Take a few select notes, add an envelope, some overtones, and just the right timbre. Now let that vibrate your basilar membrane. What do you have? Beethoven's Ninth, of course. So what makes one sound "musical" while another is just noise?
Bryant Hichwa, professor, physics and astronomy, Sonoma State University
David Kirkby, associate professor, experimental particle physics, University of California Irvine
Brian Holmes, professor of physics, San Jose State University