Physics 3100: Sounds of Music

Fall 2009

Lecture: 11:45-13:10 TTh, Room 245, Physics Building

Lab 1: 11:45-13:45 M, Room 115, Physics Building

Lab 2: 11:45-13:45 W, Room 115, Physics Building

Lab 3: 9:35-11:35 T, Room 115, Physics Building

This is a 4 credit course. This course is an introduction to the physical basis for the production, propagation, and perception of sound with special emphasis on musical sounds.

Professor: David Cinabro (333 Physics, 313-577-2918,,
Office Hours:10:30-11:30 TTh or by appointment
Lab Instructor: Professor Rolnick, (218 Physics, 313-577-2734,
Lab Instructor: Shane Walton, (
Text: The Physics of Sound by Berg and Stork, Pearson; 2005 and Physics 3100 Laboratory Manual by Payson and Sebastian, Wayne State University; 2007-2009 which is provide for download required.
3 Exams or 2 Exams and one paper (75%)
There will be two exams during the term and one as the final exam. One five page paper can be written on a topic agreed upon with the instructor instead of taking one of the three exams. The paper is due on the day of the exam that it will replace.
Ten two hour labs are scheduled. Grades are based on written lab reports that are turned in at the start of the next scheduled lab. The lab of the week is given below. Note that during the weeks of exams no labs are scheduled.
Final Exam
The final is Friday 18 December at 10:40. This will be the third of the exams.
Reading Summaries
There are 25 lectures with reading after the first class. Turning in a summary of the reading will be worth 1.0 points, and a good one will be worth 2.0 points. Reading summaries are due at the start of each lecture. Late reading summaries will not be accepted. These points are not simply additions to the total, but reduce the weight of the other requirements. For example if 50 points were earned in Reading Summaries then the contributions would be Reading Summaries 50%, Exams and Paper 37.5% and Labs 12.5%.
Each lecture is associated with some problems from the book. These are not required, but highly recommended. The book questions will form the basis of the exams.

Day by Day in Class

Date Topic Chapters Problems Lab
3 Sep Introduction; Simple Harmonic Motion 1.1-1.3 Q1.1, Q1.4, Q1.5, P1.2 No Lab
8 Sep Damped, Driven, and Combined Oscillations 1.4-1.5 Q1.6, Q1.7, Q1.10, P1.6 No Lab
10 Sep Wave Basics 2.1-2.2 Q2.1, Q2.3, Q2.4, Q2.5, P2.5 No Lab
15 Sep Wave Behavior 2.3-2.5 Q2.7, Q2.9, Q2.12, Q2.15 Simple Vibrating Systems
17 Sep Extreme Waves 2.6-2.9 Q2.17, P2.8 Simple Vibrating Systems
22 Sep Standing Waves and Resonance 3.1-3.2 Q3.2, Q3.5 The Oscilloscope
24 Sep String and Tube Waves 3.3-3.5 Q3.3, Q3.4, Q3.6, Q3.10, P3.1, P3.2, P3.4, P3.6 The Oscilloscope
29 Sep Complex Waves 4.1-4.2 Q4.1, Q4.2, P4.1, P4.2, P4.5 Properties of Waves
1 Oct Tone Quality 4.3-4.4 Q4.3, Q4.4, Q4.5, Q4.7, Q4.9, P4.7 Properties of Waves
6 Oct Exam 1 1-4 - No Lab
8 Oct Synthesis of Musical Sounds 5.1-5.2 Q5.1, Q5.2, Q5.3, Q5.4 No Lab
13 Oct Electronic Music 5.3-5.4 - Beats, Tuning and Pitch
15 Oct Human Hearing 1 6.1-6.4 Q6.1,Q6.2,Q6.3,Q6.5,P6.1,P6.2,P6.3 Beats, Tuning and Pitch
20 Oct Human Hearing 2 6.4-6.11 Q6.7, Q6.8, P6.5 Standing Waves in Strings
22 Oct Human Voice 6.12-6.14 Q6.10, Q6.11, Q6.18 Standing Waves in Strings
27 Oct Microphones 7.1-7.3 Q7.1,Q7.2,Q7.3,Q7.4,P7.1 Standing Waves in Air
29 Oct Speakers and Amps 7.4-7.7 Q7.8,Q7.10 Standing Waves in Air
3 Nov Sound Recording 7.8-7.10 P7.2,P7.3,P7.4 Sound Levels
5 Nov Room Acoustics 8.1-8.5 Q8.1,Q8.2,Q8.6,Q8.10 Sound Levels
10 Nov Exam 2 5-8 - No Lab
12 Nov Pitch 1 9.1-9.4 Q9.1,Q9.2 No Lab
17 Nov Pitch 2 9.5-9.8 - Ear Sensitivity
19 Nov Woodwinds 1 10.1-10.5 Q10.6,P10.1,P10.3 Ear Sensitivity
24 Nov Woodwinds 2 10.6-10.9 Q10.11,Q10.12,P10.6,P10.7,P10.8 No Lab
1 Dec Brass 11.1-11.6 Q11.1,Q11.5,Q11.10,P11.4,P11.6 Musical Instruments
3 Dec Stringed Instruments 12.1-12.4 Q12.1,Q12.2,P12.1 Musical Instruments
8 Dec The Piano 13.1-13.4 Q13.1,Q13.3,Q13.8,P13.1,P13.3,P13.4,P13.7 Musical Intervals
10 Dec Percussion Instruments 14.1-14.4 Q14.1,Q14.3.Q14.5,P14.1 Musical Intervals
18 Dec Final 9-14 - No Lab
Date Topic Reading Problems Lab

Last modified: Tue Oct 28 11:27:40 EDT 2008