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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

John Gilchrist Elliott


This account of the beginning of music might equally well be applied to man's discovery of sounds produced by the stretched string on his hunting-bow, or skins stretched across wooden frames. Pure fancy though it may be, the account serves to illustrate the dependence of music on the universal principles of science. Sound, the medium of expression, the vehicle, of music, is purely physical phenomenon. All aspects of its production, its transmission, and its ultimate reception are based invariable on physical laws. All musical instruments operate under these laws, as do the tones and combinations of tones which the instruments produce. Since that time when our prehistoric man made his discoveries, all musicians have had to depend upon scientific principles in producing the various sounds with which they work

In order to deal most effectively with these tones, it is necessary that the musician understand some of the principles governing their production and their various relationships. It is with this necessity in mind that this thesis is being written. In the thesis an attempt is made to present those physical aspects of sound which will be of the most practical use to the musician and which will give him a better understanding of the materials with which he works. As often as it is possible and practical, direct illustration of the applications to the musician's work of the principles discussed are given.

this thesis is not intended to be a study of sound. The subject is covered thoroughly in a number of text-books. lt is rather an attempt to show how the Science of Sound is related to the Art of Music, to demonstrate in what ways the latter is dependent upon the former, and to outline an approach to a study of the physical principles of sound for the musician.



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