Posted on April 29, 2019 by Tia Lalani

Join University of Alberta math and statistical science professor Thomas Hillen for a free public lecture on math and jazz music. Two defining features of Jazz music are harmonies and improvisations. The jazz harmonies are built from chords, and improvisations are built around scales. In this talk, Hillen will classify jazz chords and jazz scales …

Join University of Alberta math and statistical science professor Thomas Hillen for a free public lecture on math and jazz music.

Two defining features of Jazz music are harmonies and improvisations. The jazz harmonies are built from chords, and improvisations are built around scales. In this talk, Hillen will classify jazz chords and jazz scales using triadic sequences. A triadic sequence is a binary-sequence of 0’s and 1’s, where 0 represents a minor third interval and 1 represents a major third interval. Using these binary representations, Hillen classifies jazz chords into a hierarchy of chords of increasing complexity. Furthermore, he uses triadic sequences to classify all fundamental scales into scale families, which include the standard scales of major and minor, all jazz scales (modes: ionian, dorian, phrygian, etc.) and many ethnic scales as well (Indian, Hindu, Romanian, Serbian, Gypsi, etc.). The main theoretical result is that this classification is complete, and there are no other fundamental scales. Hillen will also entertain with examples of the above harmonies and scales on a piano.


Thursday, May 2

7:30 to 8:30 pm

Augustana Faith and Life Chapel 


This lecture is part of the Alberta Mathematics Dialogue 2019 Conference. For more information on the conference, visit their website.


Posted in Augustana Campus, Events. | Permalink

Comments are closed.