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Musical Instrument Design: Practical Information for Instrument Design Paperback – January 1, 1996


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Musical Instrument Design: Practical Information for Instrument Design + Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics: Second, Revised Edition (Dover Books on Music) + Music, Physics and Engineering (Dover Books on Music)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 181 pages
  • Publisher: See Sharp Press (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884365086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884365089
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Deals with the principles of acoustics and their relationship to instrument design in depth.. . .Recommended for most music collections."  —Library Journal

About the Author

Bart Hopkin is a professional guitarist who has been the editor of Experimental Musical Instruments, the leading journal in its field, since 1985.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 31 customer reviews
This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in acoustics and musical instruments.
John Bleskacek
This book explains the physics of musical instruments with an eye toward making experimental musical instruments.
Timothy R. Darrough
A very informative and technical book on the theory of sound production, and instrument making.
Robh88

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By salsup@smith-intl.com on April 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
This volume covers enough theory and practice in construction of various wind, percussion, and other noisemakers for any artist or teacher to begin exploring novel musical instruments. There's just enough technical information to whet one's whistle, and a freewheeling discussion of materials and methods. For the musician who wants a new toy, decriptions of history and function have enough detail for success on the first try. Teachers will probably find it a good source for stimulating creativity in just about any age group. Check it out!
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jacob on March 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
I must say I received this book with much expectancy. I won it as a prize and bought it from this website before there were many reviews. I was expecting it to be instructions for how to make a violin, etc. but I was WRONG. It even says in the introduction that it is not about it. So be warned! However, I decided to read it anyway and what a great book it turns out to be. It covers everything from frequency charts of sound waves to the keywork on flutes and everything in between. I would therefore recommend it to anyone from the expert to beginner as it is so complete. I would give it five but for the bad information about its content which I recieved. That said I just wish it was this cheap when I bought it!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Francis L Fitzpatrick on August 25, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd give this book a "6" if it were an admissible rating. Hopkin loads this book with literally hundreds of both familiar and newly-created instruments that can be made using simple tools. The instructions are step-by-step. The acoustic explanations are interesting and understandable but not required for success.
I recommend Hopkin's book to hobbyists, tinkerers, those who have failed at making instruments on their own; music, art, or classroom teachers; musicians; and I think, most importantly, composers. For composers, new vistas of tone color, sound production, and tonalities appear - through acoustic instruments - no need for electronic synthesis or sampling!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John Bleskacek on June 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in acoustics and musical instruments. As a non-musician and someone who never thought he could be musical, I found Hopkin's book an absolute revelation. I never learned this much in college music appreciation courses or junior high school band. I plan to use my newly gained knowledge in acoustics, scales, and materials to build instruments for Christmas gifts this year. If you're tinkering with instrument building or just want to learn more about how instruments make musical sounds don't let this one get away.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Charles Floading on March 28, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If what you want to do is make a guitar or violin from scratch, there are better books than this one. However, if you want to understand how and why musical instruments of all kinds are built the way they are, this book has you covered. There's information on instruments that are percussive, stringed (both plucked and bowed), and blown into. Most useful are the tips on how to get these things tuned in such a way that they are useful for making music.

Check out the "windworld" web site for some examples of the experimental instruments Hopkin has created.

The book contains information on building materials (with tips on where to get them), music and sound theory, and some history when relevant to an instrument he is trying to emulate. It's certainly not exhaustive, but gives you just enough to get your creativity flowing. I would have liked to see more illustrations and or photographs showing the assembly of some of these instruments, but that's not to say that the book isn't already full of illustrations. I just want more.

One other thing to note is that this isn't a book about making toys for kids. No pie plate tambourines here. This is 175 pages of serious information and ideas, a bargain at this price.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Gorree on January 26, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gives a good overview of the phisics of sound making.
A nice guide for every body who want to experience with musical instruments and design or adjust his own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Timothy R. Darrough on September 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book explains the physics of musical instruments with an eye toward making experimental musical instruments. The physics content is practical and non mathematical. The book is supplemented with a number of hands on demonstrations. These demonstrations require easily obtainable supplies (such as balloons, copper pipes, Styrofoam ice chests and small pieces of wood and wire) and only a few common tools (such as wire cutters, a hammer or a saw). Neither a shop nor power tools are necessary. If you are the experimental kind, and you wonder what awesome timbres you might discover if you made your own musical instruments, this is the book for you.

If your interest is in making traditional musical instruments you will be disappointed. Advanced construction techniques are not covered. That is not what this book is about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dan Homan on January 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was informative and deals mainly with thoery. I made some penny whistles, and "recorder" type instruments for children as gifts, and it was fun for me to be able to make a musical instrument.
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