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Ancient Math & Music

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Explore how Pythagoras and Plato found mathematics in music and nature in this video from NOVA: The Great Math Mystery. The ancient Greeks identified three pleasing musical intervals: an octave, a fifth, and a fourth. Pythagoras discovered that the beautiful musical relationship between the notes was also a mathematical relationship: the harmonious sounds are produced by vibrating strings with particular ratios of string length. Plato believed geometry and mathematics exist in their own ideal world and that certain shapes (now known as the Platonic solids) were associated with the classical elements from which the world was made: earth, fire, air, water, and the universe.