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Why does a harpsichord sound different from a piano? For that matter, why does middle C on a piano differ from middle C on a tuning fork, a trombone, or a flute? Good Vibrations explains in clear, friendly language the out-of-sight physics responsible not only for these differences but also for the whole range of noises we call music.
The physical properties and history of sound are fascinating to study. Barry Parker's tour of the physics of music details the science of how instruments, the acoustics of rooms, electronics, and humans create and alter the varied sounds we hear. Using physics as a base, Parker discusses the history of music, how sounds are made and perceived, and the various effects of acting on sounds. In the process, he demonstrates what acoustics can teach us about quantum theory and explains the relationship between harmonics and the theory of waves.
Peppered throughout with anecdotes and examples illustrating key concepts, this invitingly written book provides a firm grounding in the actual and theoretical physics of music.
Johns Hopkins University Press
— David Dolak
— Joseph Arellano
I Sound and Sound Waves
1 Making Music: How Sound Is Made 13
2 The Sound of Music: Perception 28
3 Good Vibes: Waves in Motion 41
II The Building Blocks of Music
4 Making Music Beautiful: Complex Musical Tones 61
5 The Well-Tempered Scale 77
6 Down Melody Lane with Chords and Chord Sequences 93
7 "You've Gotta Have Rhythm": Rhythm and Types of Music 109
III Musical Instruments
8 Why a Piano Is Not a Harpsichord 131
9 The Stringed Instruments: Making Music with the Violin and the Guitar 146
10 The Brass Instruments: Trumpet and Trombone 165
11 The Woodwinds: Clarinet and Saxophone 179
12 The Most Versatile Instrument: The Singing Voice 189
IV New Technologies and Acoustics
13 Electronic Music 211
14 Making a MIDI Recording 227
15 The Acoustics of Concert Halls and Studios 244
Suggested Readings 267
Posted July 28, 2012
Posted November 1, 2011
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