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(a) List of ekphonetic signs (read right to left) from a 10th- or early 11th-century MS (ET-MSsc 8, f.303v); the ekphonetic signs are in red ink and are distinct from the supplementary Palaeo-Byzantine notation, here, unusually, in black ink; (b) transcription of the above passage showing ekphonetic signs only...

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(a) Long-necked lute on a Mesopotamian cylinder seal, Akkadian period, c2370–2110 BCE (British Museum, London); (b) Long-necked lute and arched harp: detail from a painting in the tomb of Djeserkare‘sonb, Thebes, from the time of Tuthmosis IV (reigned 1425–1417 BCE); (c) Short-necked lute: terracotta figurine (3rd century BCE) from Tanagra (Musée du Louvre, Paris)...

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(a) Modern Viennese oboe by Hermann Zuleger (Bate Collection, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford); (b) experimental oboe by Romeo Orsi, Milan, 1918–30 (private collection)

Tony Bingham

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(a) Natural trumpet in D by Johann Leonard Ehe (iii), Nuremberg, mid-18th century; (b) modern fanfare trumpet in E♭ by Karl Hammerschmidt & Sons, Watzkenroth; (c) English slide trumpet in F by Köhler & Son, London, c1850; (d) keyed trumpet in A♭ by Alois Doke, Linz, c1820; (e) Inventionstrompete in E♭ by I.G. Roth senior, Adorf, 1826; (f) valve trumpet in G, with Périnet valves, by Antoine Courtois, Paris, c1865; (g) valve trumpet in G, with Vienna valves, by Carl August Müller, Mainz, c1850; (a) America’s Shrine to Music Museum, Vermillion, South Dakota; (b), (d), (e) Historisches Museum, Basle; (c) E.H. Tarr Collection, Rheinfelden; (f), (g) Trompetenmuseum, Bad Säckingen...

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(a) Pair of recorders: detail from the ‘Triumph of Venus’, upper register of the ‘Allegory of April’ (‘Taurus’), fresco by Francesco del Cossa, c1468–70 (Salone dei Mesi, Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara); (b) one-piece recorder: detail of ‘Vanitas Still-life’ by Jan Davidsz. de Heem, 1664 (Museées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels)...

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(a) Philip the Good (reigned 1419–67) welcomed to Dijon, accompanied by S-shaped and straight trumpets: miniature from the MS of Saint-Esprit, f.18r (Musée du Centre Hospitalier Régional, Dijon); (b) straight and looped trumpets (with two shawms) in a riding party: detail of ‘May’, miniature by the Limbourg brothers from the ‘Très Riches Heures’, c1411/13–16 (F-CH 65, f.5v)...

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(a) Reflections from a parabola; (b) reflections from a convex surface; (c) reflections from a plane surface (after Parkin and Humphreys, 1958)

Faber & Faber Ltd, London: after P.H. Parkin and H.R. Humphreys, Acoustics, Noise and Buildings (3/1969)

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(a) Renaissance harp with brays, and lute: engraving by Israhel van Meckenem (ii), second half of the 15th century; (b) Renaissance harp with brays, German, maker unknown, 16th century (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)

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(a) Response curve showing the distribution and intensity of sounds produced by a violin when the force exerted on the bridge is simulated electronically; (b) loudness curve obtained on the same violin by bowing each semitone as loudly as possible

After C M. Hutchins

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(a) Schematic representation of four different pure vibrations as they would appear on an oscilloscope; (b) the same vibrations as they would be registered by a melograph

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(a) Scottish Highland bagpipe, with blowpipe, chanter and three drones; (b) Scottish Lowland bagpipe, with bellows and three drones; (c) early Irish union pipe, with bellows, plain chanter, three drones and a tenor regulator with four keys (all Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford); (d) early Northumbrian small-pipe, with bellows, plain chanter and three drones, c1770 (National Bagpipe Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne)...

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(a) Section through a Helmholtz resonator; (b) axonometric section through a Helmholtz resonator panel; (c) axonometric section through a strip panel resonator

After R. Lewcock

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(a) single reed of a clarinet; (b) clarinet mouthpiece with reed in position

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(a) Single-row stone panpipes, 1300–1500 CE; (b) musicians with transverse flutes and drum: carved pottery lid, Chimú period, 1200–1400 CE

from Marti, Pre-Columbian Music. 2nd edition Mexico 1978: Ediciones Euroamericanas

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(a) Six-string violone by Gio(vanni) Paolo Maggini, Brescia, early 17th century (Horniman Museum, London); (b) viol-shaped violone by Ventura Linarol, Padua, 1585 (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)

Horniman Museum, London

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(a) The fasıl of the later 17th century. (b) The fasıl of the later 18th century

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(a) Three successive views of a travelling wave on a stretched string, (b) three successive views of a standing wave on a stretched string

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(a) Two waves ‘in phase’, adding to each other; (b) two waves ‘out of phase’, neutralizing each other so that no sound is heard

Charles Taylor

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(a) Undesirable foci from an orchestra created by a concave reflector behind the platform; (b) undesirable focus created on a balcony by a concave ceiling; (c) undesirable focus created in a seating plan by a concave rear wall

After R. Lewcock

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(a) Waveform of sound signal arriving at transmitter; (b) waveform of current in aerial (for the sake of clarity the spacing between cycles has been exaggerated)