Acoustics, its branches. Sound, sound pressure. Sound vibrations, their parameters: amplitude, period, frequency, relationship between period and frequency. Ultrasound, infrasound. Sound wave, its complementary parameters: wavelength, speed of sound. Relationship between parameters of sound wave. Sound pressure level, its relationship with sound level. Standard threshold of hearing. Sound intensity, sound intensity level, their relationship. Absolute sound level. Dynamic range. Sound power. Pitch. Pitch standard. Relationship between pitch and frequency (in 12TET). Sound envelope, its phases: attack, decay, sustain, release. Kinds of sounds: tonal (musical) sounds, noises, mixed, pulse sounds.
|sound spectrum||Pure tone. Time and frequency images of a sound: waveform and spectrum. Waveform and spectrum of pure tone. Complex tone, its waveform and spectrum, summation of vibrations. Fundamental tone, partials, harmonics, overtones. Fourier transform. Natural scale. Spectra of noises and mixed sounds. "Instantaneous" spectrum, Long-term average spectrum, spectrogram.|
|sound generation and propagation||Change of intensity of a propagating sound wave. The Doppler effect. Sound reflection, refraction, diffraction, their dependence on wavelength. Echo. Sound interference. Beats. Standing wave. Nodes, antinodes. Sound generation by a string. Modes of a string, dependence of their frequencies and pitch on the parameters of string. Sound generation in pipes (closed, open). Modes of closed and open pipes, dependence of their frequencies and pitches on the dimensions of pipes and speed of sound. Transients, resonance. Acoustic impedance.|
|physiological and psychological acoustics|
|hearing; music perception||Structure
of ear, acoustic functions of its parts. Formation of sound sensation
ear cochlea and nervous system. Critical band. Binaural hearing.
“Internal” hearing (direct propagation of voice). Objective
and subjective parameters of sound, their
relationships. Range of hearing, thresholds of hearing. Loudness level.
Fletcher-Munson curves, reasoning of equalizer. Difference limen
of sound intensity. Masking and possibility of compression of sonic
Loudness. Loudness of pure and complex tones. Overall loudness of
several tones. Pitch
theories (place, periodicity, pattern recognition, etc.). Pitch
deviation from the “octave law”. Difference
limen of pitch.
Perception of fast processes.
Sensory and perceptual moments, vibrato, microrhythmic patterns.
dependence on sound spectrum and attack. Timbre and issues of sampling.
Levels of speech and music perception. Categorization and hierarchical organization of sounds.
|acoustics of intervals||Combination (difference and sum) tones. Subjective (aural) harmonics. Consonance and dissonance. Former theories of consonance / dissonance (Pythagoras,.. Helmholtz). Consonance / dissonance of pure tones and critical band. Consonance / dissonance of complex tones and accords.|
|musical scales||Nature of phenomenon of musical scale and universals. Theoretic and practical scales. The Phytagorean scale: principle of its construction, intervals. Ditonic (Pythagorean) comma. Just intonation: principle of its construction, intervals. Syntonic (Didymean) comma. Temperament. Meantone temperaments. Circular and well temperaments. Equal twelve-tone temperament: principle of its construction, intervals. Historical and cultural aspects of musical scales.|
|acoustics of musical instruments|
|plucked chordophones||Acoustical structure of an instrument. Motion of a string. Spectrum of the string vibrations, its dependence on the place and manner (fingertip, fingernail or plectrum) of plucking, the corresponding differences in timbre. Transmission of string vibrations through bridge to top plate. Vibrations of the body, techniques of their investigation. Role of sound hole(s). Sound radiation. Response (resonance) curve, the main resonances of an instrument, characteristics of spectrum and timbre. Loudness curve and interpretation of the instrument's acoustic quality. Electric guitar. Dependence of timbre on the position of a pickup.|
structure of an instrument. Bow-string interaction and motion of a
string. Spectrum of the string
vibrations and their transmission through bridge to top plate. Role of
sound post and bass bar. Acoustic differences of sul tasto and sul ponticello. Vibrations of the body, techniques
of their investigation. Role of
sound hole(s). Sound radiation. Response (resonance) curve, the main
resonances of an instrument, characteristics of spectrum and timbre.
curve and interpretation of the instrument's acoustic quality.
"Wolf tone". Acoustic differences of plucked and bowed chordophones.
|Acoustical structure of an instrument. Acoustic similarities and differences of struck and plucked chordophones. Grand piano. Hammer-string interaction (dependence on hardness of the hammer, forte/piano differences, the corresponding differences in spectrum and timbre). Temporal change of spectrum, the corresponding properties of timbre. Inharmonicity of strings, tuning of unisons. Differences of registers (number and thickness of unisonic strings, hammer-string interaction), their acoustic reasoning.|
|lip aerophones||Acoustical structure of an instrument. Lip vibrations. Bernoulli effect. Oscillations in a pipe. Impedance curve. Cutoff frequency. Nonlinear interaction of modes. Spectrum of vibrations in the pipe. Role of bell and mouthpiece. Case of conical pipe. Stability of different tones. Valves and slides, variation of length of pipe and problem of retuning. Sound radiation, radiation curve. Characteristics of spectrum and timbre, their dependence on cutoff frequency, blowing force and other acoustic parameters.|
|reed aerophones||Acoustical structure of an instrument. Reed vibrations. Oscillations in a pipe. Impedance curve. Cutoff frequency. Spectrum of vibrations in the pipe. Role of bell and tone holes. Formation of registers. Sound radiation, radiation curve. Characteristics of spectrum and timbre, their dependence on cutoff frequency, blowing force, open tone holes, and other acoustic parameters.|
structure of an instrument. Vibrations of "air reed". Edgetone,
dependence of its frequency on the speed of air jet (blowing force) and
the length of gap between the flue and wedge. Oscillations
in a pipe. Cutoff frequency. Spectrum of vibrations in the pipe. Formation
of registers (overblowing), possibilities of their changes in various
radiation, radiation curve. Characteristics of spectrum and
their dependence on cutoff frequency, blowing force, open tone holes, and other acoustic
parameters. Acoustic differences of lip, reed,
and flute-type aerophones.
|idiophones and membranophones||Acoustical structure of the instruments, its variety. Vibrations of bars. Peculiarities of their spectra, pitch perception, and timbre. Role of shape and material of the bar: acoustic differences of xylophone, marimba, and vibes. Vibrations of membranes. Arrangements of nodes and antinodes. Peculiarities of spectrum, pitch perception, and timbre (case of membrane). Dependence of spectrum on the striking point and mallet's softness, the corresponding timbral differences. Similarities and differences of acoustics of rigid surfaces and membranes, techniques of investigation.|
|speech||Structure of voice apparatus. Vocal folds. Phonation, Bernoulli effect. Vibrations of air flow and spectrum of the glottal output; their dependence on subglottal pressure. Dependence of voice timbre on the intensity of phonation. Noise generation. Formation of voice spectrum. Characteristics of resonances of vocal tract. Formants, filter function of the resonator. Modeling of the resonator. F1-F2 chart of the vowel system. Acoustics of diphthongs. Formation and acoustic characteristics of various consonants (fricatives, affricates, nasals, approximants, liquids). Phases of consonants. Loci.|
|singing||Common and distinctive acoustic features of speech and singing. Vibrato. Registers and voice categories, their physiological nature, spectral and timbral differences. Phonetic (formant) differences of spoken and sung vowels. Impact of position of glottis. Singer's formant. Formant technique. Overtone singing. Acoustic aspects of choral singing.|
|General criteria for room acoustics and methods of their realization. Direct sound, early reflections, reverberation. Reverberation time. Optimal reverberation times for various types of music and room sizes. Dependence of reverberation time on room volume and surfaces (area and absorption). Precedence effect and its handling in sound reinforcement.|
some useful links
best short introduction-encyclopedia into musical acoustics (see
'Sound and Hearing'). Various
topics. Popularly, yet not poorly. here
Splendid encyclopedia of general acoustics. Also some physiological acoustics, musical scales, electroacoustics. here
Animations to realize better what is sound wave, propagation and interference of sound waves, standing waves, beats... here here
On the development of pitch standard. here
Pitch, pitch standard, musical scales, classification of musical instruments. here
Inner air. here
Vocabulary of terms of music perception. here
Theoretic musical scales, history. Good overview, though some chapters over the hill (e.g. on consonance). here
Just intonation. here
Meantone, irregular temperaments... here
Microtones (encyclopedia). here
Short encyclopedia of musical instruments for leisure reading. here
Acoustics of violin and guitar for advanced users. here
Acoustics of grand piano for really advanced users. here
Aerophones, guitar, violin. Well done! here
Popularly about musical instruments (in French) here
Ingo R. Titze: brilliantly and popularly; various topics on voice. here
Overview of studies on choral acoustics. here
Assorted studies on speech and musical acoustics, and hearing for the advanced researchers. here