Many university music programs include an acoustics module, often taught by a physicist. At the University of Edinburgh, such a module has existed since the 1850s; taking over this course as a junior lecturer was my introduction to the fascinating world of musical acoustics. It rapidly became clear that a meaningful communication between scientists and musicians required humility and willingness to learn from both sides. This lecture explores aspects of that mutual learning process, focusing on some controversial areas in which the reconciling of scientific and musical viewpoints has not always proceeded in a spirit of humility.