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Download Why You Hear What You Hear: An Experiential Approach to Sound, Music, and Psychoacoustics epub

by Eric J. Heller

Why You Hear What You Hear is the first book on the physics of sound for the nonspecialist to empower readers with a hands-on, ears-open approach that includes production, analysis, and perception of sound. The book makes possible a deep intuitive understanding of many aspects of sound, as opposed to the usual approach of mere description. This goal is aided by hundreds of original illustrations and examples, many of which the reader can reproduce and adjust using the same tools used by the author (e.g., very accessible applets for PC and Mac, and interactive web-based examples, simulations, and analysis tools will be found on the book's website: Readers are positioned to build intuition by participating in discovery.

This truly progressive introduction to sound engages and informs amateur and professional musicians, performers, teachers, sound engineers, students of many stripes, and indeed anyone interested in the auditory world. The book does not hesitate to follow entertaining and sometimes controversial side trips into the history and world of acoustics, reinforcing key concepts. You will discover how musical instruments really work, how pitch is perceived, and how sound can be amplified with no external power source.

Sound is key to our lives, and is the most accessible portal to the vibratory universe. This book takes you there.

The first book on sound to offer interactive tools, building conceptual understanding via an experiential approach Supplementary website ( will provide Java, MAX, and other free, multiplatform, interactive graphical and sound applets Extensive selection of original exercises available on the web with solutions Nearly 400 full-color illustrations, many of simulations that students can do

Download Why You Hear What You Hear: An Experiential Approach to Sound, Music, and Psychoacoustics epub
ISBN: 0691148597
ISBN13: 978-0691148595
Category: Medical Books
Subcategory: Medicine
Author: Eric J. Heller
Language: English
Publisher: Princeton University Press (December 9, 2012)
Pages: 624 pages
ePUB size: 1661 kb
FB2 size: 1119 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 969
Other Formats: lrf docx mbr azw

I have been reading Prof. Heller's book rather steadily since receiving it so promptly via Amazon Prime.

On the plus side: (1) the writing style is informal, non mathematical and informative, (2) there are some interesting explanations of phenomena that are often glossed over by resorting to dry mathematical derivations sans insightful comments in other books, (3) Heller makes extensive use of the autocorrelation as a metric for estimating pitch. Many physics of music and acoustics texts give a one sentence definition of pitch and move on. (4) there are many graphs and pictures to augment the discussion.

On the negative side: (1) Prof. Heller's explanations occasionally become a bit convoluted and his arguments sometimes appear to be circular in that he uses a concept that he is attempting to explain to also support his arguments. (2) many of the graphs use color but are often quite small and the axes are not labeled. (3) Heller occasionally inserts some mathematics into the discussion but in my humble opinion not effectively. His discussion of waves gets descriptively entangled while he could have concisely and clearly presented the material via the wave equation. His discussion of traveling waves on a vibrating string seems lacking. (4) I have applied Matlab to his many examples, especially those dealing with the autocorrelation and I have found errors in his conclusions as to the pitch. Although excited about this supposedly neat tool for estimating pitch, I am a bit mystified at his use of it.

I wish there were a way to communicate my concerns to Prof. Heller but his web site gives no email nor does the Harvard faculty directory. I suppose that his fame precludes accessibility.

In spite of these negative comments, I greatly value this book and have learned a lot from it. I continue to read and study it...but with a jaundiced eye.
Finally, musicians, piano technicians, and any intelligent person who enjoys music and the sounds of nature has a clearly written and beautifully illustrated textbook to learn about those waves that are bouncing around and inside one's ears.
Heller has used his knowledge of waves gained from decades of leading research on quantum wave-packets to bring sound wave mechanics and its human experience to a general audience.
Heller has also used his talent as an artist and expertise in computer graphics to provide lavish illustrations to expose what would otherwise be a highly mathematical subject.
The book grew out of a Harvard course intended for non-science majors on music and acoustics.
It has resulted in an exposition that all can learn from and enjoy, even some of those geeky science majors!
I am learning a lot from this book. The author has a deep intuition about physics and acoustics, which he conveys to the reader via many examples and illustrations, many of which i hadn't encountered in other similar textbooks. The writing style is occasionally awkward, and like a lot of clever people, sometimes Prof. Heller doesn't realize how much more clever he is than "ordinary" readers.
The Kindle version is often quite convenient (including the ability to call up international dictionaries), but the equation formatting isn't very pretty (not the author's fault!). His use of the Falstad "Ripple" app (also available as a stand-alone app for iOS) is welcome, as one can often learn more from interactive demonstrations than from even patient explanations. This is a rich and deep resource, to which students and their teachers can return indefinitely to continuously mine for ideas and insights.
This text is very well-written and accessible for the gen ed student (no science or math background necessary). It's easy to read, and the supporting website is a great resource. I've been looking for a book like this for a while, and I'm happy to have found it.
I think I may have initially waved off this book. So, I'm editing this review after completing the acoustics course. The course itself was an mechanical engineering elective that was open to all majors. Music, biology, and even psychology majors have taken the course in the past. This text would have been perfect for such a diverse class. It covers many topics of interest and uses easily observable phenomenons to explain concepts. I think that it would appeal to opposite ends of a spectrum. If you have little to zero knowledge of acoustics or if you are a professor or musician this book has something to offer you.

The text glosses over much of the math, but the way the course was taught I think we needed a more rigorous text that had more example and practice problems. Also detailed explanations of the derivations. Ultimately I resorted to using the library, books I already had, and internet resources to learn what I needed to get through the class, which was deriving the acoustic wave equation from state functions. So if you're a broke engineering student who needs to determine the Helmholtz frequency of an intake manifold, this book may not help you. In the end, it just didn't resonate with me.

Previous entry:

I'm taking an acoustics class and this is/was the required text. The author doesn't use pictures to explain concepts and instead has blocks of text describing a picture. The website has some resources for learning, but I found it was more helpful to watch youtube videos to learn about acoustics.
Used for a physics class at NIU