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Review: The Science of Sound by Thomas D. Rossing

Review: The Science of Sound by Thomas D. Rossing

Reviewed by Paul Wyszkowski

Originally published in American Lutherie #3, 1985 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume One, 2000

The Science of Sound
Thomas D. Rossing
637 pages
Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1982
$76.70 from (1999)

If you missed reading Tom Rossing’s articles on guitar acoustics in the GAL Quarterly, you may not know that he is a professor of physics at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. His field of specialization is, as you may have guessed, acoustics and particularly musical acoustics. In fact, he has taught musical acoustics for over twenty years.

“This book,” says Tom in his preface, “is intended to be an introduction to acoustics written in nontechnical language, primarily for students without college level physics and mathematics.”

He notes that the word “sound” refers to two distinct phenomena: (1) the sensation of sound, that is, the conscious experience of hearing, and (2) vibrations in a physical medium which can cause the sensation of sound. (Making this distinction he points out, answers once and for all the old riddle: If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?)

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