I have been thinking about numbers a lot in the past week. Prime numbers, the Fibonacci sequence, polygons. Why my Bucky Balls work best in multiples of six. How our culture might be different if we had evolved thinking in base 8 instead of base 10. I was introduced to the concept of modular arithmetic on Thursday, quite by accident; while we obviously use it in daily life, it had never previously occurred to me how one would express it mathematically.

Numbers are, of course, inextricably related to music. Scales (there’s our modular arithmetic again), beat structure, tempo. Few musicians seem to call this relationship out, but Tool’s “Lateralus” is, among other things, about the Fibonacci sequence, with an apparent nod to the Golden Ratio. The references are not within the lyrics; rather, it is a part of the music itself.

I am curious to know whether there are other artists who have explicitly explored mathematical concepts in the rhythmic and melodic structure of their music. I am aware of some that explore math in their lyrical content (Jonathan Coulton and Tom Lehrer come to mind), but I suppose the nature of what I am looking for makes it more difficult to find.