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The Music Of Engineering

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1275.1 - 9.1275.14



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Paper Authors

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John McGuire

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John Kaplan

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Kathleen Kaplan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session Number 1793

The Music of Engineering

Kathleen M. Kaplan, D.Sc., John A. McGuire, Lt Col John J. Kaplan (Ph.D., J.D.) USAF

Howard University/University of Northern Colorado/USAF


The relationship between music and engineering can be measured. There is overwhelming empirical evidence that link these two fields, yet few researchers have studied the relationship. This paper is not about the artistic and technical applications of recording technology, but rather the progression of music that has fostered the engineering feats of today.

Music has motivated more than the heart of the engineer, it has driven the field of engineering. Without music, and specifically the graphical representation of music, our society would be much different. Music has progressed throughout time from the pre- written melodies of early man to the very complicated pieces of Bach, and beyond. Engineering, on the same time scale, has progressed from the invention of the wheel to the information age. Yet the correlation between the progression of music and the growth of engineering has previously not been clearly defined.

There are many studies on the relationship of music to mathematical abilities. In many elementary schools around the United States, classical music is played prior to exams so that students will achieve the best possible grades. This association is evident and measurable. Also evident is the reliance of music on mathematics. For example, a half note is equal to two quarter notes. The previous statement could not be possible without the use of mathematics. Thus, it is not a far leap to suggest that music is integral to mathematics, and likewise, mathematics is integral to music. As mathematics is the foundation of engineering, the relationship between music and engineering is taken for granted. Yet, this relationship, between music and engineering, is much more than the ability to perform better in mathematics. Without music, the field of engineering would not have progressed to its current state; the two fields share a correlation and interrelationship of progression in time.

McGuire, J., & Kaplan, J., & Kaplan, K. (2004, June), The Music Of Engineering Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13808

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