Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Physics of Music
The connection between music and mathematics has been talked about before on these pages. I recently came across a good introduction to the relationship between music and physics. The Public Radio program Science Friday had a program in April that did a good job of explaining some of the physics involved in understanding sound and music. The page linked above has links to a complete audio recording of the program as well as some of the example audio clips and explanations presented in the program. One of the topics that is quite interesting and is explained well is the concept of fundamental tones and overtones, and how those work together to affect our perception of sound. Some auditory illusions are presented too, and these are not only fun to hear but help show how our brains shape the way we perceive sounds. I had not heard of auditory illusions before (we've all seen lots of optical illusions) but I guess it shouldn't be surprising that there are ways to alter sounds and fool the brain.