Measured Tones: The Interplay of Physics and Music,2nd Edition

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9780750307628: Measured Tones: The Interplay of Physics and Music,2nd Edition

There has always been a close connection between physics and music. From the great days of ancient Greek science, ideas and speculations have passed backward and forward between natural philosophers (physicists) and musical theorists. Measured Tones: The Interplay of Physics and Music, Second Edition explores the story of that relationship in an entertaining and user-friendly way.

The book provides an easy-to-understand introduction to the physics involved in every stage of the music making process: from the very earliest experiments on vibrating strings and primitive sound makers to the latest concerns of digital sound recording, MP3 files, and information theory. At the same time, it examines the story of our developing concept of the universe we live in: from the ancient visions of a cosmos regulated by the music of the spheres to our current understanding of an expanding universe controlled by the laws of quantum mechanics and string theory. Running through all this is one recurring question - the so-called puzzle of consonance. Why do humans respond to music and musical sounds the way they do? It is the attempts by musicians and scientists through the ages to apply new knowledge to answer this question that gives this story its fascination.

Measured Tones should provide rewarding reading for any physics teacher or student who would like to know more about music and where it impinges on their subject as well as for anyone who is musically inclined.

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About the Author:

Ian Johnston spent his early years on a pineapple farm in southern Queensland, studied physics and mathematics at the Universities of Queensland and Sydney, and was appointed to a lecturing position at the University of Sydney in the late 1960s. He has been there ever since until he retired in 2001, except for two separate years in the U.S. at Cornell and Maryland Universities and one year in England at the Open University.

His early research work was in theoretical astrophysics, but lately he has become interested in research into physics education, with particular emphasis on the role to be played by computers and other forms of information technology. He has written a deal of educational software as a member of several international consortiums, most notably the Maryland University Project in Physics and Educational Technology (M.U.P.P.E.T.) and the Consortium for Upper-Level Physics Software (CUPS). His interest in acoustics and music has been with him all his working life.

In 1989 he made a series of six programs on Australian national radio, devoted to physics and music. It was from those programs that the idea of this book first arose. He has also made programs on other subjects of general interest, including astronomy and religion, science fiction and pseudo-science.

Review:

The writing throughout is delightfully clear and easy to read, and the numerous small illustrations break up the pages and add interest ... . Students (and teachers!) not having had the benefit of such a course should certainly buy the book and read it. I also recommend it warmly to the general reader who would simply like to know more about the sounds he or she enjoys.
- Neville Fletcher in Acoustics Australia

Johnston offers a charming, informal, and information-packed volume aimed squarely both at the musician who wants to understand better some of the physics behind the sound that various instruments make and at the physicist who would like to understand better the workings of musical instruments... . Lots of material is covered, and the book is worthy of careful examination... . It belongs in all college libraries.
- K.L. Schick in CHOICE

I find it 'unputdownable,' combining a thorough development of the mathematical and physical basis of music, dealt with in a historical framework, with interludes dealing in details with the different families of musical instruments. This new edition has updated the sections on electronic music and digital technology, which have changed vastly in the last decide, and which feature prominently in the new AS/A2 specifications. Thoroughly recommended.
- John Miller in School Science Review

It is an ideal book for a secondary school library ... it also makes a useful supplementary text for the undergraduate module in musical instrument acoustics that we run at the ISVR ... . A particular strength is the detailed discussion of the development of musical scales and temperaments, a subject that is so often glossed over.
- M.C.M. Wright, Journal of Sound and Vibration, 264, 1209-1210, (2003)

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Johnston, Ian
Editore: CRC Press (2002)
ISBN 10: 0750307625 ISBN 13: 9780750307628
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