The Science of Music

The Science of Music


The Science of Music provides students with an overview of musical acoustics, including waves and resonance, the auditory system and psychoacoustics, musical scales and members of the orchestral instrument families, room acoustics, audio technology, and data sonification.

Over the course of 20 chapters, students learn the role of vibration in creating sound, how to understand simple harmonic motion with the assistance of mathematical equations, and the enormous effects that sound has on us. Chapters are dedicated to timbre, auditory scene analysis, tuning and scales, and the original instruments of voice and percussion. Students explore the history, composition, and science of instruments in the woodwind, brass, and violin families. Closing chapters discuss analog and digital audio technology, and auditory display and sonification.

Comprehensive and approachable, The Science of Music is ideal for general education courses in musical acoustics. Students of introductory physics or acoustics courses may also find the text particularly valuable. Additionally, the book could serve as a great guide for musicians who wish to know more about the science behind their art.

Mark Ballora is a professor of music technology in the School of Music at Pennsylvania State University. He earned degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles, New York University, and McGill University. Ballora has designed sound and electroacoustic scores for modern dance, theater, animated films, and radio dramas. He has written articles describing uses of sonification in a variety areas, including cardiology, computer network security, cosmology, and oceanography.

  • Science and Music