Interaction between Mathematics and Music

A conversation about the mathematics behind musical rhythms, followed by a premiere performance of 14 Dances and Fantasies

Music and mathematics have many commonalities. They are both fueled by creativity and are founded on hierarchical syntactic structures. Ideas from mathematics can be used to describe and organise musical theory, e.g. an abelian group of 12 elements encode pitch classes in an equally tempered octave and rational points on a Grassmannian can be related to regular temperaments.

In this public event, we will illustrate how a new geometric structure called a
spectral orbifold captures periodic musical rhythms and how it can be used to generate new exciting rhythms. A rich source of periodic rhythms are traditional dances and we will exhibit some of these in brand-new musical compositions.

This event assumes no previous musical nor mathematical knowledge and is suitable for all levels. Participation is free of charge, but spaces are limited.


  • Norwegian Dance
  • Finnish Tango
  • German Dance
  • Waltz
  • Spanish Dance
  • Pavane
  • Austrian Dance
  • Scottish Fantasy
  • Oriental Fantasy
  • Romanian Dance
  • Russian Fantasy
  • Argentinian Tango
  • Kiwi Fantasy
  • Hungarian Dance

Composed by Pedram Hekmati


  • Mark Bennett (Violin)
  • Gill Ripley (Violin)
  • Cecile McNeill (Viola)
  • Callum Hall (Cello)
  • Eric Scholes (Double Bass)
  • Catherine Bowie (Flute)
  • Billie Hart (Clarinet)
  • Alden Cai (French Horn)
  • Pedram Hekmati (Piano)
    Sponsored by the Faculty of Science Strategic Initiative Impact Fund.