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Physics of musiclocked

  • Sigalia Dostrovsky,
  • Murray Campbell,
  • James F. Bell
  •  and C. Truesdell


This article is concerned with the history of vibration theory as it relates to music. For further information see Acoustics and Sound.

Sigalia Dostrovsky

, revised by Murray Campbell

The basic ideas of the physics of music were first obtained in the 17th century. Acoustic science then consisted mainly in the study of musical sounds; in fact, music provided both questions and techniques for the study of vibration. Music gave experience in comparing the pitch and timbre of tones, and so the means for careful experiment on sound; musical instruments offered empirical information on the nature of vibration; and, rather remarkably, the Pythagorean ratios of traditional music theory provided frequency ratios....

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M. Mersenne: Harmonie universelle
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America