Physics and Astronomy Labs/The most beautiful equation in mathematics
In the study of musical harmony we discovered an inability to create a natural scale that could be used on a keyboard instrument. For example, the ratio of do to re is either 9/8 or 10/9, depending on which pair of notes you compare.
If we define f0 as the "first" pitch of a scale, and use integers to define other pitches, we require
to be the same constant for any pair of notes. From our attempt to fit a natural scale to the keyboard, two possible values for this constant come in mind:
A good compromise might be to take the geometric or arithmetic means.
- Calculate both of these means and verify that they fall comfortably between the two numbers.
- Show that would work for a wide range of N.
An exhaustive effort to create scales for N any number other than 12 generally either fails, or creates a scale with much more than 12 tones in an octave.
Fractional Powers[edit | edit source]
Powers are usually introduced through multiple products of the "base" number. For example, here the base is 2: