Computer, Math and Music Professors to Perform and Inform

The Western Percussion Ensemble prepares for a performance
A half-dozen Western State Colorado University professors and instructors will present a seminar on the intersection of music and mathematics at 7:30pm Monday, April 14, in Quigley Recital Hall.

John Peterson, a professor of Computer Science, will join Andy Keck, Heidi Keck, Jeremy Muskat and Zach Treisman, all mathematicians, and Greg Haynes, professor of Music, on stage. They will rotate between presentations on math and musical performance, addressing tuning and temperament, phasing and periodic functions, sieves, chaos theory, and stochastic processes. Their presentations will include:

  • Treisman's explanation of scales and tuning, featuring a simple, live performance of intervals on piano or marimba, with recordings of music based on non-western scales. 
  • Heidi Keck's overview of phasing and periodic functions, with recorded clips of sine waves and a performance of Reich's "Piano Phase" by Johanna Rodriguez and Haynes. 
  • Muskat shedding some light on  modular mathematics, with Haynes demonstrating Iannis Xenakis's use of mathematical structures in a performance of "Psappha."
  • Andy Keck on generating music from random sources and chaos theory, with a performance excerpt from Hovhaness' "Bacchanale" by Western State Colorado University Percussion Ensemble, which they'll repeat several times to demonstrate concepts.
  • John Peterson demonstrating chance music with a performance of a composition by student, Kevin McCall.

Their presentations are inspired by Haynes' doctoral research and overlap with theories presented by Dr. Paul Hudak of Harvard, who visited Western in September to set the stage for Peterson's CIS 197 course this spring. Hudak explained how tones become computer code with his Euterpea language, based on Haskell. And he offered a recital of his own music to demonstrate how code relates to tone and timbre.

The April 14 event is free and open to the general public. And you don't need a background in mathematics to enjoy the enlightening evening.

Event Date: 7:30pm Monday, April 14, in Quigley Recital Hall



Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 4:00pm