The Science of String Instruments

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Thomas D. Rossing
Springer Science & Business Media, Dec 15, 2010 - Science - 470 pages
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Thomas D. Rossing String instruments are found in almost all musical cultures. Bowed string instruments form the backbone of symphony orchestras, and they are used widely as solo inst- ments and in chamber music as well. Guitars are used universally in pop music as well as in classical music. The piano is probably the most versatile of all musical inst- ments, used widely not only in ensemble with other musical instruments but also as a solo instrument and to accompany solo instruments and the human voice. In this book, various authors will discuss the science of plucked, bowed, and hammered string instruments as well as their electronic counterparts. We have tried to tell the fascinating story of scienti?c research with a minimum of mathematics to maximize the usefulness of the book to performers and instrument builders as well as to students and researchers in musical acoustics. Sometimes, however, it is dif?cult to “translate” ideas from the exact mathematical language of science into words alone, so we include some basic mathematical equations to express these ideas. It is impossible to discuss all families of string instruments. Some instruments have been researched much more than others. Hopefully, the discussions in this book will help to encourage further scienti?c research by both musicians and scientists alike. 1.1 A Brief History of the Science of String Instruments Quite a number of good histories of acoustics have been written (Lindsay 1966, 1973; Hunt 1992; Beyer 1999), and these histories include musical acoustics.
 

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Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction
1
Chapter 2 Plucked Strings
11
Chapter 3 Guitars and Lutes
19
Chapter 4 Portuguese Guitar
47
Chapter 5 Banjo
59
Chapter 6 Mandolin Family Instruments
77
Chapter 7 Psalteries and Zithers
99
Chapter 8 Harpsichord and Clavichord
123
Chapter 14 Cello
245
Chapter 15 Double Bass
259
Chapter 16 Bows Strings and Bowing
279
Chapter 17 Viols and Other Historic Bowed String Instruments
301
Chapter 18 The HutchinsSchelleng Violin Octet After 50 Years
317
Chapter 19 Hammered Strings
347
Chapter 20 Some Remarks on the Acoustics of the Piano
353
Chapter 21 Hammered Dulcimer
371

Chapter 9 Harp
145
Chapter 10 Burmese Arched Harp
167
Chapter 11 Plucked String Instruments in Asia
173
Chapter 12 Bowed Strings
197
Chapter 13 Violin
209
Chapter 22 Electric Guitar and Violin
393
23 Virtual String Synthesis
417
Index
457
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About the author (2010)

Tom Rossing has taught musical acoustics for nearly 50 years, and has been active in research in this area for at least 30 years. In 1992 he was awarded the Silver Medal in Musical Acoustics by the Acoustical Society of America, and his biography is included in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. He is also the editor of the 2006 Springer Handbook of Acoustics. In 2009 he was awarded the ASA Gold Medal by the Acoustical Society of America for contributions to musical acoustics, leadership in science education, and service to the Society.

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