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BBC Discovery: The Acoustics of World Instruments

From BBC Discovery: The Acoustics of World Instruments

Click on an episode title to open an audio player and hear that episode's lecture. It may take a few moments for the player to load. You can stop the playback at any time by clicking the episode title again. Each lecture is about 28 minutes in duration.

  • Episode 1: The Human Voice

    From Mongolian throat singing to the grand opera houses of Europe and folk singing in the fields of Bulgaria, Trevor Cox examines how the human voice makes sound. He hears of a study in Australia that suggests Wagner may have chosen specific vowel sounds to help female singers battle against vast orchestral forces. And how Mongolian throat singers took inspiration from the multiple sounds they heard in the wind.

  • Episode 2: Wind Instruments

    What makes the sound of a clarinet different to an oboe or a recorder? Trevor Cox - acoustic engineer and saxophone player - examines the science of wind instruments. He learns how playing the didgeridoo could help the best jazz saxophonists. And discovers the shared science between simple squeeze boxes and Asian free reed instruments.

  • Episode 3: Percussion and String Instruments

    Trevor Cox explores how percussion and string instruments make their own particular sounds. He finds surprising scientific connections between a Stradivarius violin, singing bowls of Tibet and playing a saw used for cutting wood. And he learns how the rise of the oil industry in World War II gave birth to the hand crafting of Steel Pans in the Caribbean - a skill that is attracting scientific analysis today.

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