The Physics of Musical Instruments – Fletcher and Rossing – 2nd Edition


When we wrote the first edition of this book, we directed our presentation to the reader with a compelling interest in musical instruments who has “a reasonable grasp of physics and who is not frightened by a little mathematics.” We are delighted to find how many such people there are.

The opportunity afforded by the preparation of this second edition has allowed us to bring our discussion up to date by including those new insights that have arisen from the work of many dedicated researchers over the past decade. We have also taken the opportunity to revise our presentation of some aspects of the subject to make it more general and, we hope, more immediately accessible. We have, of course, corrected any errors that have come to our attention, and we express our thanks to those friends who pointed out such defects in the early printings of the first edition.

We hope that this book will continue to serve as a guide, both to those undertaking research in the field and to those who simply have a deep interest in the subject. June 1991 N.H.F and T.D.R.

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  • Part I: Vibrating Systems

    Free and Forced Vibrations of Simple Systems
    Continuous Systems in One Dimension: Strings and Bars
    Two-Dimensional Systems: Membranes, Plates, and Shells
    Coupled Vibrating Systems
    Nonlinear Systems

    Part II: Sound Waves

    Sound Waves in Air
    Sound Radiation
    Pipes, Horns, and Cavities

    Part III: String Instruments

    Guitars and Lutes
    Bowed String Instruments
    Harps, Harpsicords, Clavicords, and Dulcimers
    The Piano

    Part IV: Wind Instruments

    Sound generation by Reed and Lip Vibrations
    Lip-driven Brass Instruments
    Woodwind Reed Instruments
    Flutes and Flue Organ Pipes
    Pipe Organs

    Part V: Percussion Instruments

    Mallet Percussion Instruments
    Cymbals, Gongs, Plates, and Steel Drums

    Part VI: Materials
    Materials for Musical Instruments
    Name Index
    Subject Index.
  • Citation

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