EDUCATION: Now Hear This

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Science  30 Nov 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5548, pp. 1795b
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5548.1795b

At Music Acoustics, an ensemble of musically inclined physicists from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, probes the acoustics of violins, guitars, several kinds of flutes, the human voice, and the didgeridoo (an Aboriginal instrument made from a narrow, hollowed-out tree trunk). Explorations of particular instruments highlight the researchers' own findings and are keyed to backgrounders that cover the physics behind concepts such as standing waves, harmonics, and acoustic impedance. You can read about how friction between violin bow and string leads to such sweet tones, and compare the acoustics of different kinds of flutes. To dig deeper, check out original papers on topics such as how a didgeridoo player makes so wide a range of sounds with such a simple instrument.

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