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Paperback | $32.00 Short | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780262516556 | 504 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 263 illus.| August 2011

"“University Presses in Space” showcases a special sampling of the many works that university presses have published about space and space exploration."

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Musimathics, Volume 1

The Mathematical Foundations of Music


“Mathematics can be as effortless as humming a tune, if you know the tune,” writes Gareth Loy. In Musimathics, Loy teaches us the tune, providing a friendly and spirited tour of the mathematics of music--a commonsense, self-contained introduction for the nonspecialist reader. It is designed for musicians who find their art increasingly mediated by technology, and for anyone who is interested in the intersection of art and science.

In Volume 1, Loy presents the materials of music (notes, intervals, and scales); the physical properties of music (frequency, amplitude, duration, and timbre); the perception of music and sound (how we hear); and music composition. Calling himself “a composer seduced into mathematics,” Loy provides answers to foundational questions about the mathematics of music accessibly yet rigorously. The examples given are all practical problems in music and audio.

Additional material can be found at

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: file of figures in the book

About the Author

Gareth Loy is a musician and award-winning composer. He has published widely and, during a long and successful career at the cutting edge of multimedia computing, has worked as a researcher, lecturer, programmer, software architect, and digital systems engineer. He is President of Gareth, Inc., a provider of software engineering and consulting services internationally.


“It will be obvious by now that this is a book wholeheartedly to be recommended for a wide readership. As definitive as is possible, certainly the leading resource in the field, it will meet many needs. Those with school algebra and physics who are performers, engineers, composers, listeners will almost inevitably get much from Musimathics The two volumes of this book, then, must be considered as the place to start any exploration of this field. Entertaining, secure, comprehensive, clear, authoritative, timely, up-to-date, well wrought in every way, these are for every music lover's shelves.” — Mark Sealey, Classical Net: The Internet's Premier Classical Music Source


"Musimathics is destined to be required reading and a valued reference for every composer, music researcher, multimedia engineer, and anyone else interested in the interplay between acoustics and music theory. This is truly a landmark work of scholarship and pedagogy, and Gareth Loy presents it with quite remarkable rigor and humor."
Stephen Travis Pope, CREATE Lab, Department of Music, University of California, Santa Barbara

"From his long and successful experience as a composer and computer-music researcher, Gareth Loy knows what is challenging and what is important. That comprehensiveness makes Musimathics both exciting and enlightening. The book is crystal clear, so that even advanced issues appear simple. Musimathics will be essential for those who want to understand the scientific foundations of music, and for anyone wishing to create or process musical sounds with computers."
Jean-Claude Risset, Laboratoire de M

"Volume 1 of Musimathics is the ideal introduction to the science of musical acoustics and composition theory, and volume 2 succeeds as no other tutorial does in making the theory of computer music and digital signal processing accessible to a broad audience. Loy's typically careful treatment leads to a book that combines readability and fun with exhaustive and meticulous coverage of each of the topics he addresses. It can serve equally well as an introduction and as a desk reference for experts."
Stephen Travis Pope, CREATE Lab, Department of Music, University of California, Santa Barbara