KNW2305 / PHYS 1320 / MPSY 5340 / PHYS 3320

Musical Acoustics

Fall 2016


Fredrick I. Olness (office 201 Fondren Science, phone 768-2500)

Thomas W. Tunks (office 2122 OAC, phone 768-3454)


LECTURE: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00 - 3:20, Fondren Science Rm. 158

LAB: Monday (1-3pm), (3-5pm) or (5-7pm), Fondren Science Rm. 60

Labs begin Monday August 22, 2016

BEWARE: On occasion, lecture and lab may be held in different rooms.

Course & Lab Schedule:


Lab description

Link to Grade sheets: Lecture and Lab

Link to general resources

Exam Review Material

Exam Formula Sheet

Link to the PreLab and Lab Assignments (in PDF format)

Rotating Lab Assignments for Students 2016 (PDF)

3320 Physics Homework Assignments

Suggestions for projects

Sample projects:

Katrina & Tyler

Shilpa Kudva Acoustics of the Flute Website

Maureen Lohry Piano Website

Special dates:

Thursday 27 October 2016
(Meadows OAC, Room 1110 the Band Hall, - 2:00-3:20 pm)

David Brown

Piano Technician:
Special lecture presentation

Thursday 3 November 2016
(class time: 2:00-3:20 pm)
Room 158 Fondren Science Building
Professor Andres Diaz

Professor of Cello:

Tuesday 8 November 2016, Perkins Chapel
Professor George Baker

(Guest Lecturer for Phys 1320)

Perkins Chapel:
Organ Demonstration/Performance:
(Counts for 2 quizzes)

Make-up assignment if you missed Organ Demonstration (Due Nov. 27)

Tuesday 29 November 2016
(class time: 2:00-3:20 pm)
Room 158 Fondren Science Building
Professor Jamal Mohammed

Director of the Meadows World Music Ensemble, percussion instructor and dance musician:


REVIEW: Tuesday 13 December 2016, 2:00pm - 3:30pm, Room 60

(FINAL EXAM: Wednesday 14 December 2016, 11:30am-2:30pm, Room 158)
(You may bring a sandwich or snack if you like)


John Backus (Author)

"The Acoustical Foundations of Music" Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2 edition (December 1977)


Selected books will be placed on reserve.

GRADES: Components are:

KNW 2305 / Phys 1320

Phys 3320

MPSY 5340

exams (50% each)

daily quizzes (20%)

Laboratory (30%)

exams (40% each)

daily quizzes (20%)

Homework (40%)

exams (50% each)

daily quizzes (20%)

paper & presentation (20%)

Laboratory (10%)

GROUP PROJECT:  Students can work in groups of 2 or 3 on a project of their choice. Suggestions for projects

PAPER & PRESENTATION (MPSY 5340 Only): Each student will be responsible for writing a paper 10 to 15 pages in length. You may, if you choose, submit your project in the form of a web page(s). The topic should be either the acoustics (psychoacoustics) of your own instrument or another acoustics topic of your choice. Presentations of this type are usually enhanced by a demonstration.

COURSE CONTENT: We will cover both the acoustics (physical sound properties) and the psychoacoustics (psychological, perceptual properties) of music. Topics will include sound in general, sound of musical instruments (including voice), sound characteristics of rooms, electronic production (synthesis) and reproduction of sound.

DEMONSTRATIONS: Demonstrations will be done in class sessions throughout the semester. You are encouraged to make suggestions about interesting ways to demonstrate the phenomena we are studying. Each class discussion will FOLLOW the reading of appropriate material, meaning that you will be expected to have completed the reading PRIOR to the class session for which it is listed. The same for tape listening assignments.

ASSIGNMENTS: Various problem sheets will be distributed for you to complete. Your completion of the problems is optional, and will be for your own benefit. As such, the problem sheets will not be graded. Other assignments, such as completing lab tasks and doing outside investigations will be considered under "participation".

Suggested Homework:

Study Problems Fall 2016
Physics 1320 Music & Physics Prof. Tunks & Olness

Chapt. 1: Questions: 1,2,4,5,  Problems: 1,2,9,11

Chapt. 2: Questions: 1,5,7,8,9   Problems: 4,5

Chapt. 3: Questions: 6,8,9   Problems: 1,3,4,5,8,11,13,17,

Chapt. 4: Questions: 2,3,  Problems: 1,2,4,5,6,14

Chapt. 5: Questions: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,  Problems: 1,4,8,9,10,11,12,14,16

Chapt. 6: Questions: 1,2,  Problems: 1,2,3,4,5,8,9,10

Chapt. 7: Questions: 1,2,  Problems: 1,2,3

Chapt. 8: Questions: 1,2,3,4,5,6  Problems: 1,4,7,9

Chapt. 9: Questions: 1,2,3  Problems: 1,2,3,4