Brief description of the course
Oscillations and waves. The properties of a wave: frequency, amplitude, period, speed. Types of waves: longitudinal and transverse waves. Standing waves: formation, nodes and antinodes, harmonics, examples from music.
The behaviour of waves: reflection, refraction, interference and diffraction of waves.
Sound as a wave: sound wave as a mechanical, longitudinal and pressure wave.
The properties of a sound wave: pitch and frequency, overtones, sound scale, sound intensity and the amplitude of a pressure wave, decibel scale, auditory threshold, speed of sound.
The behaviour of sound waves: interference – harmonies and dissonances, the pulsation of sound (e.g. while tuning a guitar), intervals as a ratio of sound wave frequencies, the Doppler effect and a shock wave, the behaviour of a sound wave on edges (on tips of the string of an instrument), reflection, refraction and diffraction of sound in architecture – echo and the focal point of the sound in a room.
Resonance of sound: natural frequency, shape, spectrum and timbre of sound (why do instruments have their peculiar sound), forced oscillations and resonance, resonance in music (who do the violins, guitars, etc. have a sound box), standing waves on a two-level plate: Chladni plates, analogue: the sound box of a violin, piano case. Main frequency and harmonics of the string of an instrument.
Physics of musical instruments:
Stringed instruments, brass instruments. Percussion instruments: sound and noise, percussion instruments with a certain and uncertain pitch (what differentiates them in the sound spectrum). Keyboard instruments. Electronic music.
Sound and biology: how does a person make the sound, how does the sound reach a person's ear and brain.
Learning outcomes in the course
Upon completing the course the student:
- understands the physical principles of sound and can link it with music;
- knows the physical principles of producing a sound in instruments;
- can measure different physical characteristics of instruments, and analyse the results;
- understands the physical and biological principles of producing and hearing a sound.