Rossing, Thomas D. Department of Physics, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois.
Last reviewed:January 2021
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- Generation of musical sound
- Complex vibrations
- Nature of the feedback
- Acoustics of singing
- Transmission of musical sound
- Perception of musical sound
- Combination tones and harmony
- Musical scales and temperament
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The branch of acoustics that deals with the generation of sound by musical instruments, the transmission of sound to the listener, and the perception of musical sound. Musical acoustics has fascinated scientists at least since the time of the Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras more than 2500 years ago. The topic captured the interest of noted scientists such as German physicist and physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz, English physicist John William Strutt Rayleigh, Indian physicist Chandrasekhara Raman, Irish physicist John Tyndall, and French physicist and mathematician Félix Savart. It has become an interdisciplinary field joining physics with music. Indeed, important contributions have been made by psychologists, engineers, physiologists, architects, mathematicians, and materials scientists as well as by musicians and physicists. See also: Acoustics; Physics
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