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The Physics of Musical Instruments

  • Neville H. Fletcher
  • Thomas D. Rossing

Part of the Springer Study Edition book series (SSE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Vibrating Systems

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 3-32
    3. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 33-64
    4. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 65-94
    5. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 95-124
    6. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 125-135
  3. Sound Waves

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 137-137
    2. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 139-155
    3. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 156-171
    4. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 172-204
  4. String Instruments

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 205-205
    2. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 207-234
    3. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 235-286
    4. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 287-304
    5. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 305-344
  5. Wind Instruments

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 345-345
    2. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 347-364
    3. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 365-393
    4. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 394-425
    5. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 426-466
    6. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 467-493
  6. Percussion Instruments

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 495-495
    2. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 497-532
    3. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 533-554
    4. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 555-576
    5. Neville H. Fletcher, Thomas D. Rossing
      Pages 577-605
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 607-620

About this book

Introduction

The history of musical instruments is nearly as old as the history of civilization itself, and the aesthetic principles upon which judgments of musical quality are based are intimately connected with the whole culture within which the instruments have evolved. An educated modem Western player or listener can make critical judgments about particular instruments or particular per­ formances but, to be valid, those judgments must be made within the appro­ priate cultural context. The compass of our book is much less sweeping than the first paragraph might imply, and indeed our discussion is primarily confined to Western musical instruments in current use, but even here we must take account of centuries of tradition. A musical instrument is designed and built for the playing of music of a particular type and, conversely, music is written to be performed on particular instruments. There is no such thing as an "ideal" instrument, even in concept, and indeed the unbounded possibilities of modem digital sound-synthesis really require the composer or performer to define a whole set of instruments if the result is to have any musical coherence. Thus, for example, the sound and response of a violin are judged against a mental image of a perfect violin built up from experience of violins playing music written for them over the centuries. A new instrument may be richer in sound quality and superior in responsiveness, but if it does not fit that image then it is not a better violin.

Keywords

acoustics design history mechanisms physics quality science

Authors and affiliations

  • Neville H. Fletcher
    • 1
  • Thomas D. Rossing
    • 2
  1. 1.CSIRO Australia, Research School of Physical SciencesAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsNorthern Illinois UniversityDe KalbUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-2980-3
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag New York 1991
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-0-387-94151-6
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4612-2980-3
  • Series Print ISSN 0172-6234
  • Buy this book on publisher's site