by Mary Kathleen Newell
For over 2500 years, humans have made connections between music and other subject areas including mathematics. As Pythagoras walked through the town of Croton, Calabria (located in Southern Italy) in approximately 550 BC he heard blacksmiths at work. The sounds of the blacksmiths’ hammers hitting their anvils were striking and harmonious to Pythagoras’ ears. He concluded that these harmonious sounds were the result of scientific principles. Inquisitive Pythagoras discovered that the blacksmiths’ tools were “simple ratios of each other, one was half the size of the first, another was two-thirds the size, and so on” (Wikipedia, 2008). The various sizes of the hammers created the musical sounds he was so taken by earlier in the day. Pythagoras made a connection: musical pitches could be transferred into mathematical equations.
In 1901, researchers…