Schwarz function

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Riemann–Schwarz function

An analytic function realizing a conformal mapping of a triangle bounded by arcs of circles onto the upper half-plane (or unit disc) that remains single-valued under unrestricted analytic continuation. A Schwarz function is an automorphic function. The corresponding group depends on the form of the mapped triangle. The requirement of single-valuedness is satisfied only in the case when the angles of the triangle are , , , where , and are some specially-chosen natural numbers.

If , one obtains rectilinear triangles for which the only possibilities are: , (a semi-strip); , , ; , ; . In all these cases the Schwarz functions are represented by trigonometric functions or Weierstrass elliptic functions and are automorphic; their group is the group of motions of the Euclidean plane.

If , there are the following possibilities: , arbitrary; , ; , , ; , , . In all these cases the Schwarz functions are rational automorphic functions; their group is a finite group of motions of a sphere. As a result of the relationship between this group and regular polygons, such Schwarz functions are also called polyhedral functions.

Finally, if , then infinitely-many different triangles are possible, since may increase indefinitely. Here, the Schwarz functions are automorphic functions with a continuous singular curve (circle or straight line). In particular, the cases of , , and (a circular triangle with zero angles) lead to the modular functions (cf. Modular function) and , respectively. The Schwarz functions were studied by H.A. Schwarz [1].


[1] H.A. Schwarz, "Ueber diejenigen Fälle, in welchen die Gaussische hypergeometrische Reihe eine algebraische Function ihres vierten Elementes darstellt (nebst zwei Figurtafeln)" J. Reine Angew. Math. , 75 (1873) pp. 292–335
[2] V.V. Golubev, "Vorlesungen über Differentialgleichungen im Komplexen" , Deutsch. Verlag Wissenschaft. (1958) (Translated from Russian)
[3] L.R. Ford, "Automorphic functions" , Chelsea, reprint (1951)


In the case of a rectilinear triangle the functions are also called Schwarz triangle functions (cf. [a1], [a2]) or Schwarzian -functions [a3]. These functions can be written as the quotient of two independent solutions of a hypergeometric equation (with explicit expressions for its coefficients in terms of the triangle angles), cf. [a3], p. 206. Conformal mapping of circular polygons to a half-plane is also discussed in [a3] (Chapt. V, Sect. 7).


[a1] L.V. Ahlfors, "Complex analysis" , McGraw-Hill (1979) pp. 241
[a2] C. Carathéodory, "Theory of functions" , 2 , Chelsea, reprint (1981) pp. Part 7, Chapts. 2–3
[a3] Z. Nehari, "Conformal mapping" , Dover, reprint (1975) pp. 2
How to Cite This Entry:
Schwarz function. E.D. Solomentsev (originator), Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This text originally appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098