How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond (Paperback)
"Any readers whose love of music has somehow not led them to explore the technical side before will surely find the result a thoroughly accessible, and occasionally revelatory, primer."—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
What makes a musical note different from any other sound? How can you tell if you have perfect pitch? Why do ten violins sound only twice as loud as one? Do your Bob Dylan albums sound better on CD vinyl? John Powell, a scientist and musician, answers these questions and many more in How Music Works, an intriguing and original guide to acoustics.
In a clear and engaging voice, Powell leads you on a fascinating journey through the world of music, with lively discussions of the secrets behind harmony timbre, keys, chords, loudness, musical composition, and more. From how musical notes came to be (you can thank a group of stodgy men in 1939 London for that one), to how scales help you memorize songs, to how to make and oboe from a drinking straw, John Powell distills the science and psychology of music with wit and charm.
"Any readers whose love of music has somehow not led them to explore the technical side before will surely find the result a thoroughly accessible, and occasionally revelatory, primer."—James Walton, The Spectator
"In this distinctive combination of scientific treatise and laugh-out-loud commentary, composer and physicist Powell...has carved out an intriguing niche by using humor to enliven what could have been an otherwise dry introduction to acoustics...readers ... should glean some useful background for music study while simultaneously being entertained."—Barry Zaslow, Library Journal