Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Unit 10

Harmonious Math

Waves Waves Moving Through Air

All sound is the product of airwaves crashing against our eardrums. The mathematical technique for understanding this and other wave phenomena is called Fourier analysis, which allows the disentangling of a complex wave into basic waves called sinusoids, or sine waves. In this unit we discover how Fourier analysis is used in creating electronic music and even underpins all digital technology.

Unit Goals

Video Transcript


Waves — lightwaves washing against our eyes creating a vision of the world around us, sound waves crashing against our ears — sometimes jarring and other times, beautiful, cosmic waves bathing the Universe. All of it explained, illuminated, and connected via mathematics.



One of the most fundamental ways that music and math are connected is in the understanding of sound specifically, and wave phenomena in general. Understanding sound as an instance of wave phenomena provides a nice forum for the interaction of ideas from music, physics, and mathematics.


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