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Fibonacci Musical Compositon

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A standard piece of Fibonacci composition.

Fibonacci Musical Composition is the process of composing musical pieces using the
Fibonacci Number Sequence, which was named after Leonardo Pisano Bigollo (who
also went by the name Fibonacci). The progressions of music are composed with the
sequence accordingly, presenting a hierarchy which gives off an illusion of momentum
build-up while also sounding pleasing to the human ear.


1 Fibonacci and The Fibonacci Sequence

o 1.1 The Mathematician
o 1.2 The Numbers

2 Fibonacci Music
o 2.1 Types of Composition

3 Notable Fibonacci Music Facts

o 3.1 Mozart

4 More Information On Fibonacci Numbers and Fibonacci Music

5 References

Fibonacci and The Fibonacci Sequence

The Mathematician

Leonardo Pisano Bigollo, better known as Fibonacci.

Fibonacci, whose real name was Leonardo Pisano Bigollo was an Italian
Mathematician that lived during the Medieval Period. His book, the Liber Abaci, first
introduced Hindu-Arabic Numbers to the western world. Although Fibonacci did not

originate or develop the sequence he would later become famous for, as the sequence
had been discussed earlier in Indian mathematics since the 6th century, he is cited as
having used it in an example within the third section of his book. In his example,
Fibonacci illustrates the growth of a group of rabbits in an ideal situation, which is
where the Fibonacci Sequence had its beginnings.

The Numbers
The Fibonacci Sequence is a special group of numbers that work in a subsequent pattern
of addition. For example:
This is how the sequence works (from 0 to 8)...
"0+1=1, 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8"
and these are the resulting numbers of the sequence (from 0 to 8)...
The sequence begins with 0 and 1, they are added together and the result is 1. Then 1 is
added to the next fixed number, that number being 1 again. The result is 2 and then the
previous fixed number is added to the current sum. Accordingly, the next procession in
the sequence would be 1+2, as shown above. The sequence grows exponentially from
this base of foundation using the same pattern.

Fibonacci Music
Types of Composition
Bellow is a list of three known methods used to compose Fibonacci music...
Binary Method:
When using the Binary Method a composer will create a piece consisting of a pattern
that follows a 0 and 1 system. This system relates to the Fibonacci Sequence by
allowing for a hierarchy that gets infinitely close to the golden ratio to occur. Since it is
very difficult to subdivide this system into any time signature, the simplest course of
action for an individual to take is to compose a musical build-up from a set foundation.
For example, a composer will choose the length of their smallest 0 and 1.

A Binary piece entitled: S-A-S-H-A.

ex. 0 = a 32nd note, 1 = a 16th note
It is from this small increment that a composer will start to build upon by using the
Fibonacci Sequence. As the piece progresses so do the length of the notes. The 0s at
32nd notes become 16th notes and 1s at 16th notes become 8th notes. The sequence is
now underway as one can notice that the original 0 note length has grown by 2, while
the original 1 note length has grown by 3 from that of the original 0's length. Next, the 0
will have grown by 3 beats while the 1 will have grown by 5 beats. The hierarchy
continues in this fashion as the notes grow in accordance to the Fibonacci Sequence as
do their measures as well. This method also allows for a composer to make variations
with the layers at ease, thus making very melodic music possible.
Click this link Binary Music to listen to S-A-S-H-A and other Binary pieces.
Click this link Project Math 2033 Final Mix to listen to Math 2033 student Christian
Linares' original Binary piece, which is also available for FREE download.
Note to Number Method:
The Note to Number method involves creating a rhythm or melody by assigning a note
to a number on the Fibonacci Sequence through Modular Arithmetic (sometimes also
referred to as clock arithmetic). This is achievable due to the relation of Fibonacci
numbers to a musical scale. Within a musical scale there are eight notes, the fifth and
third notes of a scale create the basic foundation of all chords, which are based on the
original whole tone that is located two steps from the root note, this note being the fist
one in the scale.[2] To start, one would write out numbers on the Fibonacci Sequence at a
length of their discretion.
ex. 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21...
Then, the individual would rework the numbers using "clock arithmetic" to receive a
number on a scale from 0 to 7.
ex. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 1, 2, 4...
Next, the composer would pick a base or "root" note and then go up the scale from that
root to the next octave. Since there are eight notes and the fist note would be starting
from zero the results would have a note at every number up to seven.

A piano and its keys in relation to the Fibonacci Sequence.

Number | Note

G mid

G high

Finally, the composer would only need to plug-in notes to their designated number and
arrange note lengths at their discretion, thus resulting in a new rhythm or melody that
would sound pleasing to the human ear, so long as the Fibonacci pattern is followed.

Listen to a melody made by following the Note To Number Method

Beat Ratio Method:

This method involves the use of beats within a musical time frame in order to achieve a
golden ratio hierarchy through the Fibonacci Sequence. For example, one may chose to
use "4/4 time", meaning 4 beats per measure, to compose their piece. In relation to the
length of a note or "beat" an individual may have:

1 whole note per measure

2 half notes per measure
4 quarter notes per measure
8 eighth notes per measure
16 sixteenth notes per measure
32 thirty-second notes per measure
64 sixty-fourth notes per measure
It is through tiers of measures and beat lengths that mimic the golden ratio, that allow
for a sequential hierarchy to take place within the composition. In the first "bar or
measure, one would have a single whole note which would mark 4 beats. The next tier
would incorporate two half notes marking the 4 beats. It is by the third measure that the
golden ratio starts to form as a result of the sequence. In the third measure two quarter
notes are used and one half note is used marking the 4 beats. The fourth measure will
contain four eighth notes and one half note marking the 4 beats. The fifth will contain
eight eighth notes marking the 4 beats. The next and final section will contain twelve
sixteenth notes and one quarter note marking the 4 beats within a measure. It can be
noted that the number of notes placed within each measure thus far has incorporated a
number in the Fibonacci Sequence.
Measure 1 = 1 note
Measure 2 = 2 notes
Measure 3 = 3 notes
Measure 4 = 5 notes
Measure 5 = 8 notes
Measure 6 = 13 notes
Once all of these measures are stacked upon each other, a musical hierarchy is reached
and Fibonacci music is successfully composed.

Notable Fibonacci Music Facts

Mozart; at around 12 or 13 years of age.

It has been said that Mozart used the Fibonacci Sequence in some of his works. The
scribbling of mathematical equations have been found on the side columns of his
compositions. Although these equations have been attributed to the famous composer
weighing the outcomes of a local lottery, many believe this was the Fibonacci Sequence
at work. Sonata No. 1 in C Major is the composer's most associated composition to
Fibonacci numbers.[3]
Listen to an exert from Sonata No. 1 in C Major

More Information On Fibonacci Numbers and

Fibonacci Music
Visit: Textist Productions
- for a small 32sec. flash video that quickly and adequately describes Fibonacci
Numbers and the Golden Ratio.
Visit: The Guardian
- for an interesting look at "Strength in numbers: How Fibonacci taught us how to
Visit: Motivate Maths
- to learn about Fibonacci musical frequencies as well as compose your very own
Fibonacci Melody using "clock arithmetic".
Visit: Youtube
- and watch "Fibonacci Music", in which a college student speaks about Fibonacci
Numbers and their relation to Mozart, Popular music, and one of her own Fibonacci
Compositions. She also goes on to explain the Beat Ratio Method, which is what she
used to compose her piece.

1. Dr. Goodman Strauss, notes regarding binary.
2. http://www.goldennumber.net/music.htm
3. http://techcenter.davidson.k12.nc.us/group2/music.htm