Pedagogic Applications of Fourier Analysis and Spectrographs in the Music Theory Classroom

Author(s): 
John Latartara
Volume: 
22
Year: 
2008
Material: 
Abstract: 

Pedagogic Applications of Fourier Analysis and Spectrographs in the Music Theory Classroom by John Latartara. Over the last twenty-five years, computer technology has transformed the teaching environment. This is especially true for the field of music theory. Software programs designed for ear training, notation, and interval/chord spelling have been helpful in allowing students to improve their musicianship skills rapidly. There is another type of software program that can also be extremely beneficial for music theory students, which has direct applications in musical analysis - Fourier analysis and spectrographs. Fourier analysis and spectrographs can be used in a variety of ways to elucidate specific musical concepts and generate discussion in the theory classroom at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Spectrographs are images of musical sound generated by Fourier analysis, which show not only the fundamental pitch, but also the overtones and complex noise-like sounds as well. These images are related to the way we hear and perceive sound, making them extremely relevant for all musicians.