family and youth events

Mathematics in Music: Pythagoras's String

one interval
Festival Theatre
  • Produced by Müpa Budapest
  • Matinée Concerts

Ticket prices

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Now the ancient Greeks too... The name Pythagoras is a familiar one to high school students, but what relatively few people know is that he was responsible for more than simply one of the theorems of Euclidian geometry. His contemporaries referred to the great pre-Socratic thinker as the "father of numbers", for in his view mathematics were the most important science. His ideas enjoyed a millenium-long career. On this occasion, following his teachings, our experts will talk about the numerical connections found in medieval vocal and instrumental music and illustrate them by playing them as well.

Pythagoras founded a school of philosophy in the Greek city of Kroton in southern Italy and was surrounded by adulation of nearly religious fervour. A classic story relates how music and numbers came to occupy such a central role in his life. It was supposedly with the mathematician's dramatic involvement that Kroton defeated the city of Sybaris in 510 BC: when the appropriate music was played to them, the enemy's horses began to prance as if dancing, making it impossible to defend the city. The Pythagoreans, the philosopher's followers, considered the phenomena of the world to be comprehensible on the basis of arithmetic and geometric regularities. Pythagoras became the first person in the history of science to mathematise his practical experiences when he expressed the intervals of chords in terms of the ratios of string lengths. Numbers and ratios are our entire world, and they also constitute the foundation stone of the arts and science. Speaking of the numerical nature of notes, intervals, tones and harmonies, conductor János Bali, who holds qualifications both as a mathematician and a recorder-player, serves as the artistic director of the A:N:S Chorus and is a specialist in Renaissance vocal polyphony. He and his colleagues, along with Szilveszter Szélpál, who will present items of musical and historical interest, will be sharing fascinating information with the audience.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest

Ticket information

You may purchase tickets online and in person for this performance using a Müpa Budapest gift voucher or by debiting the leisure allowance on OTP, K&H or MKB SZÉP cards.
If you purchase the tickets in person, then we also accept Edenred Gift Vouchers, and Edenred gift cards (Benefit and Family cards) as well as the culture subaccount allowance on OTP Cafeteria cards.

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The Müpa Budapest underground garage gates will be operated by an automatic number plate recognition system. Parking is free of charge for visitors with tickets to any of our paid performances on that given day. The detailed parking policy of Müpa Budapest is available here.

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  • voice, psalterium
    Emese Gyöngyvér Tóth
  • voice
    Zoltán Gavodi, Péter Patay
  • lute
    Igor Davidovics
  • harp
    Anasztázia Razvaljajeva
  • natural trumpet
    László Borsódy
  • trombone
    Ferenc Kócziás, Béla Koppányi
  • moderator
    Szilveszter Szélpál
  • music expert/conductor
    János Bali
  • A:N:S Chorus (aristic director: János Bali)

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