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Hofstadter on Chopin

I'm pretty sure Hofstadter's discussion of Chopin's music is in his first book,
his collection of Scientific American columns, "Metamagical Themas" (an anagram
of his predecessor Martin Gardner's column, "Mathematical Games"). As we drifted
into Chopin, I was about to ask how many people had read Hoftstadter on Chopin.
I recall that Hofstadter is quite fascinated by the visual symmetry
transformations (i.e. eery musical sense and richness when read upside-down) in
Chopin's scores. I remember his largely mathematical analyses of Chopin (and of
Bach in GEB) as being extraordinarily fascinating, coming as they do from the
mathematical realm rather than the more accustomed realm of musical scholarship.
The whole book is a profoundly fascinating read, eventually reaching a
"crescendo" on the mathematical analysis of the politics of the global nuclear
arms race and disarmament. But none of it is dry math -- Hoftstadter always
weaves his discussions with the human dimension and the highest esthetics.

Bob Merkin

Bradley Lehman wrote:

> > I can only think
> >of two Chopin studies (just off the top of my head) which can be seriously
> >regarded as contrapuntal:- the op. 25 C sharp minor and the middle section
> >of the octave study.
> Another etude possibly to add would be the Op 25 #11 (A minor, "Winter
> Wind") -- or, at least, Douglas Hofstadter got some analytical mileage out
> of this one with his diagrams in _Goedel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden
> Braid_.  (Or was it the sequel, _Metamagical Themas_?  One of those two.
> Neither one is really a book about music, but both are fascinating on topics
> of structure and logic.)
> Brad Lehman