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Good Vibrations

The Physics of Music

Barry Parker

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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…

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.

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Good Vibrations

Barry Parker

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Reviews

Reviews

Good Vibrations deals, in a nontechnical manner, with the very interesting subject of the physics of music.

Good Vibrations provides many interesting facts and connections between physics and music for the general reader.

It is seriously easy to understand... It is clear that Parker loves having been born into a world that includes music. Reading this book is like listening to a teacher who worships his subject matter.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
288
ISBN
9780801892646
Illustration Description
11 halftones, 156 line drawings
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
I. Sound and Sound Waves
1. Making Music: How Sound Is Made
2. The Sound of Music: Perception
3. Good Vibes: Waves in Motion
II. The Building Blocks of Music
4. Making Music

Acknowledgments
Introduction
I. Sound and Sound Waves
1. Making Music: How Sound Is Made
2. The Sound of Music: Perception
3. Good Vibes: Waves in Motion
II. The Building Blocks of Music
4. Making Music Beautiful: Complex Musical Tones
5. The Well-Tempered Scale
6. Down Melody Lane with Chords and Chord Sequences
7. "You've Gotta Have Rhythm": Rhythm and Types of Music
III. Musical Instruments
8. Why a Piano Is Not a Harpsichord
9. The Stringed Instruments: Making Music with the Violin and the Guitar
10. The Brass Instruments: Trumpet and Trombone
11. The Woodwinds: Clarinet and Saxophone
12. The Most Versatile Instrument: The Singing Voice
IV. New Technologies and Acoustics
13. New Technologies and Acoustics
14. Making a MIDI Recording
15. The Acoustics of Concert Halls and Studios
Epilogue
Suggested Readings
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Barry Parker

Barry Parker is a professor emeritus of physics at Idaho State University and the author of The Isaac Newton School of Driving, also available from Johns Hopkins.