In your opinion, what connections do you see between music and finance?

The eighth question I am being asked for the book research mentioned in an earlier post is:

In your opinion, what connections do you see between music and finance?

As I responded in an earlier answer, I do not consider myself a finance person. I’m in a financial-type company, but I’m the marketing guy.

There certainly is a connection between music and finance (or math, to be more accurate). Music IS math. There are a certain number of beats per measure and all the notes within those measures must add up to the time signature. So as one is reading music, he/she is constantly and very rapidly working doing the math as the different length notes are whizzing by. For an experienced musician, the calculations are being don subconsciously, but they are nonetheless being done. I think that develops an intuitive sense for math.

But to be honest, none of this “intuitive math skill” is needed in my day to day work.`


  1. Jim Winters on October 14, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    I am not sure if you mean finance per se or just numbers. With the former, having enough money does help us to be artists, to exist in the arts. Yet you might have meant numbers in general. Music is a funny system if you think about. It is based on 7 or 12. What I mean is that scales have that many tones. The system is called a twelve-tone system. The analysis of chords is like “drowning in numbers.” Our trombones are sort of a base-seven system with the positions. The staff is sort of base five with its lines. The physics of music is all about numbers with frequency and *sine waves. If we transpose, we are doing an across-the-board adding or take away of some numbered interval… So yes, music theory is all about numbers!
    *The sinusoid wave is a mathematical curve.
    You might have meant efficiency. I think this too can be developed as a line of thought. As musicians we do think about input vs. output– sound, air, volume, effort, forcing, being heard and projection.
    Finally, music is filled with and connected to history, politics, culture, religion, activism, empathy, and connecting. Music is a coded system for communicating feelings & hopes. So is money maybe in a way. (Money can be used for evil, too.) I think that money is far more artificial than music, but nevertheless this has been a nice moment to consider these two in one thought. Quite interesting…

  2. Michael Lake on October 15, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Actually, something different. The questioner was doing research for a book and wanted me to answer based on what I do for a living, which is certainly NOT trombone playing. Even though my company can be considered to be in the financial industry, I am by no means a financial person. I’m a marketing guy and CMO of the company. I tried to conform my answer to the intent of the question by connecting math to music.

    I am, however, a student of economics and as such would argue with your point that money is more artificial than music. Putting aside that the government has debased our currency into artificial pieces of paper that they must force people to trade, money in itself has a tangible value. By trading it to others, we acquire our food, shelter and everything else needed to keep us alive. So while the “money” in our pockets may be artificial compared to the precious metal we should be trading and calling money, I would not at all call artificial the concept of money that we all use to trade for life’s goods and services.

Leave a Comment