The writing throughout is delightfully clear and easy to read, and the numerous small illustrations break up the pages and add interest
. Students (and teachers!) not having had the benefit of such a course should certainly buy the book and read it. I also recommend it warmly to the general reader who would simply like to know more about the sounds he or she enjoys.
- Neville Fletcher in Acoustics Australia
Johnston offers a charming, informal, and information-packed volume aimed squarely both at the musician who wants to understand better some of the physics behind the sound that various instruments make and at the physicist who would like to understand better the workings of musical instruments
. Lots of material is covered, and the book is worthy of careful examination
. It belongs in all college libraries.
- K.L. Schick in CHOICE
I find it 'unputdownable,' combining a thorough development of the mathematical and physical basis of music, dealt with in a historical framework, with interludes dealing in details with the different families of musical instruments. This new edition has updated the sections on electronic music and digital technology, which have changed vastly in the last decide, and which feature prominently in the new AS/A2 specifications. Thoroughly recommended.
- John Miller in School Science Review
It is an ideal book for a secondary school library
it also makes a useful supplementary text for the undergraduate module in musical instrument acoustics that we run at the ISVR
. A particular strength is the detailed discussion of the development of musical scales and temperaments, a subject that is so often glossed over.
- M.C.M. Wright, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 264, 1209-1210, (2003)
About the Author
Ian Johnston spent his early years on a pineapple farm in southern Queensland, studied physics and mathematics at the Universities of Queensland and Sydney, and was appointed to a lecturing position at the University of Sydney in the late 1960s. He has been there ever since until he retired in 2001, except for two separate years in the U.S. at Cornell and Maryland Universities and one year in England at the Open University.
His early research work was in theoretical astrophysics, but lately he has become interested in research into physics education, with particular emphasis on the role to be played by computers and other forms of information technology. He has written a deal of educational software as a member of several international consortiums, most notably the Maryland University Project in Physics and Educational Technology (M.U.P.P.E.T.) and the Consortium for Upper-Level Physics Software (CUPS). His interest in acoustics and music has been with him all his working life.
In 1989 he made a series of six programs on Australian national radio, devoted to physics and music. It was from those programs that the idea of this book first arose. He has also made programs on other subjects of general interest, including astronomy and religion, science fiction and pseudo-science.
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