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Author Topic: Can improving maths skills lead to a change in music preference?  (Read 1880 times)

Christopher

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Christopher asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Can improving maths skills lead to a change in music preference?

What do you think?


 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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That's a very interesting question, not one I have come across before. I'm wondering why you have asked it. Do you have some evidence of that being the case?

Speaking personally, my taste in music has remained fairly constant throughout my life regardless my proficiency in maths. On a day-by-day basis it depends very much on my mood; but my "sphere" of preference (if I can put it as such) remains the same.

However, I can see that maybe a firmer grasp of mathematics could lead to a better understanding of musical constructs. After all, tonality and musical modes are based on mathematics. Music has patterns that are mathematically linked. Whether it could cause a change in musical taste is a different matter.

Musical taste is linked very much to personality and environment. I heard of some research into this being undertaken by Greg Dunn, a PhD student at Eindhoven university. However, I am not sure how far his research has gone. I shall try to find out.

There was also a similar study conducted in 2003 at the Dept of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin by Peter Rentfrow and Samuel Gosling (just as an aside, I find it amusing that Samuel Gosling often works with a chap called Swan). That research showed a distinct correlation between personality and musical preferences.

I would say, therefore, that a better understanding of maths would probably not lead to a change in one's musical taste; but I would certainly look with interest on any evidence to the contrary.
« Last Edit: 03/03/2009 11:28:44 by DoctorBeaver »
 

Offline Damo the Optics Monkey

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That is a great question!  As a math teacher (amongst other disciplines) I would have to reflect and see if that happened.

Looking back on my own experience as my math skills grew and diversified, my music astes did not really change but also expanded.

I wonder if that occurs?
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Musical taste can change somewhat as we age. I say "can change" because it is certainly not always the case.

Environment is also a major factor. If one is subjected to a particular type of music when young then a distinct preference for that genre is often noted in later life.
 

Offline Damo the Optics Monkey

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That is quite true, maybe the math progression is another factor that accentuates the environmental factors.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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That's possible, although I do think it unlikely. I fail to see a connection between ability in maths and one's environment.

What I can see, though, is a possible correlation between maths ability and the way one thinks about things. I suppose that could cause some kind of change in personal taste but I think that correlation is somewhat tenuous.
« Last Edit: 03/03/2009 13:14:23 by DoctorBeaver »
 

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