Daniel Forger, organist and professor of math, computational medicine and bioinformatics, will present “Bach, Big Data, Math and Music.”

Wednesday, April 15
12:15 p.m.

Community Lounge of the School of Public Health I.
1415 Washington Heights

Bio: Daniel Forger is a Professor of Mathematics and Research Professor of
Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics at the University of
Michigan. He is also an Associate of the American Guild of Organists,
won a McCord Prize in Music, and has studied organ performance with
many teachers, including James Kibbie.

Trio Sonata #2, BWV 526 by J.S. Bach
Trio Sonata #4, BWV 528 by J.S. Bach

Public Health is currently being revolutionized by mathematical
techniques analyzing “Big Data.” Can similar techniques can be used to
understand music? Forger will argue that organ music has been subject to
“Big Data” for at least 100 years, as modern keyboard action
transforms each note played into a simple on and off command to a
pipe. Forger will also argue that the Bach Trio Sonatas are ideal
candidates for “Big Data” analysis since: 1) Bach is the natural
starting point for musical analysis. 2) The trio sonatas were
important to Bach. and 3) The trio sonatas have a very uniform
structure. Forger has captured this code generated by his performance of
the Trio Sonatas, by hacking into the modern organ in his home, and
analyzed it, using some preliminary mathematical techniques. As he
performs the Trio Sonatas, graphs showing preliminary analysis will be

These are informal events to which you are invited to bring your lunch
(pack your own or stop by the Glass House Café at SPH). Programs begin
at 12:15 and conclude in time for you to reach your 1:00 appointments.