Musical Sound pp 237-257 | Cite as

The Transmission and Storage of Sound

  • Michael J. Moravcsik


There are two major deficiencies of sound from the point of view of making a musical performance enjoyable to a large number of people: it fades fast in relation to both distance and time. We have seen that the sound intensity drops very fast as we recede from the location of the sound source, and that the energy of the sound wave is quickly converted into heat, thus erasing the record of the music that was performed. As a result of this, in former times the enjoyment of superb music and musical performances was limited to a tiny fraction of the population. The total number of people during the 19th century who heard anything written by Beethoven performed by professional musicians could not have been more than 0.1 percent of the number of people who lived in that century, considering that concerts were attended mainly by members the urban upper middle class, and that the same people tended to go to concerts over and over again. Such concerts were the only opportunity then to hear such music. The situation was even more restrictive in earlier centuries.


Electromagnetic Wave Amplitude Modulation Radio Wave Sound Wave Sound Source 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers, New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Moravcsik
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OregonUSA

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