Faculty Mentor

Michael Walsh


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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.