Mathematics Instrumentals A List


I found the mathematics topic hard going this week.  I didn’t fall in love with much of the music and I had too much to do over the weekend to give the topic enough attention and love.  There were some last minute panic messages to a friend about how shit this was going to be and the much appreciated responses calmed me down and focused my attention again.  I can’t lie though, the advice of trying not to give so much of a f**k about this silly game didn’t quite stick.  I give a f**k about too many things; giving a f**k => to worry => lack of confidence in my ability to do the thing I give a f**k about.  It’s funny that he gave me that advice.  It’s the second time in a week someone has suggested such a course of action.  Only the other day a conversation with a colleague veered into similar territory.  They told me about a book they are currently reading to help them with their “giving too much of a f**k” issues.  It’s predictably called  The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k and it does exactly what it says on the tin.  They told me I need it in my life.  My mini meltdown while putting the RR playlist and write up together tells me I do.

I digress.  What I really wanted to do with the RR playlist about mathematics was to create a set of instrumental tracks from the nominations – I bottled it.  I lack the knowledge about maths in music to pull off something that.  Bastard confidence thing again.  So I thought I’d stick it here instead for you all the enjoy.  I think it’s much better than the one I put up in The Guardian, but I have no accompanying words; the music does the talking.


30 thoughts on “Mathematics Instrumentals A List

  1. I am also reading that book as a bit of light relief from the real world.

    It gets a bit repetitive but the summary of the summary is to ensure you realise what is worth caring about (giving a phuck) and what’s really not worth your energy (the not giving of a phuck)

  2. It’s not easy to put together a playlist of instrumentals even for a regular topic. So you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Haven’t listened to the RR list yet, but it looks good. Cheers.

  3. What you need is some chill-out time with Aunty Ali, a nice cup of tea and a bun. (Actually I’m the most stressed person I know, but you could watch me and learn what NOT to do).

  4. Personally, I’ve discovered that not taking on too much (like creating a Spillpost almost every day!) reduces the quantity of things to give a f**k about, and hence releases a little more brainpower to deal with each one…. But I reckon blokes probably give less of a toss generally!

    Maths and music are inextricably intertwined, both rhythmically and harmonically, so words shouldn’t be required, and I am enjoying this list a lot so far, Sarah. I have long been fascinated by unusual time signatures, particularly when they don’t overpower the song, and had a go at creating a discussion about them a while back ( (the player has changed since I posted that)).

    • Thanks Chris. I know I bite off too much, but that is a coping mechanism of sorts in itself.
      I’ve just read your post – really helpful to understand the time signature thing better. I’ve not listened to the tracks yet, but will tomorrow – not sure I’ll manage to get through all 73 comments (73??!! wow!! so much brain power).

  5. That’s very enjoyable, thanks. I personally really like the idea of putting up an instrumentals only playlist on RR for any given topic but to be honest I think you’d probably need a thick skin if you were going to do that. In general people do seem generally to expect “songs” with words and have often been quick to criticise the inclusion of instrumentals.

    Not that that is a reason as such for conforming to the norm, but you’d be taking a certain amount of flak on board if you went all-out instrumental I suspect.

  6. I’m listening to this when I should be listening to surreal and disturbing songs. Hey, that’s how little of a f…..
    Actually, it’s just displacement behaviour. Enjoying the music though and I just spotted part of the soundtrack of Drowning By Numbers. Who nommed that? I want to watch the film again now.

    • I saw you were doing that topic. Good luck with that one!
      A nominator called Pacosantos suggested several tracks from the soundtrack. I spent a couple of weeks at the back end of last year with it on loop in the car. Very nice.

  7. In the early ’60’s Tom Leher, a mathematician who was teaching at Harvard, started writing satyrical songs that became very popular. For me, one was very memorable.There was a mathematical revolution that apparently was the beginning of the digital/computer development. My wife was an elementary school teacher who had to teach mathematics to 6 year old kids so I spent many nights sharing her struggle with this subject. Tom Leher’s song was “New Math”, it was a satyrical attempt to introduce the general population to the concepts of New Math, it absolutely bypassed me, I guess I was too invested in ‘old math’.
    Youtube has it and it’s well worth a listen:

    • There were a lot of nominations for Tom Lehrer songs, but I was really hesitant to list too many satirical songs or joke songs. It was bad enough putting TMBG and Danny Kaye in there to be honest. However I absolutely accept your point about kids learning from tunes that worm into their brains and are easy to remember. My daughter’s current maths teacher has his own YouTube channel called Maths is Fun with Mr Nunn and the kids love it.
      A few years ago they both learned a lot about shapes whilst watching Peter Weatherall’s videos on YouTube. The Polygon Song is the best…na na na na na na just a boring square

  8. Nice idea! Especially as the list includes three from me! Now off to listen to the others. Long live giveafuckery!

  9. As a total newbie to RR, I am grateful you did this (not just because my suggestion made the cut). As for the issue you raise, I find that breathing deeply helps. And picking your battles.

    • Good to see you here Tim! Thanks for taking the time to read and listen. It’s always good to meet new RR players too. If you fancy ever adding something to The ‘Spill (doesn’t have to be about music) just let us know – all writing welcome!

  10. I was on holiday last week so didn’t join in, and haven’t had a chance to listen to either list yet, but I really enjoyed the column Sarah.

    I’m trying not to give too many fucks about politics at the moment, but it’s hard.

  11. Pingback: Mathematics Instrumentals A List – SEO

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