A new article in Physics Today shares recent research on the physics underlying how we practice and hear music.

 We’ve all seen how the resonant modes of an object or space can affect and be affected by sound; and, of course, our collection has many demonstrations exploring this. But what makes for fascinating physics experiments can also make for a fabulous concert or a cacophony when performing music. The shape and size of a room can have an important effect on what parts of complex sounds are reinforced or damped – and those effects do not scale linearly. New studies have found some interesting results that can shape the future shape of small recital rooms, particularly important in this era of digital recording and streaming.