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Volume 2, Issue 2, March 2018

Knots, Music and DNA

Maria Mannone


Category theory, Musical gesture, Composition, Visual art, Synesthesia


Musical gestures connect the symbolic layer of the score to the physical layer of sound. I focus here on the mathematical theory of musical gestures, and I propose its generalization to include braids and knots. In this way, it is possible to extend the formalism to cover more case studies, especially regarding conducting gestures. Moreover, recent developments involving comparisons and similarities between gestures of orchestral musicians can be contextualized in the frame of braided monoidal categories. Because knots and braids can be applied to both music and biology (they apply to knotted proteins, for example), I end the article with a new musical rendition of DNA.

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