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Review: Physics and Music by Neville H. Fletcher

Review: Physics and Music by Neville H. Fletcher

Reviewed by Thomas D. Rossing

Originally published in American Lutherie #7, 1986 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume One, 2000

Physics and Music
Neville H. Fletcher
Heinemann Educational Books
70 Court St., Portsmouth, NH 03801
Out of print (1999)

Neville Fletcher is one of the world’s foremost authorities on musical acoustics. In 1976, he wrote this delightful forty-eight-page book to supplement high school physics courses in Australia. For some time it was difficult to obtain, but now it available in the USA for $4.95 per copy.

The book begins with a brief history of musical acoustics, followed by brief chapters on Hearing and Music; Vibrating Systems; Strings, Drums, and Bells: Overtones and Sounds; Air Cavities and Pipes; and Horns. Then it treats Stringed Instruments and Wind Instruments, and concludes with three chapters on Musical Sounds, Harmony, and Tuning and Temperament. If it appears that these interesting topics are treated with too much brevity, remember the audience for which it was written. You will be happy to know, however, that Professor Fletcher is collaborating (with Arnold Tubis and myself) in writing a much more comprehensive treatment of musical instruments (to be published by Springer Verlag).

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