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

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Table of Contents

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.

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