The maths behind musical ability
If you are good at maths are you good at music? Apparently so, according to research conducted by Daniel Ryan, a fifth-year student from the Cistercian College, Tipperary.
He devised a simple test to gauge potential musical ability based on things such as learning speed, technique and rhythm, and then a matching set of mathematical questions geared to Junior Cert level.
The 15-minute tests could be run in pairs, with each subject completing them one after the other.
“I was trying to see if people good at maths could go confidently into the study of music,” he explained. “My conclusion is: people good at maths can hope to succeed at music.” The top four students at maths were also top at music, he found. “A lot of music is based on maths,” he said.
Music was also of interest to transition year student Isobel Andrews-McCarroll of John Scottus Secondary School in Dublin. It was not its mathematical properties but ability to soothe the savage beast that was of interest.
She noticed her dogs did not like it when she played classical violin so she experimented to discover “mood music for mutts”. She read about the differences between human and dog hearing and composed simple music to reflect it. She brought in Mollie, Lily, Moriarty, Bailey and Bungalowe to test the effect. Individually, the dogs became calm, but even when thrown together, after some initial excitement the dogs sat still. When the music stopped, they again became rambunctious.
“I feel this could be taken further,” Isobel said, suggesting its use in dog rescue centres and to calm nervous pooches.