What does Maths sound like?

What does Maths sound like?

Wednesday 4th October saw a performance of a piece Emily Howard has composed with mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, followed by a discussion about how maths and music are intertwined.

The performance took place at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) at a launch event for PRiSM, the RNCM Centre for Practice & Research in Science & Music.

PRiSM brings together a number of creative collaborations between the sciences and music under Emily's direction and a team of researchers including the Centre's Professor David De Roure and Professor Marcus du Sautoy from the University of Oxford.

The composition is a new collection of miniatures for string quartet: five short movements each associated with a different mathematical idea. It was premiered to great acclaim earlier in the month by the Piatti string quartet at New Scientist Live.

This work is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Centre and composer Emily Howard. Initial work, supported by the Transforming Musicology and FAST projects, focused on pioneering mathematician Ada Lovelace. The format of the Music of Proof event, which will be performed by musicians from RNCM, has its origins in previous performances of Emily Howard's short operatic work "Ada Sketches". Audience members were invited to participate using a new app via mobile launched during the evening.

The PRiSM Perception App is a generic tool that can be configured for different concerts, presentations and experiments to record feedback. The app is being developed by research software engineer Mathew Wilcoxson at the Centre, with Michelle Phillips of RNCM, in collaboration with Professor David De Roure and the EPSRC 'Fusing Audio and Semantic Technologies' project. You can follow the launch at #PRiSM-X1.

The PRiSM team has also launched a "Math Music Match" webpage so that people can experiment with matching pieces of music to mathematical proofs – the results of which were used to inform a panel discussion at the Manchester Science Festival: The Music of Proof: The Second Movement, on 24th October. You can take part in the experiment (or see the results) at https://www.rncm.ac.uk/prism/collaborations/the-sound-of-proof/.