Just for fun, here are ten songs about mathematics. Am I missing any good ones? Post them in the comments.

1. Finite Simple Group (of Order 2) by the Klein Four Group (lyrics). This excellent song was written and performed by graduate students at Northwestern University, where I did my graduate work. I think it is funny that I noticed the familiar stairwell before I noticed the familiar professors (in the background).

2. Nonagon by They Might be Giants (which I posted in this blog post). Of course, they have a full CD/DVD of math songs: Here Come the 123′s.

4. Pi by Kate Bush (lyrics). This is a surprisingly nice song in which Kate Bush sings the digits of pi (too bad she made some mistakes—artistic license wins over mathematical rigor?)

5. One Geometry (rapped to the tune of Snoop Dogg and Pharrell William’s “Drop it Like it’s Hot”) by Steve Sawin (AKA Slim Dorky) (lyrics). I posted this video about the Poincare conjecture on the day that Perelman was chosen as a Clay Millennium prize winner—an award that he famously turned down.

6. Down With That (Bolzano Weierstrauss Rap) by Steve Sawin (AKA Slim Dorky) (a previous blog post has links to the lyrics)

7. Lobachevsky by Tom Lehrer (I gave links to other math songs by Tom Lehrer in a previous blog post)

8. I Will Derive (to the tune of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”) (lyrics)

9. Mathematical Pi (sung to the tune of Don McLean’s “American Pie”) by Ken Ferrier and Antoni Chan (lyrics)

10. Calculus Rhapsody (to the tune of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”) by Mike Gospel and Phil Kirk (lyrics)

[Edit] OK, I said 10, but I forgot to add this one when I made the post live. Thanks to Blair for reminding me…

Great list Dave. Thanks for sharing. Here are a couple recommendations though not so strictly

Vi Hart’s (Doodling in Math) – 12 Days of Christmath – take out the commentary in between & you have a great Christmath carole

Vi Hart’s – Mobius Music Box – instrumental version of the Harry Potter theme, but mathematical in the approach taken to play it. She also arranged Pachelbel’s Canon to be played on 4 music boxes at one time

John Sims – Rhythm of Structure: Math Graffiti Wall Project – more spoken word/mixed media, but entertaining & interesting

Lose Yourself in the Digits – Song for Pi Day – take off on Eminem’s “Lose Yourself (in the Music)” from his film 8 mile

Mathmaticious – parody of Fergie’s Fergilicious – light on depth of math concepts, but good parody

And, of course, there’s a verse in Dylan’s Tangled Up In Blue:

Now I’m headed back again, I’ve got to get to her somehow
But all the people we used to know are an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians, some are carpenters’ wives
Don’t know how it all got started, don’t know what they’re doing with their lives.

Thanks for the song suggestions. Keep them coming.

Blair—thanks for reminding me about Vi Hart’s Christmath video. I had that written on my post-it note to put on this list, but somehow forgot. I added it as #11.

Our Signal Processing teacher gave us a sample of Lehrer’s Lobachevsky to use for testing with frequency and amplitude modulation (and Nikolaï Ivanovich Lobachevsky was his name!). Really fun song (although the poor guy is innocent of all that!).

In case people are interested, I’ve compiled a YouTube playlist with Dave’s suggestions and some of the others in the comments. I will add to it when I get a chance or as I come across new material. @John Golden, Thanks for sharing your list, I will add some of those.

And teachers at Lane Tech College Prep are putting together some songs about math. They call themselves The Postulates. The music hasn’t been released yet, but they have one performance online. The song is “Check Your Solutions” and is sung to the tune of The Raconteur’s “Salute Your Solution” (music starts at 1:30).

Finite Simple Group (of order 2) is part of the English classes that the new international TAs go through in the Georgia Tech School of Mathematics. The ESL instructor (yes, GT’s math department employs an ESL instructor, which helps a lot) has the lyrics typed out and uses it to teach the ITAs about words having more than one meaning, etc.

[...] leave you with Dave Richeson’s fun post at Division by Zero: Music is math: ten songs about mathematics. One I particularly love is I will derive. SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Wild About Math bloggers [...]

[...] a lighter note, we have Music is Math: Ten Songs about Mathematics from Dave Richeson of ‘Division by Zero’ fame. My favourite of the bunch is ‘A [...]

The calculus song “I will derive” is hilarious. In all seriousness, though, it is excellent for a learning tool because it helps people remember key mathematical concepts.

I’m sharing this with every math teacher I know. Great list! You wouldn’t happen to have a playlist of these I could subscribe to do you?

By:

Davidon January 15, 2011at 11:55 pm

I can’t believe you missed “Pi”, by Hard and Phirm!

By:

JeffEon January 16, 2011at 12:06 am

Great list Dave. Thanks for sharing. Here are a couple recommendations though not so strictly

Vi Hart’s (Doodling in Math) – 12 Days of Christmath – take out the commentary in between & you have a great Christmath carole

Vi Hart’s – Mobius Music Box – instrumental version of the Harry Potter theme, but mathematical in the approach taken to play it. She also arranged Pachelbel’s Canon to be played on 4 music boxes at one time

John Sims – Rhythm of Structure: Math Graffiti Wall Project – more spoken word/mixed media, but entertaining & interesting

Lose Yourself in the Digits – Song for Pi Day – take off on Eminem’s “Lose Yourself (in the Music)” from his film 8 mile

Mathmaticious – parody of Fergie’s Fergilicious – light on depth of math concepts, but good parody

Enjoy.

By:

Blairon January 16, 2011at 1:58 am

And, of course, there’s a verse in Dylan’s Tangled Up In Blue:

Now I’m headed back again, I’ve got to get to her somehow

But all the people we used to know are an illusion to me now

Some are mathematicians, some are carpenters’ wives

Don’t know how it all got started, don’t know what they’re doing with their lives.

By:

Colin Beveridgeon January 16, 2011at 4:22 am

Thanks for the song suggestions. Keep them coming.

Blair—thanks for reminding me about Vi Hart’s Christmath video. I had that written on my post-it note to put on this list, but somehow forgot. I added it as #11.

By:

Dave Richesonon January 16, 2011at 9:34 am

Our Signal Processing teacher gave us a sample of Lehrer’s Lobachevsky to use for testing with frequency and amplitude modulation (and Nikolaï Ivanovich Lobachevsky was his name!). Really fun song (although the poor guy is innocent of all that!).

Cheers,

Ruben

By:

Ruben Berenguelon January 16, 2011at 12:51 pm

These are some excellent tunes! This was my attempt at this topic (with some overlap)

http://mathhombre.blogspot.com/2010/05/sing-song-for-making-sense.html

More elementary songs.

I also have to share my class’ video from the fall, with two original math songs!

http://mathhombre.blogspot.com/2010/12/change-channel.html

By:

John Goldenon January 16, 2011at 3:39 pm

In case people are interested, I’ve compiled a YouTube playlist with Dave’s suggestions and some of the others in the comments. I will add to it when I get a chance or as I come across new material. @John Golden, Thanks for sharing your list, I will add some of those.

Here’s a link to the playlist:

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=21FFD07E37238222

By:

Blairon January 17, 2011at 12:30 pm

Thanks, all, for your suggestions and your links. Very cool. I also got a few by email that I’ll add here:

A song in Spanish about Thales’ Theorem (lyrics)

And teachers at Lane Tech College Prep are putting together some songs about math. They call themselves The Postulates. The music hasn’t been released yet, but they have one performance online. The song is “Check Your Solutions” and is sung to the tune of The Raconteur’s “Salute Your Solution” (music starts at 1:30).

By:

Dave Richesonon January 17, 2011at 4:36 pm

You forgot my favorite Math song!

Mandelbrot Set by Jonathan Coulton

By:

Chrison January 17, 2011at 8:16 pm

Finite Simple Group (of order 2) is part of the English classes that the new international TAs go through in the Georgia Tech School of Mathematics. The ESL instructor (yes, GT’s math department employs an ESL instructor, which helps a lot) has the lyrics typed out and uses it to teach the ITAs about words having more than one meaning, etc.

By:

Mitchon January 19, 2011at 10:19 am

I liked this one by Deidre Flint about the metric system. What ever happened to that?

By:

Rick Meeseon January 22, 2011at 4:15 pm

[...] leave you with Dave Richeson’s fun post at Division by Zero: Music is math: ten songs about mathematics. One I particularly love is I will derive. SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Wild About Math bloggers [...]

By:

Wild About Math bloggers 1/21/11 » Fun Math Blogon January 29, 2011at 5:18 pm

[...] a lighter note, we have Music is Math: Ten Songs about Mathematics from Dave Richeson of ‘Division by Zero’ fame. My favourite of the bunch is ‘A [...]

By:

Walking Randomly » Carnival of Mathematics #74 – The Tungsten Editionon February 8, 2011at 12:08 am

The calculus song “I will derive” is hilarious. In all seriousness, though, it is excellent for a learning tool because it helps people remember key mathematical concepts.

By:

Martisa Vignalion November 27, 2011at 9:55 pm

Here is a math song by tool. Fan made video

By:

Cubethinkon March 6, 2012at 2:24 pm

Given the title of the post I am surprised that Boards of Canada’s ‘Music is Math’ is missing:

By:

Florianon June 15, 2012at 5:12 am

I actually did consider including it. But I don’t know if it is “about math” :-)

By:

Dave Richesonon June 15, 2012at 8:18 am

[...] Kate Bush’s Pi is also part of a collection of best songs about mathematics I just [...]

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Mix Tape #7: When you and sleep escape me « Scientific B-sideson June 22, 2012at 7:12 am