Mathalicious: Harmony of Numbers

You don’t have to be a musician to know when music sounds bad.

But what is it, exactly, that makes music sound good? Turns out it’s all in the numbers. The combinations of notes we find pleasing are based on simple ratios.

In this lesson, students learn how the notes plucked on stringed instruments are mathematically related. By calculating the ratios of string lengths, students explore the relationship between notes that sound good together — and also those that don’t. Math and music have more in common than you might think!


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Math Topics
Ratios, Rates & Percents
Music, Art, and Language Arts Topics
Musical Instruments, Music Theory
6th Grade

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