Palindrome Perception: Music and Maths in the Sheldonian


Music and Maths, Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, Oxfordshire. (Photo: Matthew Wilcoxson)

On Saturday 27th January more than 800 people attended “Music and Maths”, a performance by the Oxford Philharmonic with Marcus du Sautoy, Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics. As well as a performance of masterworks by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven (Marios Papadopoulos conductor), and a fascinating discussion by Marcus du Sautoy on the numerical blueprint of celebrated scores, over 500 members of the audience engaged in an experiment as part of the PRiSM collaboration between the Oxford e-Research Centre’s FAST project and the Royal Northern College of Music.

Listening to Haydn Symphony No. 47 in G major ‘The Palindrome’, participants used the PRiSM perception app to indicate where they perceived palindromes in the performance.  This data will be analysed as part of the Oxford e-Research Centre’s ongoing study into mathematics and music, and develops out of their inaugural experiment at a performance of Gyorgy Ligeti’s Fanfares at the RNCM at the launch of PRiSM last October.

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