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The Science of Musical Sound Hardcover – March 9, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1450705356 ISBN-10: 1450705359 Edition: first

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Editorial Reviews


This is a wonderful book. Its backbone is music science, how sounds are made, described and analyzed, from the simplest to the most sophisticated of instruments. Around this Bennett has erected a magnificent web that touches on history, ethnography, customs, and much, much more. It is a story that ranges from how instruments are made to how they are played with anecdotes, many of them personal, that run from the testing of strange resonances in a Yale classroom to the fingerings of the world's greatest performers. The author's love for and knowledge of music runs deep in all its pages and will surely sweep the reader along. --Gino Segre, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania

Here is one of those idiosyncratic treasures: a charming book on a scientific topic that is of interest to many non-scientists. Prof. Bennett's treatment is encyclopedic in breadth, tying together the often surprising elements of the story of how musical sounds are made, perceived, and interpreted. The depth and mathematical underpinning are sufficient that the book can be used as a textbook (with exercise problems at the end of chapters), but along the way we are regaled with anecdotes and personal experiences, and it is all offered in a friendly conversational style that would encourage many readers who start out looking up their favorite topics to keep reading just for the fun of it. --Saul Perlmutter, Prof. of Physics and Senior Scientist, University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

(This book) is wonderful. First, the physics is beautifully integrated with detailed information about the functioning of instruments. Second, it is full of interesting history of the instruments he discusses (plus informative diagrams and photos) as well as his discussing the history of the relevant physics. And third, it is scattered with very funny remarks - funny enough to make me laugh out loud. Reading it gives a strong impression of the author as a person - and not just of the material he discusses - which of course makes his departure sadder. --Saul Sternberg, Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

About the Author

William Bennett, Jr., C.B. Sawyer Professor of Applied Physics Emeritus at Yale University, had a long career as an atomic physicist, co-discovered the first lasers, played the clarinet and piano with the caliber of a professional, and loved both science and music.

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The Science of Musical Sound
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