Pi Day and the relationship between music and math
March 14 (3/14) is Pi Day!
The holiday celebrates mathematical constant “pi” (π), which is one of the oldest and best-recognized mathematical constants in the world. Pi is the ratio of any circle’s circumference to its diameter, and it’s valued approximately to 3.14159265 – although its actual digits after the decimal point are infinite.
To celebrate Pi Day, Fret Zealot is allowing you to “Play through Pi” in the Fret Zealot app. We created a song that maps the C major scale to the first 31 of the digits of Pi. You can find it in the Fret Zealot app under the artist “The Constants”.
Here’s how you can find your birthday or any number in pi!
Music and math might not seem like they have much in common – but there’s a lot of overlap between the two studies.
“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.”
Each piece of music has a time signature, which looks like a fraction. The time signature shows the rhythm – how many beats are in each measure. Musical notes are also assigned a value, including quarter notes, half notes, and whole notes. To read sheet music, you have to know how long to hold each note – which requires math!
Why does a ukulele sound higher than a guitar? Why do you play higher notes on a guitar closer to the body?
It’s because the pitch of a vibrating string is proportional to its length, and the pitch can be controlled by the length – getting higher as the string gets shorter.
Greek philosopher Pythagoras studied this phenomenon around 500 B.C on lyres, Greek stringed instruments. He found that a string exactly half the length of another string will have a much higher pitch, but they sound constant when played together, an interval called an octave.
What do the Fibonacci sequence and “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynrd have in common?
They both follow patterns, which are a common occurrence in both mathematics and music.
(Most) music has repeating patterns in choruses, verses, chords, and riffs. Numerical patterns are sequences of numbers created based on formulas or rules. These types of patterns can be seen in nature, architecture, and everyday objects!
You can start your musical journey with Fret Zealot. Users can choose from thousands of video lessons, over 80,000 song tracks, 10,000 chords, and more.
You can download the Fret Zealot app from the Apple or Android store, watch lessons online, and start playing today!