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Faculty Mentor

Michael Walsh

Abstract

My interest in using mathematics in music composition stems from the works of the contemporary composer Iannis Xenakis. As a physics and music education major I am able to combine both fields of study for this topic. Although Xenakis wrote many orchestral compositions it is his vocal music that I have concentrated on as I too am a singer. Graphic representation and new music notation are among the methods used to analyze his music. I found that his first choral work was called “Nuits,” which I proceeded to analyze. I also found myself interested in the analysis of a more recent piece “Sea Nymphs” as another example of his style. I found Xenakis’ graphical and musical notation intriguing especially related to the evolution of music and mathematics throughout history. I found enough sources and his works in books, websites, song tracts, and documents. I have concluded that Xenakis’ style of writing vocal works may not thrive, but his instrumental works and composing methods will surely withstand the test of time.

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