The Physics of Musical Instruments / Edition 2

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While the history of musical instruments is nearly as old as civilisation itself, the science of acoustics is quite recent. By understanding the physical basis of how instruments are used to make music, one hopes ultimately to be able to give physical criteria to distinguish a fine instrument from a mediocre one. At that point science may be able to come to the aid of art in improving the design and performance of musical instruments. As yet, many of the subtleties in musical sounds of which instrument makers and musicians are aware remain beyond the reach of modern acoustic measurements. This book describes the results of such acoustical investigations - fascinating intellectual and practical exercises. Addressed to readers with a reasonable grasp of physics who are not put off by a little mathematics, this book discusses most of the traditional instruments currently in use in Western music. A guide for all who have an interest in music and how it is produced, as well as serving as a comprehensive reference for those undertaking research in the field.

This thoroughly comprehensive and highly respected reference organizes what is known of the hows and whys behind the production and tonality of musical tones produced by the complete gamut of Western musical instruments. Addressed to readers who are not put off by a little physics and mathematics, this revised study edition describes the results of recent and historical acoustical investigations. 486 illustrations. Approx.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Essentially everything you have ever wanted to know about the physics of musical instruments" PHYSICS TODAY
"a rigor, graphical detail, and verbal description." AUDIO
Books of similar title are most commonly addressed to general readers, and presume only the command of mathematics/physics which might reasonably be expected of your typical fiddler. Lothar Cremer's The Physics of the violin MIT, 1983 provides a beautiful example of the kind of writing which might result when a scientific author elects to "pull out all the stops" in treating the subtleties of such a theme. The present volume occupies the middle ground, and represents therefore a particularly useful contribution to the literature; one encounters here some partial differential equations, some formulae, but also a lot of clear writing and many good figures. The treatment is comprehensive and reasonably detailed. NW Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441931207
  • Publisher: Springer New York
  • Publication date: 12/1/2010
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of hardcover 2nd ed. 1998
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 756
  • Sales rank: 734,937
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I: Vibrating Systems. Free and Forced Vibrations of Simple Systems. Continuous Systems in One Dimension: Strings and Bars. Two-Dimensional Systems: Membranes, Plates, and Shells. Coupled Vibrating Systems. Nonlinear Systems.- Part II: Sound Waves. Sound Waves in Air. Sound Radiation. Pipes, Horns, and Cavities.- Part III: String Instruments. Guitars and Lutes. Bowed String Instruments. Harps, Harpsicords, Clavicords, and Dulcimers. The Piano.- Part IV: Wind Instruments. Sound generation by Reed and Lip Vibrations. Lip-driven Brass Instruments. Woodwind Reed Instruments. Flutes and Flue Organ Pipes. Pipe Organs.- Part V: Percussion Instruments. Drums. Mallet Percussion Instruments. Cymbals, Gongs, Plates, and Steel Drums. Bells.- Part VI: Materials. Materials for Musical Instruments.- Name Index.- Subject Index.

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