Acoustics of String Instruments

  • John M. Eargle


This is the first of five sequential chapters in which we will discuss the major instrumental groups. While chapter 4 provided the basis for sound production, these chapters will fill in details on instrumental construction, basic playing techniques, and other characteristics unique to the individual instruments. We will also present information gathered from many sources regarding the spectrum, dynamic range, and directional performance of the members of the various instrumental groups. The author’s aim here is to fill in many gaps in the reader’s knowledge of instruments and to approach instruments from the point of view of the player. A strengthening of knowledge in these areas will benefit the musical technician in a most important way.


Open String Internal Detail String Instrument Helmholtz Resonance Body Resonance 
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References Cited

  1. Clark, M., and D. Luce. 1965. “Intensities of Orchestral Instruments Played at Prescribed Dynamic Markings.” J. Audio Engineering Society 13, no. 3.Google Scholar
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Recommended Reading

  1. Backus, J. 1969. The Acoustical Foundations of Music. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  2. Benade, A. 1976. Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics. New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
  3. Berg, R., and D. Stork. 1982. The Physics of Sound. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
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  5. Cremer, L. 1984. The Physics of the Violin. Trans. John S. Allen. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Culver, C. 1956. Musical Acoustics. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  7. Fletcher, N., and T. Rossing. 1991. The Physics of Musical Instruments. New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gill, D. 1984. The Book of the Violin. New York: Rizzoli.Google Scholar
  9. Ginsburg, L. 1983. History of the Violoncello. Neptune City, NJ: Paganiniana.Google Scholar
  10. Hutchins, C. 1967. “Founding a Family of Fiddles.” PhysicsToday 20 (Feb.).Google Scholar
  11. Moravcsik, M. 1987. Musical Sound. New York: Paragon House.Google Scholar
  12. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 1980. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  13. The New Harvard Dictionary of Music. 1986. Cambridge: Harvard.Google Scholar
  14. The New Oxford Companion to Music. 1983. New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
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  16. Pierce, J. 1983. The Science of Musical Sound. New York: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
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Additional Resources

  1. Lewin, F. “Music for the New Family of Violins.” Musical Heritage Society MHS 4102 (Library of Congress Number 79-750697).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Eargle

There are no affiliations available

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