Past Event

Music, Math, and Mind: The Physics and Neuroscience of Music - Cloned

April 21, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
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Why does a clarinet play at lower pitches than a flute? What does it mean for sounds to be in or out of tune? How are emotions carried by music? Do other animals perceive sound like we do? How might a musician use math to come up with new ideas?

This book offers a lively exploration of the mathematics, physics, and neuroscience that underlie music in a way that readers without scientific background can follow. David Sulzer, also known in the musical world as Dave Soldier, explains why the perception of music encompasses the physics of sound, the functions of the ear and deep-brain auditory pathways, and the physiology of emotion.


David Sulzer is a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Pharmacology at Columbia University Medical Center. His laboratory has made important contributions to the study of brain mechanisms involved in autism, Parkinson’s disease, drug addiction, and learning and memory. He is also a composer and performer. Some of his projects bridge music and neuroscience, including the Thai Elephant Orchestra, an orchestra of fourteen elephants in northern Thailand, and the Brainwave Music Project, which uses EEGs of brain activity to create compositions.


Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim is an award-winning music critic and cultural entrepreneur dedicated to helping people become better listeners. From 2012-2021, she was a contributing classical music critic to the New York Times. Corinna is the recipient of the 2021 Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Criticism and a 2018 residency at the American Academy in Rome. In 2019, she founded Beginner’s Ear, a program of transformative listening experiences, which has brought live music meditations to diverse audiences and spaces, including a yoga loft, a sunken garden, a federal detention center, a dance studio, an independent high school, as well as more traditional music venues.