Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for MUC 233 Fall 2022

View archive version »
Course Number:
MUC 233
Course Title:
Math in the Arts
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Covers mathematical concepts as they are used in visual, sonic, generative, interactive, and computational arts. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Define and historically situate key mathematical concepts in the arts: perspective and proportion, ratios (the golden ratio), planar symmetries, polyhedra, fractal dimensions, periodicity, and harmony.
  • Use mathematical concepts common in generative and computational art for creative purposes including integers, floats, functions, arrays, tables, and algorithms.
  • Use computer-automated data analysis to develop visuals and/or sounds for contemporary datasets of historically unprecedented scope: datasets with hundreds or thousands of variables and millions or billions of cases.
  • Recount historical instances of people effecting significant policy and/or culture change with mathematical tools.
  • Critically evaluate the cultural, ethical, and economic implications of mathematics in the contemporary world and identify the critical roles of artists in the advancement of socially responsible mathematics.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Assignments
  • Class participation
  • Group work
  • Exams

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • History of mathematics in the arts--perspectives and influential concepts.
  • Mathematics in the visual arts: perspective, proportion, ratios, fractals etc.
  • Mathematics in music: acoustics, waves, tempi, rhythm, meter, polymeter, periodicity, tuning systems, harmonics etc.
  • Mathematics in computational arts: including but not limited to integers, floats, fractions, percents, functions, arrays, tables, algorithms, probabilities, exponents, square roots, radicals
  • Converting, scaling and mapping (including but limited to beats per minute to milliseconds, MIDI notes to frequencies, OSC datagrams to frequency cutoffs)
  • Data visualization and sonification (manual and automated)
  • Critical evaluation of the social, cultural and economic influence of mathematics and the role of artists in the exercise of socially responsible math.