Tuesday, October 20, 2009

E = mF B D# G#

A scientist (or mathematician?) pseudonymed Thoreau describes how attending musical performances helps him solve research problems.
...you may be thinking “So, you spent 5 hours not paying attention to the show?” but somehow a good music performance just gets me in that zone. One of the most important things that I worked out during my thesis research was done during Phantom of the Opera. And I loved Phantom.


I don't see a problem with this at all. I do the same thing, at musical performances, at plays, watching movies, reading books, etc. I don't tend to solve entire problems as much as get inspired to consider new problems or new approaches to a problem that I will complete later. This is because I get pulled back into whatever art I'm consuming at the moment, unless it really sucks. And then I will flit from problem to problem, including working on my grocery shopping list.

Bonus points to the first person who figures out the title of the post.

5 comments:

Paul Hertz said...

Energy equals mass times the Tristan chord?

Elaine Fine said...

Perhaps it is a reference to a passage in a piece in E major that begins mezzo forte with a G# minor triad in first inversion.

But what could it be? Something from Phantom of the Opera, maybe?

Scott said...

Paul wins. I don't make any claims that the equation makes sense, but that is indeed what I was thinking.

Elaine Fine said...

I was never very good at math.

Shawn said...

Scientists have always said that music and math compliment each other because of their locations in the brain, so I guess I’m not really surprised that Thoreau would use music to help conquer boundaries.