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Mathematics and Music

Mathematics music are closely linked, and the unique new music tools in Polypad provide a whole new dimension for students and teachers to interact with mathematics.

What do polygons sound like? What rhythms do different fractions make? Many of our manipulatives can be used to generate music in – allowing students to be creative, while revealing deep mathematical relationships and making visual content more accessible.

Different ways to “sonify” polygons
Polyrhythms using fraction bars

Using rhythm, pitch, volume and timbre, sound can provide intuitive ways to understand a wide range of mathematical concepts such as rates, ratios, proportionality, geometric relationships, fractions, sequencing, graphs, basic operations, functions, word problems and more.

The math classroom is usually an abstract, visual space. By translating these representations into audio, we’re opening a new door for many learners, especially those who love music and dance, and offering a fun way to apply their experience and expertise to learning math.

Students can compose their own rhythms or melodies, and solve musical challenges, using the same manipulatives they’ve used in math class. They can apply their creativity to something they feel personally connected to, and share their songs with friends and family – all while developing their sense as mathematical (and musical) thinkers.

Finally, these tools greatly expand access to blind, sight-challenged, dyslexic, or otherwise neurologically atypical students who may not be able to connect to a purely visual form of math instruction, and could benefit from a multi-sensory approach.

Lessons and Activities

We have written more than 50 free Desmos lessons about music and math, covering topics like angles, area, perimeter, rates and ratios, factors and multiples, fractions, algebra, word problems, and more:

Browse all by topic