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Acoustics of Music

Course Code: PHYS 1106
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Physics
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

An introduction to the physical principles of sound as related to music and music technology. Topics include the properties of sound, room acoustics, acoustics of musical instruments, psychoacoustics, and various sound measurement techniques.

Course Content

  1. Simple harmonic motion, wave parameters; wavelength, frequency, resonance, wave intensity
  2. Sound sources, measurements; intensity level versus intensity of sound
  3. Physiology and hearing theories
  4. Transforms and spectral analysis
  5. The vibrating string
  6. The vibrating air column; resonant air columns/speed of sound in air
  7. The vibrating membrane
  8. The human voice
  9. Room acoustics
  10. The audio chain
  11. Psychoacoustics

Methods of Instruction

Lecture/demonstration. Class time will be divided between the presentation and discussion of concepts on the one hand and the application of these concepts in music technology on the other, with majority of time devoted to the latter.   

Means of Assessment

Assignments/Quizzes/Projects - maximum of  20%

Midterm Exam – at least two tests administered during the semester,  minimum 30%/maximum 50%         

Final Exam – minimum 30%/maximum 40%

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to understand the basic acoustic principles involved in the generation, propagation, perception, registration, and measurement of sound, and they will understand how to apply this knowledge in the context of performing, recording, creation, or analysis of music.

course prerequisites

BAM entrance or permission of instructor

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.