In this Book

Good Vibrations
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summary
Why does a harpsichord sound different from a piano? For that matter, why does middle C on a piano differ from middle C on a tuning fork, a trombone, or a flute? Good Vibrations explains in clear, friendly language the out-of-sight physics responsible not only for these differences but also for the whole range of noises we call music. The physical properties and history of sound are fascinating to study. Barry Parker's tour of the physics of music details the science of how instruments, the acoustics of rooms, electronics, and humans create and alter the varied sounds we hear. Using physics as a base, Parker discusses the history of music, how sounds are made and perceived, and the various effects of acting on sounds. In the process, he demonstrates what acoustics can teach us about quantum theory and explains the relationship between harmonics and the theory of waves. Peppered throughout with anecdotes and examples illustrating key concepts, this invitingly written book provides a firm grounding in the actual and theoretical physics of music.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. vii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-10
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  1. I: Sound and Sound Waves
  2. p. 11
  1. 1. Making Music: How Sound Is Made
  2. pp. 13-27
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  1. 2. The Sound of Music: Perception
  2. pp. 28-40
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  1. 3. Good Vibes: Waves in Motion
  2. pp. 41-58
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  1. II: The Building Blocks of Music
  2. p. 59
  1. 4. Making Music Beautiful: Complex Musical Tones
  2. pp. 61-76
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  1. 5. The Well-Tempered Scale
  2. pp. 77-92
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  1. 6. Down Melody Lane with Chords and Chord Sequences
  2. pp. 93-108
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  1. 7. “You’ve Gotta Have Rhythm”: Rhythm and Types of Music
  2. pp. 109-128
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  1. III: Musical Instruments
  2. p. 129
  1. 8. Why a Piano Is Not a Harpsichord
  2. pp. 131-145
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  1. 9. The Stringed Instruments: Making Music with the Violin and the Guitar
  2. pp. 146-164
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  1. 10. The Brass Instruments: Trumpet and Trombone
  2. pp. 165-178
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  1. 11. The Woodwinds: Clarinet and Saxophone
  2. pp. 179-188
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  1. 12. The Most Versatile Instrument: The Singing Voice
  2. pp. 189-208
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  1. IV: New Technologies and Acoustics
  2. p. 209
  1. 13. Electronic Music
  2. pp. 211-226
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  1. 14. Making a MIDI Recording
  2. pp. 227-243
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  1. 15. The Acoustics of Concert Halls and Studios
  2. pp. 244-258
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  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 259-265
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  1. Suggested Readings
  2. pp. 267-268
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 269-274
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