T.C. Wollan Lecture on Math and Modern Music
Sep 26, 2012FOR MORE INFORMATION:
DR. OKSANA BIHUN, assistant professor, Mathematics and Computer Science
AMY KELLY, Media Relations director
T.C. WOLLAN LECTURE ON MATH AND MODERN MUSIC
The mathematics and computer science department at Concordia College will present the 22nd T.C. Wollan Memorial Distinguished Lecture featuring Dr. David Kung at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, in the Centrum, Knutson Campus Center. His lecture for a general audience, “How Math Made Modern Music Mad Irrational,” is free and open to the public.
The scale used by 20th century classical musicians is strikingly different from that used in Bach’s time. Over the past 500 years, a wide variety of scales have permeated Western music, but amazingly, none of them was “in tune.” In some sense no piano is ever in tune and the reason is purely mathematical. Kung will use physics and mathematics to make sense of the various sounds of a violin and construct different scales to see what’s “wrong” with each.
Kung, professor of mathematics at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, enjoys playing violin with students and in the local community orchestra. He has authored a variety of articles on topics in harmonic analysis and mathematics education, and is the recipient of numerous awards. He is co-authoring a book about college math and his upcoming Great Courses lectures on Mathematics and Music will be released in December.
The T.C. Wollan Lecture Series was founded in the mid-1960s with unrestricted funds from the National Science Foundation and was named in honor of T.C. Wollan, respected as one of the founders of the mathematics program at Concordia.