This week’s Pinhead Town Talk focuses on sound, specifically musical tones. “How does a person identify that a note is coming from a bell, a chime, a piano, or a guitar?” asks Dr. James Martin of Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico. “The answer is rather profound.”
His presentation, “The Science of Sound: The acoustics of musical instruments,” which will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village from 6-7:15 p.m., will help unravel some of the mysteries of auditory perception.
Through demonstrations, simulations, and verbal presentations the audience will begin to feel the science behind our perceptions. Admission is free and there will be a cash bar.
Martin will discuss how the inner ear perceives sound, specifically, the pitch of a musical tone. He’ll touch on how the brain, in turn, determines pitch. And he will explain how the human ear can be deceived, by such things as a seemingly, never-ending, ascending scale. Concepts of absolute pitch and relative pitch, consonance and dissonance, will become clear through simulations of the inner ear, a guitar string, a sound wave, and a drum.
“A person with a PhD in music probably doesn’t know any of this science,” says Martin, “It’s fascinating stuff. Science is way behind the makers of musical instruments, like guitar makers. They intuitively know a lot more than we do.” Martin, himself, enjoys playing and building classical guitars.
Sponsored by the Town of Mountain Village, this program is hosted weekly throughout the summer by the Telluride Science Research Center (TSRC) and Pinhead Institute.
Next week’s Pinhead Town Talk will be the last of the summer science lecture series: “Nuclear Power and Climate Change: Choosing a Course Beyond Emotions,” will be given by R. Stephen Berry, James Franck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at University of Chicago, member of the National Academy of Sciences, and co-founder of TSRC on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 6-7:15 p.m. at the Conference Center.
For more information please contact, TSRC Nana Naisbitt, at 970/708-0004 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.telluridescience.org.