New book out now – The Science of Music

The Science of Music

My 5th and latest contribution to the “Hot Science” series from Icon Books has just been published, The Science of Music: How Technology has Shaped the Evolution of an Artform. This is a book I’ve written about a couple of times previously (here and here) – but not to be confused with The Science of Sci-Fi Music, which is a completely different book that I wrote a few years ago!

Here is the publisher’s blurb for the new book:

How can music – an artform – have anything to do with science? Yet there are myriad ways in which the two are intertwined, from the basics of music theory and the design of instruments to hi-fi systems and how the brain processes music. Science writer Andrew May traces the surprising connections between science and music, from the theory of sound waves to the way musicians use mathematical algorithms to create music. The most obvious impact of science on music can be seen in the way electronic technology has revolutionised how we create, record and listen to music. Technology has also provided new insights into the effects that different music has on the brain, to the extent that some algorithms can now predict our reactions with uncanny accuracy, which raises a worrying question: how long will it be before AI can create music on a par with humans?