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Music Physics at the University of New South Wales

by Eva Amsen

The University of New South Wales in Australia has a Music Acoustics research group, which studies some of the specifics of music physics. Their elaborate website is a fun time waster. Make sure to visit the virtual flute, but also have a look at the clear descriptions of the acoustics of several other instruments, including the violin and the clarinet.

Didgeridoo physics

In 2005, the department published the physics of the didgeridoo in a short Nature paper, and explain their findings on the site. There is probably more popular interest in music physics than, say, in how quarks work, but wouldn’t it be nice if everyone summarized their research in simplified form for readers from outside the field?

Ask the experts

If you need some more clarity on any physics topic you can always “Ask the Experts” at PhysLink.com. The question “What are the frequencies of musical notes like G and G# in k-hertz?” was answered in two elaborate answers explaining in detail how to calculate the frequencies of musical notes: “The frequency of intermediate notes, or pitches, can be found simply by multiplying (dividing) a given starting pitch by as many factors of the twelfth root of 2 as there are steps up to (down to) the desired pitch.” (Don’t worry, they give examples!)

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