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The Physics of Musical Instruments Paperback – December 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1441931207 ISBN-10: 1441931201

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

  • Paperback: 756 pages
  • Publisher: Springer (December 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441931201
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441931207
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #975,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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"Essentially everything you have ever wanted to know about the physics of musical instruments" PHYSICS TODAY
"a rigor, graphical detail, and verbal description." AUDIO

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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Edward A. Fagen on October 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the long-awaited second edition of Fletcher & Rossing. Note first that it really is a reference work, not a teaching text. There is no lesson plan, no problems, no solutions manual, no accompanying workbook Except for the first two foundation sections on vibrating systems and sound waves, there is no ongoing development. Nothing builds. It's just one topic piled on another.

But the great merit of reference works is that you can cherry-pick, i.e. seek information on isolated topics with little concern for what preceded them. As a reference work, F&R get the highest possible marks from me. They are clearly the masters of this field, not least because of their numerous important contributions to it. With the possible exception of the works of Arthur Benade, they own the business.

Despite its enormous size and great depth of coverage, however, it is not an encyclopedic study of musical instruments. It is exactly what the title says: a work on the PHYSICS of musical instruments. A rigid boundary has been drawn between physics and every other aspect of music-making. In particular, psychoacoustics is totally ignored. There are no entries in the index under loudness, Fletcher-Munson, combination tones, false bass, consonance, dissonance, etc. Even equal temperament tuning gets little more than one page out of 756.

The Preface says the work is addressed to "the reader...who is not frightened by a little mathematics." Well, some of the math is "little" but some of it is not. See for example the use of Green's functions to find the air load on a vibrating membrane, pp. 588-590.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a one-of-a-kind book on the physics of musical instruments. However, be aware that it is a book about physics ONLY. There are no hints or exercises on how to model musical instruments, nothing on acoustics or psychoacoustics, synthesis, etc. In other words, do not expect an expanded version of Perry Cook's book "Real Sound Synthesis for Interactive Applications". If you can deal with these expectations, then this is a worthwhile read for those interested in the pure physics of musical instruments who are willing to do the work of implementing the synthesis themselves, if that is the reader's ultimate goal. The first eight chapters of the book provide some pretty good background material on vibrating systems and sound waves that should be read sequentially. However, from chapter 9 through 21 the author just presents the physics of each instrument with no real organization by chapter, unless you count the fact that the physics of the instruments are presented in groups organized as either percussion, wind, or stringed instruments. There is a final chapter on materials and their properties that doesn't really fit in with previous chapters. Each chapter has an extensive bibliography. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in the physics of musical instruments and has the necessary mathematical maturity to handle the material. The reader who has taken a year of college physics with maybe a specific class on acoustics and who also is comfortable with calculus and both partial and ordinary differential equations would be best qualified to make the most of the information in this book. Having had a course in the EE topic of Signals and Systems wouldn't hurt either when it comes to the discussions of frequency analysis and response.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Fan on January 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have not read the book beginning to end simply because it is quite a tome. However, I have studied those areas that I have some interest and ability in. The book is concisely written with just enough mathematics to make the qualitative discussion understandable...and the qualitative discussions are quite concise and understandable. It provides detailed references for all of the assertions. I find it an excellent reference and am happy to have it in my library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have never had the opportunity to teach a class in the physics of musical instruments, so have not been able to use this as a text, but it is the single volume to go to for "how does musical sound get produced by this instrument" questions. This book is one of the greats in musical acoustics.

Rossing's excellent introductory acoustics book Science of Sound, The (3rd Edition) is also recommended.
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