Acoustics

Independent Study contract

This course introduces students to the fundamental properties of sound waves and the physical mechanisms by which they are produced in string, wind, and percussion instruments. Mathematics is used throughout to analyze both the physics of musical tones and the creation of conventional scales along which they are played.
Text: The Physics of Music and Musical Instruments, David Lapp.
Assignments Due Read and answer questions from pages 1 - 14. Due Experiment: Determine the speed of sound using two independent methods. Write a brief report (400 words) describing these methods and the results. Due Read and answer questions from pages 15 - 26. Due Experiment: For both a closed/open and open/open pipe with adjustable lengths, graph frequency versus pipe length. Write a brief report describing the methods and results. Due Read and answer questions from pages 27 - 39. Due Experiment: For a metal wire, graph frequency versus tension. Write a brief report describing the methods and results. Due Read and answer questions from pages 40 - 54. Due Experiment: Record four stringed instruments playing various notes and compare the FFT graphs. Write a brief report describing the methods and results. SpectrumView is a good, basic FFT program. Due Read and answer questions from pages 55 - 65. Due Experiment: Record four brass instruments playing various notes and compare the FFT graphs. Write a brief report describing the methods and results. Due Read and answer questions from pages 66 - 78. Due Experiment: Record four reed instruments playing various notes and compare the FFT graphs. Write a brief report describing the methods and results. Due Read and answer questions from pages 79 - 88. Due Experiment: Record four percussion instruments and compare the FFT graphs. Write a brief report describing the methods and results. Due Read and answer questions from pages 89 - 96. Due Experiment: Construct an instrument capable of playing a full octave of notes. Record the tones and compare the FFT graphs to those of manufactured instruments. Write a brief report describing the methods and results. Due Read and answer questions from pages 97 - 110. Due Experiment: Record performances at various positions within the school auditorium, measuring relative tone quality and loudness. Write a brief report describing the methods and results.