[music-dsp] Basic Maths Topics for Music-DSP

Ross Bencina rossb-lists at audiomulch.com
Mon Oct 2 23:56:54 EDT 2006

Hi Sam

I agree with Mike and Erik that basic algebra, Linear Algebra and complex 
numbers are important.

For linear algebra you could check out this online book, I think it's quite 

You can probably pick up a fair bit of fundamental stuff at mathworld:

And of course everyone should have at least one friend with a degree in 
mathematics... ;-)

Another thing: There's always more than one way to explain something. At 
least initially, you should be selective about the kind of DSP books you're 
reading -- there are quite a few out there for musicians (Ken Steiglitz, F. 
Richard Moore and Perry Cook come to mind as authors). Don't feel 
discouraged if you can't grok a text intended for a graduate engineering 

Best wishes


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sam Ferguson" <thefishfinger at ihug.com.au>
To: "A discussion list for music-related DSP" <music-dsp at music.columbia.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2006 10:05 AM
Subject: [music-dsp] Basic Maths Topics for Music-DSP

> Hi Music-DSPr's -
> I have a kind of broad question - What kind of maths should I know to  get 
> round a dsp book successfully, and where can I read about this  maths 
> before attempting my dsp book.
> I've got a background in music, and thus most of my highschool maths  is 
> but a memory, and now I find it would be very useful. I'm usually  ok with 
> reading relatively well written books to understand these  types of 
> concepts, and I work in a fair number of computer  programming languages 
> successfully. However, when I open a proper  maths book I feel a bit 
> blinded by science; the breadth of topics is  enormous, and I don't think 
> I can cope with all of it (without  starting an entire undergraduate 
> degree's worth of work). However,  when I open a dsp book I look at some 
> of the maths in it and can't  even understand some of the basic 
> terminology/symbols so I'm  obviously in need of some of it. I just want 
> to understand the  language so I can learn how to read these papers.
> So my request is for a list of the maths topics that would be helpful  for 
> me, and an order in which I should attempt them.
> Many thanks for any help you can provide.
> Sam Ferguson
> Faculty of Architecture
> The University of Sydney
> sferguson at arch.usyd.edu.au
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