Stung Eye
Stung Eye

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The word on the street is that I'm engaged. It was romantic and exciting. I think this song says it all: Semisonic - Secret Smile. (offline)


I've long been fascinated by the link between music and mathematics. Chef Quix pointed out a very well written essay on math's relationship to music and life in general.

"Math is about thinking. Math is about problem solving. Math is about working with what you do know to give you a framework and a method of exploring and understanding what you don't know, about seeing relationships and patterns. Mathematics is a mind-set, and an attitude when you face something you do not understand. But there is also a beauty and a wonder about mathematics that only insiders know about. Words like elegant and beautiful are used constantly by mathematicians to describe paths of reasoning and proofs."

It's interesting to note that computer programmers react similarly to the esthetic beauty of well written code. I've read mathematical proofs and chunks of assembly code that honestly share the same emotional impact as expertly crafted poetry. The act of writing code can often lead to a meditative-like state ("the zone"), where the conversion of human ideas into a programming language becomes second nature. I've experienced similar "zones" in the worlds of mathematically problem solving and music composition.

"There are many things in music that are obviously math-related, and many musical notions can be explained in numbers. But it is important to note that numbers are not some way to describe music-- instead think of music as a way to listen to numbers, to bring them into the real world of our senses."

This ties in very well with the book Magister Ludi by Hermann Hesse. The central idea of the book is that of a mystical Bead Game. The game, originally developed as a musical improvisation/composition tool, evolves into a universal language of the intellect. I know I mentioned the fascinating logic tools developed by HipBone games in a previous post, but they really deserve your attention. Much like the Bead Game, these games are based on the complex relationships between abstract ideas/concepts.

The Rules:

"Two players play a game by each naming an idea in turn to one of the ten positions on the board. Ideas can be placed in any unoccupied position on the board.

Ideas can take the form of text, sound, or image: a quote, an equation, a musical theme, a video clip, or a photo or graphic are all acceptable. Essentially, a move can be made out of anything in the three worlds... so long as it can be named.

Players score by claiming links between the idea in their own move and the ideas already in play in those positions on the board connected to it by the lines of the board in question. A link can be any form of association - similarity, opposition, cause-and-effect, metaphor. Fanciful links may be made and enjoyed - or hotly contested.

The idea placed in the first move cannot score, since there is no other idea on the board for it to link with. The idea placed in the second move cannot score either, to keep the playing field even. Thus each player gets to make five moves on a ten position board, of which only four are scoring moves."

Several game boards have been designed to foster different styles of play: The waterbird and circuit boards are actually identical in terms of interconnects. The Psyche board is derived from the Pythagorean "tetraktys" diagram and can be used to assist with dream and symbol analysis. The comparisons board is used to compare and contrast two subject areas, or thinkers. The Pentagram and Mercedes boards (topologically identical with different symmetries), can be used in relation with each-other for more involved game-play. (Reminiscent of music transmogrification.)

Digest this sample game and you will see how these boards can be powerful learning/teaching tools.


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