20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Let's Compare Options Preptorial
- Published on Amazon.com
The sad thing about this series is that the keywords that invite readers to stop by, hide the fact that these texts go far beyond music, to USE music as a gentle introduction to extremely complex, relevant and timely math concepts. The best teachers use four paths to explain a math concept: verbal, formulaic, algorithmic and pictographic. These help the brain comprehend the topic regardless of our learning modality. The authors here are simply MASTERFUL math teachers, and clarify everything from Eulers Law (relation of e, the base of the natural logarithms to pi, the base of the trig functions) to Fourier Transforms, in a way that a bright High School student will get. If you've been out of math (any math) for a long time, and want a masterful review of math concepts and techniques, this series is THE place to start. You can then extend that foundation to many other applied areas, from signal processing to physics, voice recognition, etc. Fourier transforms (and their more recent spin off in Cepstrums) are being used in too many fields to list today, from radar and electronic engineering, to whale songs.
In every section, the author's excitement is contagious. Rather than give a bunch of dry proofs that reek of hubris and disregard for the reader, Gareth uses a "curious mind" tone, as if he were just learning and discovering this too, like a kind of puzzle or murder mystery. Loy is Monk, Holmes and Columbo combined. For example, he gives a few expansion series for e, then says: "Wow, there seems to be a striking and beautiful pattern here, doesn't there? Wonder what it can be?" Leave it to a guy into both math and music to see the wonder in a time series!
One more example. Any texts on waveforms have to involve deep calculus, especially PDE's. Unfortunately, deep PDE's don't happen until grad school. But, rather than assume the reader uses calculus all day long, Loy starts with the basics at "now let's see how the first derivative is actually slope finding and integration is the area covered by the moving curve..." including those perhaps more musically inclined who have forgotten what a derivative is. Astonishingly, Loy sneaks around the dry topic of limits to use MUSIC as a great practical refesher on calculus (p. 263 of the second volume, in the section that is the hottest topic in Physics today, from Astronomy to Medical Imaging to of course music: Resonance).
Gareth is one of the few mathematicians around who can relate math to the astonishment of life around us. After all, our brain is doing advanced Fourier Transforms every time we cross a street in traffic, and when we get an MRI, the Fourier Transforms that convert magnetic alignment to pictures are assuming that the atoms in our body are a song, which when pulsed with a radio wave, will sing the positions of their water molecules back to us in harmonics that can be seen as well as heard.
Highly recommend this series, not only for everyone interested in math and music, but math and life!