Music is such a wonderful pursuit for mind and body because it is not just an art form, but combines a myriad of other disciplines, including mathematics, biology, and physics. This series, Math and Science in Music will explore the many ways in which music incorporates a variety of these disciplines.
Music is discipline for both the mind and body, which is why it’s important that we have the best tools available to enable us to play beautiful music. For those of us who are singers, our instruments are built right into our bodies, but all other musicians require a physical instrument that they can hold and manipulate to create beautiful sounds.
Crafting musical instruments requires a varied skill-set, including engineering abilities. These skills allow engineers to create instruments that have unique timbres, and tone while still conforming to the basic specifications of the instrument they are crafting.
Engineers use the physics of sound to assess how frequencies will perform within a given instruments; observing aspects like size, shape, and material to create the best and most unique tone possible. They also have to consider comfort and the aesthetic quality of the instruments; thinking about an instrument from the inside to the outside.
This isn’t just for ‘classical’ instruments either, engineering students continue to come up with new, unique sounding instruments, as part of their engineering studies. Check out this cool article about engineering students creating unique instruments at Yale!
How else is engineering important in music? Tell us in the comments below!