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Fractal Dimension and Musical Complexity. From Bach to the Blues

David Fowler
Organization: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

2003 International Mathematica Symposium
Conference location

Imperial College, London

A "musical coastline” can be derived from an instrumental solo by plotting pitch against time. The result is a discrete approximation to a (possibly) fractal curve. The fractal dimension of the curve yields some measure of the complexity of the musical phrase. Examples are taken from a violin sonata by J.S. Bach and from solos by three blues guitar players. To establish the reliability of the programming code, mathematical curves of known dimension are included in the analysis.

*Arts and Humanities > Music
*Mathematics > Calculus and Analysis > Dynamical Systems

fractal dimension, musical complexity, divider dimension, Bach
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