Physics and Music – Gleb Anfilov

We now come to Physics and Music by Gleb Anfilov. This is a book that I had seen as an advertisement in back of many books, but failed to get a look at the book itself. But finally got the book. Since there was no original cover left (only cloth bound), I designed this cover which you see below. The image is from inside the book (page 110) and is the  Berliner’s Gramophone from 1894.

The book takes us through the history of music, and the science behind it. Anfilov tells about development of various musical instruments, and also what possible future developments might take place. For example he says (p. 265):

So, sooner or later musical instruments will come which are controllable, probably, even by the subconscious desire of the artist. Man will inject his will and thoughts into the responsive machine which will “be an extension of his fingers and nerves.” Isn’t that fantastic? Instead of being a slave of the machine, man is becoming its almighty master.
Looking further ahead, we can see with our mind’s eye machines which reproduce musical thoughts, that internal music which every person hears when his or her “very soul is singing”. We can imagine thought-controlled computers composing all sorts of music.

Though many of the contents may seem ‘dated’ to some people, the book remains a very good read for a refreshing view on the subject of music.

From the primitive reed pipe to modern music “written” by computers is quite a journey. Here, in informal text and about a score of plates, is a story that takes the teenage layman on this interesting trip.

The younger reader, like a good musicologist, follows the steps in the evolution of the most important instruments that make up today’s symphony orchestra, and the development of music itself (scales, modes, keys, and temperaments).

Physics and music is also a source, although, of necessity a modest one, of information about the music research that has been underway in the Soviet Union, especially in the scientific manufacture of the violin, and in electrophonic and synthetic music. This why the foreign reader might think of a degree of “bias” on the part of the author. Yet, it gives him an insight into what is going on in a country that has given the world quite a number of great composers.

The book was translated from the Russian by  Boris Kuznetsov and was first published by Mir in 1966. There is a new edition published by University Press of the Pacific in 2001.

You can get the book here.

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Contents 7

1 The Orchestra in the Making 9
THE SIMPLEST THING 13
THE SINGING REED 17
MUSIC AS DRUDGERY 20,77
DESCENDANTS OF THE HUNTING HORN 22
THE WAY TO THE ORGAN 25
A FACTORY OF SOUNDS 29
EVOLUTION OF THE HARP 31
SOUND-BOX, STRINGS AND NECK 33
THE FAVOURITE OF THE GALLANTS 35
THE BIRTH OF A PRINCESS 36
A ROOM IN CREMONA 39
“SECRETS” OF THE OLD VIOLINS 40
THE RIDDLE IS SOLVED 42
FROM THE MONOCHORD TO THE CLAVICHORD 44
AN ENDLESS BOW 49
PIANO E FORTE 55
THE GRAND PIANO 57

2 How Sound Is Produced 61
UP AND DOWN THE SOUND LADDER 63
SWEET-VOICED DEVICES 66
THE PHYSICIST ON A ROPE 68
MANY TONES FROM A SINGLE STRING 69
THOMAS YOUNG’S LAWS 71
MUSICAL VESSELS 74
CROWNED WITH FAME 76
A CRICKET ON THE HEARTH 77

3 Rivals of Stradivarius 82
SAVART’S COFFIN 83
VIOLINS – THE SCIENTIFIC WAY 86
WOOD REVEALS ITS SECRETS 87
OFF THE ASSEMBLY LINE 90
LEARNING WORDS 91
SEVEN KILOMETRES OF WALLPAPER 93
THE GUITAR COMES FIRST 95
THE LATHE VIES WITH STRADIVARIUS 97
CATCHING A “‘CARP” 99
ARTIFICIAL AGING 101

4 Voice Analysis 112
WHEN THE SINGER IS SILENT 115
SOPRANO OR MEZZO-SOPRANO? 117
DISSECTING THE VOICE 118
HOW FAR THE VOICE CAN CARRY 119
BEAUTY BY THE MEASURE 121
THE MYSTERY OF THE VOICE 122

5 Tones Created by the Ear 125
THE PIANO IN THE EAR 126
GHOST SOUNDS 127
LITTLE RED BIDING HOOD AND THE TELEPHONE 129
THE WOOD FOR THE TREES 131
HARMONY AND DISCORD 133
UNITY OF TONE 135

6 The History of Tuning 138
PYTHAGORAS COMES TO HELP 139
THE COMMA AND THE WOLVES 142
BACH VERSUS HANDEL 145
FROM GOOD TO BETTER 146
BETWEEN THE KEYS 148
THE OLD AND THE NEW 149

7 Music from Electricity 152
THE BIRTH OF ELECTRIC MUSIC 154
THE THEREMINVOX 158
CONQUERING THE CONCERT STAGE 159
A RECITAL FOR LENIN 160
AT HOME AND ABROAD 163
FOR JAZZ AND SERMON 165
PROS AND CONS 167
OUT OF THE IDIOM 169
SOLOMONIC DECISION 171
A FLOOD OF INVENTIONS 172
TONE COLOUR AT CHOICE 174
TRIFLES COUNT 176
NOISE MADE TO ORDER 178

8 The Wonders of Sound Recording 181
A VISIT TO THE SOUND STUDIO 183
LENIN’S VOICE 185
UPDATED CHALIAPIN 186
A ONE-MAN ORCHESTRA 188
AN ECHO IN A ROOM 189
AN ELECTRIC ECHO 191
BETTER THAN LIVE MUSIC 193
PROCESSED VOICES 195
AN ELECTRONIC CONDUCTOR 196
TAPED ACTUALITY 198

9 Dr. Sholpo’s Dream 201
IN THE LECTURE HALL 202
THE LEONARDO DA VINCI SOCIETY 203
GRAPHIC SOUND 205
ACOUSTICAL MONTAGE 211
THE VARIOPHONE 212
TOIL AND DEBATE 214
OTHERS 216
TRIUMPH 218
MURDER BY PROXY 220

10 The Composer as a Painter 223
FROM ELLiNGTON TO SCRIABIN 225
THE GOAL 228
FROM THE BARREL ORGAN TO THE MUSIC SYNTHESIZER 230
LIGHT AND SOUND 232
THE ‘PARTITURA’ AND THE CODER 234
THE START OF A SUCCESSFUL CAREER 236
THE COMPOSER AS A PAINTER 239
A PROGRAMME OF WORK 240

11 Music from the Computer 243
MOZART’S TABLES 244
MACHINE INSPIRATION 245
A SYMPHONY IN BLOTS 246
AN ELECTRONIC PALESTRINA 247
ZARIPOV’S IDEA 249
DAYS AND NIGHTS 251
‘THE URALS TUNES’ 252
USES FOR THE ROBOT COMPOSER 254

12 Physics and Music 258
YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW 259

Index 267

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7 Responses to Physics and Music – Gleb Anfilov

  1. anish says:

    Wow Wow Wow!!!!!
    This is absolutely great! Thank you very much Amit!

  2. ankitphysics says:

    Damitr bro u wanna pic of front page of this book but u have to edit the pic??

  3. ankitphysics says:

    means front cover 1966 mir publishers

  4. damitr says:

    Anikit, Yes sure that would be great.

    D

  5. ankitphysics says:

    Damitr bro i sent pic to your public email.see your email plz.

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