Musical acoustics presents a unique opportunity to see science and art working together. This book is a balanced presentation of all aspects of musical acoustics. It explains how our ears and brains interpret musical events, and connects traditional physical analyses to musical reality. The purpose of the book is two fold: (1) To help students use simple physical concepts as tools for understanding how music works, and (2) To use students' interest in music to motivate the study and appreciation of scientific methods. Any given chapter will challenge students with several points that are not obvious on the first reading. Starred sections are optional and are not a prerequisite to later sections.
1. THE NATURE OF SOUND. Acoustics and Music. Organizing Our Study of Sound. The Physical Nature of Sound. The Speed of Sound. Pressure and Sound Amplitude. 2. WAVES AND VIBRATIONS. The Time Element in Sound. Waveforms. Functional Relations. Simple Harmonic Oscillation. Work, Energy, and Resonance. 3. SOURCES OF SOUND. Classifying Sound Sources. Percussion Instruments. String Instruments. Wind Instruments. Source Size. Sound from the Natural Environment. 4. SOUND PROPAGATION. Reflection and Refraction. Diffraction. Outdoor Music. The Doppler Effect. Interference and Beats. 5. SOUND INTENSITY AND ITS MEASUREMENT. Amplitude, Energy, and Intensity. Sound Level and the Decibel Scale. The Inverse-Square Law. Environmental Noise. Combined Sound Levels and Interference. 6. THE HUMAN EAR AND ITS RESPONSE. The Mechanism of the Human Ear. Limits of Audibility and Discrimination. Characteristics of Steady Single Tones. Loudness and Intensity. Pitch and Frequency. Pitch and Loudness Together. Timbre and Instrument Recognition. 7. ELEMENTAL INGREDIENTS OF MUSIC. Organizing Musical Events in Time. Melody and Harmony. Scales and Intervals. The Harmonic Series. 8. SOUND SPECTRA AND ELECTRONIC SYNTHESIS. Prototype Steady Tones. Periodic Waves and Fourier Spectra. Modulated Tones. Electronic and Computer Music. 9. PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS AND NATURAL MODES. Searching for Simplicity. Coupled Pendulums. Natural Modes and Their Frequencies. Tuning Forks and Xylophone Bars. Drums, Cymbals, and Bells. Striking Points and Vibration Recipes. Damped Vibrations. 10. PIANO AND GUITAR STRINGS. Natural Modes of a Thin String. Vibration Recipes for Plucked Strings. Vibration Recipes for the Piano. Piano Scaling and Tuning. 11. THE BOWED STRING. Violin Construction. Bowing and String Vibrations. Resonance. Sound Radiation from String Instruments. 12. BLOWN PIPES AND FLUTES. Air Column Vibrations. Fluid Jets and Edgetones. Organ Flue Pipes. Organ Registration and Design. Fingerholes and Recorders. The Transverse Flute. 13. BLOWN REED INSTRUMENTS. Organ Reed Pipes. The Reed Woodwinds. The Brass Family. Playable Notes and Harmonic Spectra. Radiation. 14. THE HUMAN VOICE. The Vocal Apparatus. Sound Production. Formants. Special Characteristics of the Singing Voice. 15. ROOM ACOUSTICS. General Criteria for Room Acoustics. Reverberation Time. Reverberation Calculation. Reverberant Sound Levels. Sound Reinforcement. Spatial Perception. 16. SOUND REPRODUCTION. Electric and Magnetic Concepts. Transducers. Microphones. Amplifiers. Recording. Loudspeakers. Multiphonic Sound Reproduction. 17. THE EAR REVISITED. Types of Pitch Judgment. Pitch Perception Mechanisms. Modern Pitch Perception Theory. Critical Bands. Combination Tones. Loudness and Masking. Timbre. 18. HARMONIC INTERVALS AND TUNING. Interval Perception. Intervals and the Harmonic Series. Musical Scales. The Impossibility of Perfect Tuning. Tuning and Temperament. 19. STRUCTURE IN MUSIC. Melodies and Modes. Chords and Harmonic Progressions. Consonance and Dissonance. Musical Forms and Styles. 20. EPILOGUE: SCIENCE AND ESTHETICS. APPENDIX A. WRITTEN MUSIC. APPENDIX B. THE METRIC SYSTEM. Units for Physical Measurements. Scientific Notation and Computation. APPENDIX G. GLOSSARY. APPENDIX H. HINTS AND ANSWERS TO SELECTED EXERCISES. Index. The Chromatic Scale; The Chromatic Series Slider.