Musicstudies and Mechanical Engineering
Conceptually,all careers are interrelated in one way or the other. Differentdisciplines borrow concepts from other fields and apply it to advancetheir theories. Music Studies for example cut across manydisciplines. Music is an art that involves remarkable creativity incomposing various musical pieces. The nature of music as an art hasmade it cut across many careers such as mechanical engineering,software engineering, chemical engineering and even computerprogramming. All the disciplines mentioned above involve remarkablecreativity when it comes to application of fundamental concepts.Mechanical engineering, for example, is one area that has found manyapplications in the music industry. I major in mechanicalengineering, and in this paper, I am going to bring out some of theways in which music correlates with mechanical engineering.Mechanical engineering is a concept that cuts across for plantmanagement, production technology, project management, automotive andengine technology and component design among others. This paper,therefore, delves deeper into striking the interrelationship betweenmusic and mechanical engineering. The paper also shows how the twoconcepts are inseparable in certain aspects.
Asalready aforementioned, music is a creative activity. An artist hasto compose the music pieces creatively so as to attract an audience.The production process must be well structured in order that thepieces to come out as intended. Various pieces of productionequipment need to be assembled and arranged in such a way as to bringout the best combination of voices in music. In this respect,therefore, a musician has to work hand in hand with a mechanicalengineering so as to make the process succeed. In the productionprocess, mechanical engineering concepts are applied especially inmatters pertaining to equipment operation. A mechanical engineerbecomes very handy in choosing the most suited equipment that isneeded for the music production. The role that a mechanical engineerplays in music production is analogous to that of a cameraman in filmtechnology or film production.
Musicis about sound. Without good sound engineering, good music cannot berealized. It is important that equipment is well designed and set outin such a way as to bring out quality music. Mechanical engineeringcovers concepts in sound harmonics with varying overtones. Theseconcepts enable mechanical engineers to design components that willgive out the required combinations of sound. In this sense, amusician solely relies on a mechanical engineer to design variouscomponents as required. All that a musician does is to walk down tothe shopping mall and make a purchase of a musical instrument andstart using it according to the manual provided by the mechanicalengineer who designed the particular instrument. On the other hand, amechanical engineer designs these instruments expecting musicians tobuy them. In this case, the mechanical engineer depends on themusician’s money so as to prosper in the profession. Thisillustration ties the two professions together and shows howinseparable they are.
Ithas been noted that music is a creative art. In a similar way,mechanical engineering is even more artistic than music studies. Thelevel of creativity required in mechanical engineering practicecannot be overstated. Just like music, mechanical engineering is ahands-on career that requires an engineer to translate an abstractidea into a tangible component. Music studies teach that a musicartist should translate his/her thoughts into pieces of music lyrics.This is achievable by taking a piece of paper and writing down thelines as they come to the mind. The two professions are highlycorrelated in terms of their best practices.
Musicas a career covers many spheres. Some of the areas in music arewriting songs, singing, composing beats, and producing music instudios. It can, therefore, be argued that the process of producing asong is analogous to a mechanical engineering project for componentdesign and manufacture. In music, a producer plays a significant rolein ensuring that songs are produced with standard quality. Amechanical production engineer plays a similar role in the design andproduction of various components. A production engineer ensures thatall drawings for various components are in line with thespecifications given for the products before final production. Aproduction engineer and a music producer both play an oversight role,and their portfolio is more of project management. They both musthave concepts in project management for them to succeed in theirpractices.
Soundengineering is critical in music production. Music studios have to bedesigned in such a way as to take care of effects of echo. When itcomes to the design of instruments and music studios, mechanicalengineers play a significant role in ensuring that sound reflectionsare taken care of. Vibrations and disturbing sounds from musicalinstruments are taken care of by mechanical engineers. Mechanicalengineers design instruments with acoustic linings so that whenmusicians use the equipment, they do not experience disturbingvibrations that make them uncomfortable. Music producers also need abackground understanding of sound propagation through various systemsuntil the good music is produced.
Amusic producer must, therefore, apply mechanical engineering conceptsin their job of either setting up the studio or composing musicbeats. Music producers may not necessarily require technicalknowledge, but they possess some sonic vision similar to that ofengineers. Just as mechanical engineers design high precisioncomponents, music producers have been trained in such a way as toproduce the best sound quality. This is captured by engineers whoensure that this sound produced is well heard by people. In otherwords, mechanical engineers design sound systems of all kinds whichare used in different ways to amplify sound at various levels.
Itis also worth noting that vibrations can be experienced in someinstruments and thus renders them useless. Therefore, in the designof instruments such as guitar, drums and keyboards, an engineeralways takes care of the fact the instruments are ergonomically fitto the end user and that no harm whatsoever is likely to beexperienced in the course of their usage. Ergonomics is a very widearea in mechanical engineering, and it seeks to ensure safety in theinteraction between humans and machines/instruments. In this respect,engineers are responsible for the safety of musicians as they usevarious instruments. This is achieved by providing a user’s manualfor various instruments. The two professions, therefore, go hand inhand as it can be seen from the illustration above.
Musicstudies and mechanical engineering both emphasize the art ofself-expression. A music artist must always jot down the lines of asong they have thought of. They then go ahead and produce the songfor all to listen to. This is analogous to mechanical engineeringpractice, where we always demonstrate our ideas in the form ofworking drawings and then go ahead to manufacture the designedproduct for people to use. The artistic nature of the two concepts isone factor that has tied the two disciplines together for a longtime.
Inmusic studies, we appreciate the fact that different instrumentsinterface with each other so as to achieve various sounds. Producersemploy this concept largely in their music production practice. In asimilar way, we use different technologies in mechanical engineeringto achieve certain designs. For example, we may use Arch Cad Inventorsoftware to design a component model which we then simulate usingRockwell Arena Simulation software to see how the final component islikely to perform. The application of multiple technologies is anaspect that makes me view music as being similar to mechanicalengineering which is my major in this case.
Insome cases, we have had mechanical engineers specializing as musicproduction engineers. This has been occasioned by the desire tocontribute in one way or the other towards sound engineering andmusic technology. Concepts taught in mechanical engineering have usedto develop the music industry. Mechanical engineers fit easily andsmoothly into the music industry since they understand conceptsranging from sound proof designs of music studios to design ofcomponents with minimal vibrations due to sound.
Ina nutshell, music studies and mechanical engineering are inseparable.Application of mechanical engineering principles has contributed tothe growth and expansion of music studies and particularly the musicindustry. Music studies and mechanical engineering are twodisciplines which coexist in many spheres. As a mechanicalengineering student, I have heard to learn many concepts which havefound numerous applications in the music industry. The design ofmusical instruments with acoustic lining is one such application ofmechanical engineering concepts in music advancements. Musicians arecreative artists who endeavor to express their thoughts in the formof songs. I view mechanical engineering as music in the sense that itis a hands-on career that involves the expression of an engineer’screative thoughts and expression of these thoughts through variousdesigns.