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date: 27 January 2023


The Oxford Companion to Music
John BorwickJohn Borwick

Acoustics is the science of sound and hearing. Sound is a form of energy and involves vibratory motion. When a piano is played in a concert hall, for example, the energy exerted by the player causes the hammers to strike the strings and set them into vibration. This vibration is taken up by the soundboard and radiated as a ‘pressure wave’ through successive layers of air particles. The members of the audience hear the sounds when the air sets their eardrums in motion to produce signals that are communicated to the brain via nerve-fibres. This simple description, of course, takes no account of the subtleties introduced by the player, the instrument itself, and the acoustic properties of the hall (... ...

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