Some years ago we set out to write a detailed book about the basic physics of musical instruments. There have been many admirable books published about the history of the development of musical instruments, about their construction as a master craft, and about their employment in musical perfor- mance; several excellent books have treated the acoustics of musical instru- ments in a semiquantitative way; but none to our knowledge had then at- tempted to assemble the hard acoustic information available in the research literature and to make it available to a wider readership. Our book The Physics of Musical Instruments, published by Springer-Verlag in 1991 and subsequently reprinted several times with only minor corrections, was the outcome of our labor. Because it was our aim to make our discussion of musical instruments as complete and rigorous as possible, our book began with a careful introduction to vibrating and radiating systems important in that field. We treated simple linear oscillators, both in isolation and coupled together, and extended that to a discussion of some aspects of driven and autonomous nonlinear oscilla- tors. Because musical instruments are necessarily extended structures, we then went on to discuss the vibrations of strings, bars, membranes, plates, and shells, paying particular attention to the mode structures and characteristic frequencies, for it is these that are musically important.
Principles of Vibration and Sound
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