Tuning your piano, and why you are bound to fail doing so


A piano (or any other instrument in Western music) has 12 notes in an octave. Why is that the case, and why is this only an approximation of what might be an "ideal" (but impossible) tuning system?

This problem has kept musicians and mathematicians busy since Pythagoras. In this project you will learn why it is an impossible problem, which approximations have been used in history, and how we can compare them.

The goal is to visualise the comparison of different tuning systems, and produce sound files that illustrate the problem and the various solutions.

Supervisors: Thilo Baumann, Pieter Belmans

Difficulty level: any


FSTM -- University of Luxembourg