[Paleopsych] math and music?

Lynn D. Johnson, Ph.D. ljohnson at solution-consulting.com
Tue Mar 1 05:31:22 UTC 2005

On a slightely different note. There is some overlap between musical 
ability and math. A quick couple of references:
Title 	Inter-domain transfer between mathemetical skills and musicianship.
Abstract 	Investigated the nature of transfer of problem solving skills 
between 2 domains which are very dissimilar at a surface level but which 
overlap at a deep structural level in specific areas. The domains are 
formal musical skill and mathematics. This study examined specifically 
whether this transfer occurs without explicit instruction to facilitate 
transfer. Structural Learning Theory provided a frame of reference for 
the study of the deep structural similarities between music and math. 85 
public secondary school students (mean age 15.5 yrs) enrolled in an 
extension math course completed a mathematics test in their regular 
classroom. One wk later Ss completed the Musicianship Rating Scale to 
measure trained musical knowledge. The results indicate that in the 
domains of mathematics and music, students who had training in 
musicianship performed better than students with no musical training in 
mathematical areas of structural overlap. However, they did not perform 
better in areas without overlap. The author concludes that transfer 
occurs as a result of deep-structural similarity of domains and that 
this transfer can occur spontaneously without explicit instruction 
designed to facilitate transfer. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, 
all rights reserved)
Authors 	Bahr, Nan; Christensen, Carol A.
Affiliations 	Bahr, Nan: U Queensland, Graduate School of Education, 
QLD, Australia
Source 	Journal of Structural Learning & Intelligent Systems. 14(3), 
2000, 187-197.

Title 	Music as embodied mathematics: A study of mutually informaing 
Abstract 	The argument examined in this paper is that music - when 
approached through making and responding to coherent musical structures, 
facilitated by multiple, intuitively accessible representations - can 
become a learning context in which basic mathematical ideas can be 
elicited and perceived as relevant and important. Students' inquiry into 
the bases for their perceptions of musical coherence provides a path 
into the mathematics of ratio, proportion, fractions, and common 
multiples. In a similar manner, we conjecture that other topics in 
mathematics - patterns of change, transformations and invariants - might 
also expose, illuminate and account for more general organizing 
structures in music. Drawing on experience with 11-12 year old students 
working in a software music/math environment, we illustrate the role of 
multiple representations, multi-media, and the use of multiple sensory 
modalities in eliciting and developing students' initially implicit 
knowledge of music and its inherent mathematics. (PsycINFO Database 
Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)
Authors 	Bamberger, Jeanne; Disessa, Andrea
Affiliations 	Bamberger, Jeanne: Music and Theater Arts, Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, US
Disessa, Andrea: University of California, Berkeley, CA, US
Source 	International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning. 
8(2), 2003, 123-160.

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