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Engineering and music

Mechanicalengineers who love music and musicians have many aspects in commonthis field can be integrated together and fro years the two fieldshave collaborated moving each of them forward. It is notable thatthere are common issues and concerns of interest in the field ofmechanical engineering and that of music. There is a common goal inthe context of mechanical engineering which is to do or perform aunique music and research integrating it with the use of technologiesreflecting the interests of the musicians and mechanical engineers(Geem 8).The idea of mechanical engineers is to capture the mechanical aspectof how the music instruments work. This has been achieved by figuringout the whole virtue of the musicians in creating good and enjoyablemusic. Musical player’s interactions with the instruments in thecore area of concern in this context and the mechanical engineersstudy how hard the musical sounds are played as well as the pressure.In the perspective of mechanical engineering the instrument’sunderlying information can be used to develop much improved musicalinstruments and sound. The engineering information findings are vitalin coming up with better and improved tools in the field of music.There is the need to understand what good and enjoyable musicentails.

Itis notable that musical performances over ages are basically acombination of art and engineering. The engineering aspect comes toplace in the essence of sound production. For any kind of music to beperceived to being good the desired sound has to be produced usingthe available instruments of music. Engineering enters by the virtuethat in most cultures and the history of music there exist 12 tonesand with the existence of other frequencies any sound or musicproduced are basically the repetition of these tones. It is importantto note that these frequencies remain the same in any location wherethe music is played. The act of standardizing the frequencies is anengineering aspect (Geem 22).The universal characteristic of notations and a written instructionenables any professional musician to identify the origin of theunderlying music sound. Frequencies are also referred to the pitchand the instrument holds it depending on the changes in theenvironment so that desired music sound is produced. Music has becomepart of human in the current world with different music played invarious circumstances and ceremonies.

The12-tone scale

Thisis the choice of most musical instruments including those discoveredto be of many years ago. There is a notable correspondence of notesi.e. that of an ancient flute and modern piano. The variation is theinterval which is the distance between the notes. Most music andsongs are played on the white keys of the keyboard while others canbe played on the black keys depending on which desired sound need tobe achieved. The identified 12 tones of the scale forming the basisof any musical sound can be noted to be equally spaced on thelogarithm scale. It is advantageous to fudge frequencies and this isreferred to as tempered scale. Engineers consider music as amathematical combination (Geem 38).

Musiccan basically be defined to entail melody, rhythm and harmony butthese divisions are not independent in any way. If the rhythm isaltered the melody will absolutely sound different. It is perceivedthat harmony originates from the west, melody from orient and rhythmfrom Africa.


Thisin terms of engineering perspective is the timing element of music.Rhythm is highly structured and it allows for a number ofcombinations with notations which are available and only slightvariations is needed. There is a measure in music and it is brokeninto intervals and this is convenient as it makes easier to read andalso implies the emphasis of rhythm. The numbering of the measuresfacilitates the determination of any particular displeasing sectionof music. Rhythmic patterns which are produced by combining andgrouping both strong and weak beats (Geem 77).Dynamics are basically the abbreviations and symbols signifying thedegree of softness or loudness of any of the music. It also indicateswhether there is any change of the volume.


Melodyof music comes along as a modification of notes with flats andsharps. Melody corresponds to the pitches which can be higher mainlyfemale voices or lower pitches which can be male voice (Geem153). This requires and extra line referred to as a ledger line. This isan effective line added to extend the limited range and appearseither above or below the clef. This ledger lines comes into used incase if the notes correspond further from the high and low pitches.


Harmonyis the strongest conscious effort because in the context of music itcan be disastrous is the adoption of a wrong note that which do notfit to suit the audience. It is notable that some combinations cansound better. Harmony also referred to chord implies a pleasantsound. For music to sound pleasant then there must be a consensus ofthe sounds and this has varied over centuries (Geem121).There are three types of sound discordant which entail minor secondwhich is worse, major third which is pleasant and third minor whichis less joyful. The alteration of the song key maybe from major tominor is done to create an effect and leads to changes in the mood.The audience can also feel the effect whereby the change of thefrequency can result into changes in the mood. It is in appropriateto perceive that pleasant sound is achieved by dividing then twelvetones since the scale has logarithmic characteristic.

Harmonicsand overtones

Takingthe case of a taut string when it is constrained it will vibratetwice the frequency which is fundamental likewise if the constrain isremoved it will continue to vibrate with the same frequency.Overtones are the extra frequencies in a sound music and in thecontext of engineering it is the harmonics. Harmonic is fundamentaland that overtone gives a musical instrument character and thefundamental distinction from others. Overtones produce extra notesand they are not of any great importance in most musical instrumentsand have no effect in the created music sound (Geem 118).

Musicalinstruments which are non-electronic in most cases do not generatetones instantly. The first sound it produced might be different fromthe final sound and this is referred to as attack. Mechanicalengineers recognize this sound and this varies in most instrumentsunder this category. Instruments can have the same harmonic structurebut might not be distinguished when they are in a steady state. It isalso important to note that attack usually transforms to entire notefrom insignificant crude state and this is for the case of physicalmusic instruments. This is referred to as chiff and electronicinstruments can simulate the real sound. The determination of how atone fades is called decay and that mechanical engineers candetermine that the sudden ending of a tone can be explainedtheoretically as the starting one since the domain time are is thesame. In the context of music the aspect of listening is vitalbecause remembrance of the previous note gives melody of musicsignificance (Geem 190).Chords may sound good when heard individually but at the same timepoor in juxtaposition.

Itis not a must to understand what the music is all about in order toappreciate it but the in the context of mechanical engineering it isimportant to understand how the creation of sound comes along. Thedescribed above concepts are all necessary to create a recognizablepattern which is the song. Music since classical times and periodshave various different characteristics it may be loud, soft, slow orfast with a combination of different instruments having regularrhythmic pattern and all of these are the elements of music. As anengineer it is important to determine the desired instrument andunderstand how it works, making the necessary adjustments to achievean improvement. This involves adopting listening techniques tomultiple results in order to come up with a correct improvement whichis accurate.


Geem, Zong Woo. Music-InspiredHarmony Search Algorithm: Theory and Applications.New York: Springer, 2009.