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Bruce Carr

[acoustical].

A term, meaning ‘not electric’, used in this special sense to designate a recording cut with a stylus activated directly (through a diaphragm) by sound waves rather than by electronic impulses, or, as in ‘acoustic guitar’, an instrument not amplified electronically. It was first applied to recordings in the early 1930s (electric recordings were first made in ...

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Ronald Lewcock, Rijn Pirn, Jürgen Meyer, Carleen M. Hutchins, J. Woodhouse, John C. Schelleng, Bernard Richardson, Daniel W. Martin, Arthur H. Benade, Murray Campbell, Thomas D. Rossing and Johan Sundberg

A term that can embrace all aspects of the science of sound and hearing, but is here treated in two specific senses, that of room acoustics, considered only with reference to the performance of music, and that of sound-source acoustics, limited to various classes of musical instruments and the voice. For other acoustical matters see Hearing and psychoacoustics and Sound; for the history of the subject see Physics of music.

Ronald Lewcock and Rijn Pirn, assisted by Jürgen Meyer

A room that has good acoustics is one in which it is possible to hear each sound clearly in all parts of the room; or, in other words, a room in which the sound is adequately loud and evenly distributed. In addition, it is normally required that the quality of sound being listened to in the room should match the type of sound being produced by the source. Room acoustics are relied on in some cases to sustain the sound in the room after the original source has stopped producing it, thus masking unevennesses in the ensemble, while in other cases sound too much sustained would mask the clarity of individual instruments or small groups. Acoustical problems are further complicated if opera is to be performed, for here every syllable is expected to be clearly heard and understood, and therefore only moderate sustained sound is desirable, yet the large ensemble demands sustained sound. Although scientific study permits a certain degree of accuracy in acoustical design, great difficulty is still experienced in determining the correct specification of the acoustics that ought to be provided....

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Murray Campbell

(Graham)

(b Portland, OR, April 29, 1911; d Los Angeles, Oct 28, 1988). American acoustician. After studying at Reed College, Portland (BA 1932), he undertook postgraduate study at the University of California in Berkeley (MA 1936, PhD 1940). His early research work was in nuclear physics, working under the supervision of Ernest Lawrence in the Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley. In 1945 he was appointed professor of physics at the University of Southern California, and he continued in that post until his retirement in 1980. An accomplished performer on the piano and the bassoon, Backus was awarded the degree of MMus in conducting by the University of Southern California in 1959. In the later stages of his research career he made major contributions to the study of the acoustics of woodwind instruments, brass instruments and organ pipes. In 1969 the first edition of The Acoustical Foundations of Music...

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Beats  

Clive Greated

(Fr. battements; Ger. Schwebungen; It. battimenti; Sp. batimientos)

An acoustical phenomenon, useful in tuning instruments, resulting from the interference of two sound waves of slightly different frequencies. The number of beats per second equals the difference in frequency between the two notes: a pitch of 440 Hz will make four beats per second with one of 444 (or 436); three with one of 443 (or 437); two with 442 (or 438); one with 441 (or 439); and the beats will disappear if the two notes are in perfect unison. ...

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Murray Campbell

(Henry)

(b Chicago, Jan 2, 1925; d Cleveland, Aug 4, 1987). American acoustician. His parents being missionaries, he spent much of his childhood in Lahore. After returning to the USA to study at Washington University, St Louis (AB 1948, PhD 1952), Benade was appointed in 1952 to the physics faculty at Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland, which later became Case Western Reserve University. Promoted to a full professorship in 1969, he continued in that post until shortly before his death. A skilled woodwind player, he had an exceptional ability to relate the results of acoustical research to the practical requirements of musicians and musical instrument makers. Benade established a research programme which made many fundamental contributions to the understanding of the operation of wind instruments. Also active in string instrument research, he was a founding member of the Catgut Acoustical Society and its president between 1969 and 1972...

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Murray Campbell

(Pierre Maxime)

(b Paris, Nov 16, 1866; d Toulouse, Nov 15, 1953). French physicist and acoustician. He studied physics at the Sorbonne (1883) and at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (1885–8). After teaching at the Collège de France and the Lycée at Agen, in 1892 Bouasse joined the staff of the University of Toulouse and obtained his doctorate in mathematics. In 1897 he gained the degree of doctorate in physical sciences and was appointed to the physics chair at Toulouse, where he remained for the rest of his academic career. Retiring in 1937, he continued to work in his laboratory until two years before his death. His research interests ranged widely and he made many discoveries of great importance to musical acoustics. In particular, his studies of woodwind and brass instruments provided the essential foundation for the modern understanding of how sound is generated in these instruments. Bouasse's work has been unjustly neglected outside France, partly because he published little in conventional journals. Instead, he wove his own theories and experiments into a 45-volume library of textbooks on classical physics, the ...