Rachel Wells Hall
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Saint Joseph’s University
5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131

I study Mathematical Music Theory and Ethnomathematics.

The set of two- and one-note chords forms a thrice twisted Mobius strip, with the one-note chords on the boundary forming a trefoil knot.  (Click for a larger version of this image.)

My research involves the application of mathematics to music theory – that is, the use of mathematics to describe and analyze musical structures such as rhythms, scales, chords, and melodies.  I am currently writing a book that incorporates a historical survey of the field and my original research.  My current projects concern defining distance in orbifolds representing chords and chord types, relating integer tilings to patterns in African drumming, and applying the theory of homometric sets to chord theory.  In addition, I study Ethnomathematics (the study of mathematical thinking found outside of what has been traditionally defined as “mathematics”).  Previously, I studied Operator Algebras and completed my doctoral thesis on Hecke C*-Algebras.



Major presentations (see CV for more)


I completed a thesis in the field of Operator Algebras under the direction of Nigel Higson. My thesis, entitled “Hecke C*-Algebras” concerns an analysis of Hecke algebras from the perspective of C*-algebra theory. A summary of the article “Hecke C*-algebras, unitary representations, and the geometry of trees,” which is based on my thesis research, is available here.



Two students, Bobby Kelly ‘02 and Joe Flannick ‘03, have written undergraduate theses under my direction.

Rachel Wells Hall /

Last modified 12/14/10 10:04 AM.