Music Science and the Science of Music


Music Science at UNSW: scientific research and undergraduate study in music, musical instruments, music performance and music perception. Music Science at UNSW is the collaboration between the Music Acoustics Group in the School of Physics at UNSW with the Empirical Musicology Group in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The Music Acoustics Group maintains a large web site introducing many aspects of music science.


The Science of Music is also the name of a series of broadcasts made for the ABC. Five of Australia's outstanding musicians took their instruments and their questions to the laboratory. The result is a series about music and musical instruments, comprising structured discussions between musician and scientist, richly illustrated with examples from the concert stage, the studio and the laboratory.

  • Dene Olding. . . . Strings

  • Nigel Westlake. . Woodwinds

  • Paul Plunkett . . . Brass

  • Colin Piper . . . . Percussion

  • Paul Dyer . . . . . Keyboards

  • Nigel Westlake. . Composition

Written and presented by Joe Wolfe

The Science of Music was produced as a series of radio broadcasts for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Five prominent Australian musicians and scientist Joe Wolfe of the University of New South Wales discuss how musical instruments work, what this means to players and composers, and the nature of music itself. The series uses recordings, live demonstrations, laboratory demonstrations and musical examples featuring the Australia Ensemble, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the percussion group Synergy and the Canberra School of Music Brass Ensemble.

The set of six 55 minute tapes and a booklet of background material are available as an educational package. Single tapes are also available separately. You may be able to borrow them from the AV section of your library. (If not, you could suggest that the library acquire a set.)

Another educational package about music:


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Joe Wolfe / 
phone 61-2-9385 4954 (UT + 10, +11 Oct-Mar)
Joe's music site

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