Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Josh Jones — John Coltrane Draws a Picture Illustrating the Mathematics of Music

This is a very interesting article, and it is also short. Everyone interested in music, math, mysticism, and Sufism should enjoy this. Who knew that John Coltrane was attempting to put Einstein to music.

Open Culture
John Coltrane Draws a Picture Illustrating the Mathematics of Music
Josh Jones

1 comment:

John said...

Reminds me of a drawing in a Borges short story about impossible machines. Interesting article.

Given the nature of jazz especially, perhaps it's not so unusual that an inordinately large number of jazz musicians are spiritual. At the same time, and linked in some deep way to this search for spirituality, these very same musicians are hooked on hard drugs. For many drugs are a release. For some, perhaps many, jazz musicians it serves as some sort of gateway to higher spirituality, when in fact all they're doing is disturbing and agitating the brain's fragile brain chemistry, leaving them believing that they've transcended this, that and the other.

I don't know what to make of John Coltrane comparing his music with Einstein's work. Coltrane was probably high on smack when he presumptuously blurted that out. Similarly, Stephon Alexander doesn't make any sense in claiming that there's a link between jazz and Einstein's quantum gravity! When Einstein died, he was working on a unified theory of electromagnetism and gravity. Einstein saw the inherent tensions quantum mechanics and relativity had, and imagined quantum mechanics had to be reformulated. As far as I know, Einstein was not working on a quantum theory of gravity. If Alexander has found some late papers by Einstein in which he examines the issue, this gives me another reason to read his book, but it looks more likely that whoever wrote the piece was confused.