound waves, how animals use sound, and how we hear. Children will ask questions, and the book does explain the basics. Take your time and e-mail me if something doesn't sound OK.

2) It's fun to learn how to read music. Don't be surprised if kids grasp rhythmic patterns easier than melodic ones. I've found that it's hard for students to repeat a melodic pattern.

The Science of Music

Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997
The Science of Music
Welcome to The Musical Scientist!
Have you ever wondered how the strings of a guitar work?
You use stings to make sounds too. They're called vocal cords. Learn about how sounds are made and how we hear them. Then, start your own band with some home-made musical instruments.