The Science of Brass Instruments

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract / Description of output

This book offers an accessible account of how brass musical instruments work. Written by three leading researchers in brass instrument acoustics who are also regular performers on brass instruments, it combines an analysis of the musician's experience of playing or listening and the perspective of the scientist informed by important recent discoveries. The reader is introduced to effective models of the sound generation, propagation and radiation which occur when a brass instrument is played. In particular, the current understanding of the pressure-controlled lip valve mechanism, the modes of vibration of the air column inside the instrument and the radiation from the flared bell are explained. The nonlinear waveform distortion which develops in a high amplitude sound wave as it travels from mouthpiece to bell is shown to be important in many types of brass instrument. The factors controlled by instrument makers in designing instruments and by musicians in playing them are discussed in detail. The characteristics of the great variety of brass instruments in contemporary use (including cornets, trumpets, french horns, trombones and tubas) are identified, and related to those of instruments at earlier stages in the evolution of the brass family. The book is thus relevant both to mainstream modern musical teaching and performance and to historically informed practice. Appendices offer complementary information on psychoacoustics, room acoustics and the acoustical design of instruments. The presentation is aimed at a general readership; a brief introduction to the more technical research literature is provided at the end of each chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
Commissioning bodyAcoustical Society of America
Number of pages461
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-55686-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-55684-6
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2021

Publication series

NameModern Acoustics and Signal Processing

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • acoustics
  • brass instruments


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