Article ID: CBB000774155

Musical Logarithms in the Seventeenth Century: Descartes, Mercator, Newton (2008)

unapi

This paper describes three previously little-studied sources from the 17th century, which reveal early uses of logarithms in the mathematical study of music. It describes the problem, which had existed since antiquity, of providing quantitative measures for the relationships between musical intervals when the latter were defined by identification with mathematical ratios; and it shows how this problem was solved by Descartes, Newton, and Nicolaus Mercator in the mid-17th century by using logarithms to provide measures of intervals, which could then be compared with one another. It discusses the composition and interrelationships of the manuscript sources for this work.

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Description Explores “the early uses of logarithms in the mathematical study of music.” (from the abstract)


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https://data.isiscb.org/isis/citation/CBB000774155/

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Authors & Contributors
Kaplan, Abram
Zara, V.
Wolff, Christoph
Whiteside, D. T.
Vendrix, Philippe
Ruess, Bärbel
Journals
Historia Mathematica
British Society for the History of Mathematics Bulletin
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Studies in History of Medicine and Science
Revue d'Histoire des Mathématiques
Journal of the History of Ideas
Publishers
Princeton University Press
W. W. Norton & Co.
Springer
National Museums of Scotland Publishing
Kluwer Academic
El Colegio de Mexico
Concepts
Mathematics
Logarithms
Music
Ratio and proportion
Mathematicians
Science and music
People
Newton, Isaac
Napier, John
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von
Descartes, René
Viète, François de la Bigotière
Galilei, Galileo
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
Renaissance
Ancient
18th century
21st century
Places
Scotland
England
Spain
Germany
France
China
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