Physics of Musical Sound

An introduction to the physics and psychophysics of musical sound.

Course Number: 33-114

An introduction to the physics and psychophysics of musical sound. Elementary physics of vibrating systems. Propagation of sound: traveling waves, reflection, and diffraction. Addition of waves: interference and beats. Anatomy of the ear and the perception of sound: loudness, pitch, and timbre. Standing waves and natural modes. Qualitative description of general periodic systems by Fourier analysis: the harmonic series and complex musical tones. The acoustics of musical instruments including percussion instruments, such as drums, bars, and struck and plucked strings; and instruments exhibiting self-sustained oscillations, including bowed strings, blown pipes, reeds, brasses, and singing. Intervals and consonance, musical scales, tuning and temperament. Basic room and auditorium acoustics. There are no formal prerequisites, but an ability to read music and having some previous musical experience will be very useful.


Course Type: Supportive Course
Offered By:
Program: Sound Design

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