Janice Jarrett, PhD, Musician, Ethnomusicololgist
Monday, June 28, 2021,
a Zoom Webinar*
Science teaches us that sounds are vibrations that can be discerned by the ear. Sound is produced by vibrating objects which are carried to the ear as sound waves. The brain translates these vibrations into pitch, volume, tempo and rhythm, which can be perceived as pleasing (harmonious) or displeasing (discordant). Music is the patterns, both harmonious and discordant, that those sounds can be arranged in.
At a certain level music can be seen as a mathematical exercise whereby a countless variety of musical compositions can be produced by altering the rhythm, tempo and notes. As the interaction of sounds, tempos and pitches creates music, so too does the interaction of known facts and knowledge coupled with imagination and scientific conjecture produce new scientific discoveries. Thus, music can be said to be the science of art and science the music of the intellect.
In this lecture, Janice Jarrett will discuss why so many scientists — astronomers and physicists in particular — are musicians and why so many professional musicians study science. By way of example, the composer and organist William Herschel discovered Uranus using a telescope that he designed and built. Similarly, composer Alexander Borodin held down a day job as a research chemist. To him we owe the discovery of “aldol reaction,” a way to combine two smaller molecules into a larger one, still used in manufacturing today.
Janice Jarrett approaches this topic from the musician’s point of view. She has a B.A. in voice and composition, a masters in World Music and a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. As a Post Doc she has continued her studies researching music and the brain, science and healing, and cultural studies. She has a private music studio where she gives lessons. She is also a jazz singer, lyricist, arranger, band leader, lecturer and journalist.
Written by Roxy Mitchem-Horn, Academy Village Volunteer
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