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Designing Web Audio & CD-ROM by Dylan Thede, Josh Beggs

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Chapter 2. The Science of Sound and Digital Audio

1968: Jimi Hendrix uses feedback to play “The Star Spangled Banner” at Woodstock, taking the electric guitar where it has never gone before.

1978: 100,000 people stand in awe and silence in the sweltering heat of Jamaica’s national stadium, struck by the power and emotion of Bob Marley’s “RedemptionSong.”

1998: The last note of the Bach Cello Suites reverberates throughout a state-of-the-art concert hall, and the audience stands in applause as Yo-Yo Ma takes a final bow with his 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius cello.

2000: Riding the wave of a new music revolution, an up-and-coming singer-songwriter without a record contract builds an enthusiastic fan base by publishing her music on MP3 sites.

These four moments in history demonstrate music’s power to transform, excite, and entertain people. They illustrate a technical and artistic mastery of sound production and music-making by highly skilled artists. And they show the dedication of audiences around the world who travel great distances and ignore numerous technical challenges to hear their music.

Musicians spend years practicing the manipulation of sound. And they are always on the lookout for just the right instrument. Fans spend thousands of dollars on music collections, hi-fi stereo equipment, and concert tickets, all in pursuit of a good listening experience. So what does all this boil down to? The scientific phenomena of acoustics and sound wave production.

The difference between the ...

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