The Science of Musical Sound

Volume 1: Stringed Instruments, Pipe Organs, and the Human Voice

  • William Ralph Bennett Jr.
  • Andrew C. H. Morrison

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvii
  2. William Ralph Bennett Jr.
    Pages 1-30
  3. William Ralph Bennett Jr.
    Pages 31-56
  4. William Ralph Bennett Jr.
    Pages 57-94
  5. William Ralph Bennett Jr.
    Pages 95-143
  6. William Ralph Bennett Jr.
    Pages 145-247
  7. William Ralph Bennett Jr.
    Pages 249-297
  8. William Ralph Bennett Jr.
    Pages 299-327
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 329-440

About this book


This textbook is a product of William Bennett’s work in developing and teaching a course on the physics of music at Yale University to a diverse audience of musicians and science students in the same class. The book is a culmination of over a decade of teaching the course and weaves together historical descriptions of the physical phenomena with the author’s clear interpretations of the most important aspects of the science of music and musical instruments. Many of the historical examples are not found in any other textbook available on the market. As the co-inventor of the Helium-Neon laser, Prof. Bennett’s knowledge of physics was world-class. As a professor at one of the most prestigious liberal-arts universities in the world, his appreciation for culture and humanities shines through. The book covers the basics of oscillations, waves and the analysis techniques necessary for understanding how musical instruments work. All types of stringed instruments, pipe organs, and the human voice are covered in this volume. A second volume covers the remaining families of musical instruments as well as selected other topics. Readers without a background in acoustics will enjoy learning the physics of the Science of Musical Sound from a preeminent scientist of the 20th century. Those well versed in acoustics will discover wonderful illustrations and photographs depicting familiar concepts in new and enlightening ways.


physics of music physics of music textbook physics of musical instruments physics of sound science of musical instruments science of sound science of sound undergraduate

Authors and affiliations

  • William Ralph Bennett Jr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

Editors and affiliations

  • Andrew C. H. Morrison
    • 1
  1. 1.Joliet Junior CollegeJolietUSA

Bibliographic information