PHYS 1320 / MPSY 5340 / PHYS 3320

Musical Acoustics

Fall 2003

Java Standing Wave Applet courtesy of Robert Hart

Fourier Synthesis Java Applet: or the whole collection of java applets

The Silophone Project

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

The winner of the "coolest video award" which was shown to me by Peter Havey.

1.3Mb MPEG Video

"Every so often, just the right combination of conditions and events occur to create an unbelievable event-in this case an F-18 passing through the sound barrier. Not only were the water vapor, density and temperature just right, but there just happened to be a camera in the vicinity to capture the moment. The F-18 is actually in transonic flight, with normal shock waves emanating from behind the canopy and across the wings and fuselage. The condition will last for only an instant, and once supersonic flow exists completely around the aircraft, sharp-angled sonic cones replace the normal shock waves. The odds of getting a shot like this are staggering."

Prof. Tunk's presentation of the Ear in PowerPoint (1.3M) and PDF (1.2M)


Fredrick I. Olness (office 103A FS, phone 768-2500)

Thomas W. Tunks (office 209 PAB, phone 768-3726)


LECTURE: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00 - 3:20, Fondren Science Rm.123

LAB: Monday   (1-3pm), (3-5pm) or (5-7pm), Fondren Science Rm.11

BEWARE: On occasion, lecture and lab may be held in different rooms.
Go to Course Schedule: Go to lab schedule Go to lab description


Hall, Musical Acoustics, Publisher: Brooks Cole; 3 edition (August 22, 2001). ISBN: 0534377289



Selected books will be placed on reserve.

GRADES: Components are:
PHYS 1320
MPSY 5340
PHYS 3320
exams (50% each)

daily quizzes (20%)

Laboratory (30%)

exams (50% each)

daily quizzes (20%)

paper & presentation (20%)

Laboratory (10%)

exams (40% each)

daily quizzes (20%)

Homework (40%)

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".



Black Hole Strikes Deepest Musical Note Ever Heard Astronomers have detected the deepest note ever generated in the cosmos, a B-flat flying through space like a ripple on an invisible pond. No human will actually hear the note, because it is 57 octaves below the keys in the middle of a piano.

Web Sites:


Perkins Chapel:

Perkins Chapel (DMN Reviw of George Baker)

CD's Recorded at Perkins Chapel:

 MARCEL DUPRE: Organ Works, Vol. 13
    * Performer(s): Dupre, Baker, Aeolian-Skinner, Schudi
    * Label: Naxos -  8.554542 
    * Audio CD (October 21, 2003)
    * ASIN: B0000BX5KC

Pierre PINCEMAILLE  - Improvisations
    Solstice Music:  SOCD203