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When we think of sound, several things come to mind, from irritating noises to our favorite songs. Musical acoustics is the scientific study of sound as it relates to music. Some musical acousticians research how instruments work and how they can be improved, others investigate how we perceive and think about music and musical sounds. James Beauchamp has developed computer programs that produce musical sounds similar to those created by instruments—in essence, virtual instruments. Because of scientists such as Beauchamp, computer music has evolved from only abstract layers of sound, to sounds that include replicas of real instruments.