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Semester 1

Acoustics (Level 10) (MUSI10118)







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This course requires the use of multivariable calculus, complex algebra, and linear systems theory, so students must have studied an appropriate set of pre-Honours courses covering such material (as well as a suitable Music background); we will only consider university-college level courses passed at grade B or above. A familiarity with basic physics, such as Newtonian mechanics, is also helpful. **Spaces on Music courses are limited in 2022/23, and so enrolment cannot be guaranteed for any visiting student**

Course Summary

Acoustics is the scientific study of sound, including its production, control, transmission, and reception. In this course you will survey, at a fundamental and mathematical level, a range of canonical systems of relevance in musical, architectural, and engineering acoustics. You will also learn to make, analyse, and evaluate measurements of acoustical systems, and mindfully integrate these within the context of a short project.

Course Description

Morse says in the book "Vibration and Sound" (1948, p.20) that 'The whole study of sound is a study of vibrations'. In this course you will discover why this is such a salient statement, and how a fundamental understanding of sound, based upon acoustical analysis, can lend insight into the design and function of physical and virtual musical instruments, concert halls, loudspeakers and microphones, the human ear, audio/video conferencing and virtual reality tools, cochlear implants and hearing aids, and a host of other interesting systems. In technical terms, 'acoustics' concerns the generation, transmission, and reception of energy in the form of vibrational waves in matter. We often refer to such waves as 'sound', particularly when, as in many musical and engineering applications, we are concerned with their behaviour in air and at frequencies audible to humans. This course surveys a range of fundamental and canonical acoustical systems of relevance in musical, architectural, and engineering acoustics, such as lumped elements, strings, bars, membranes, and acoustic tubes. The focus is on developing your technical knowledge and experience, allowing you to solve problems, develop ideas, and build connections with other disciplines such as audio programming, sound synthesis, data analysis, and design engineering. The course is split into two parts. In Part A (approximately the first 2/3 of the course) you will explore acoustics at a fundamental, mathematical level through lectures, tutorials, and coursework. In Part B (final 1/3 of the course) you will engage in project work, employing hands-on acoustical measurement and analysis tools, such as loudspeakers and microphones, to apply, analyse, and contextualise your knowledge of acoustics in real-world applications. The teaching activity pattern typically involves 4 hours of contact time per week, split across lectures, tutorials, and workshops.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 30%, Coursework 70%, Practical Exam 0%

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