Skip To Content
A Mathematical Exploration of Music and Sound is a Course

A Mathematical Exploration of Music and Sound

Ended May 16, 2016

Sorry! The enrollment period is currently closed. Please check back soon.

Full course description

Course Date:

Apr 4 - May 16, 2016


6 weeks


2-3 hrs/week



Course Type:





This course explores the fundamental connections between mathematics and music. Students will have the opportunity to learn about acoustics and music theory through a mathematical lens. At the core of music are patterns, structures, and relationships that can be understood mathematically. The course will provide opportunities for students to play with and explore some of the concepts, including scales, the Fourier series, beats, rhythm, and harmonics.

Topics Include:

  • Week 1: What is sound? How do we hear sound?
  • Week 2: Sound waves and simple harmonic motion.
    Pitch, octaves, and scale.
  • Week 3: Fourier Series
  • Week 4: The Harmonic Series
    Project - Build an Instrument
  • Week 5: Rhythm and Time
  • Week 6: Intervals and Chords
    Creating Music with Mathematics


Course Instructors

Lauren Riva, Ph.D.

Lauren Riva, Ph.D.

Director of Mathematics Institute

Lauren Riva has an M.S. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Theory and Practice in Teacher Education with a focus on Mathematics Education from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. She is currently the Director of the S.T.E.A.M Program and a member of the mathematics faculty at Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA. Lauren is interested in supporting students' progress through mathematics coursework and reducing student attrition from mathematics.

Ben Riva

Ben Riva

Music Faculty and A/V Services Manager

Ben Riva lives and works at Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA, where he is currently a music teacher and the AV Services Manager. Ben has been playing the violin since he was 3 years old. He graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2004 with a B.A. in Music Synthesis. Ben has been teaching music for over ten years.