Tuesday, May 5, 2015

PHYS207 Physics of Music Autumn 2015

General Information: This course is for anyone interested in the interplay of Physics and Music. There are no prerequisites, apart from the desire to learn something new and willingness to work on it. We cover a very broad range of topics, from the basic properties of vibrations and waves, through the almost-miraculous sound perception by the cochlea and analysis by the brain, all the way to the issues of consonance and dissonance, tuning and temperament. We also include some discussions of the sound technology (microphones, speakers, room acoustics etc) as well as the use of modern computers (MIDI sequencers, sound analysis and synthesis, CDs and MP3, computer analysis of music scores and more).

Throughout the course the course, considerable emphasis is put on the Music aspects, so that students will learn about counterpoint and fugues and other musical concepts as they relate to musical acoustics. Consequently, the enrollment usually represents a rich mix of students from the Humanities as well as from Math and Science departments. Since we start with everything from scratch, and a large part of the grade comes from an essay on student's choice (see below), the final course grades come out quite independent of the student's previous exposure to science or music.

Lectures will complement rather than regurgitate the text. Also, there will be many demonstrations, both physical and musical. Therefore, it will be essential for students to come to class – this is not a course where you can stay home and just read the textbook. Near the end of the course, we will make a “field trip” to experience the UW pipe organ in the Kane Hall.

Lectures: Monday Wednesday Friday 11:30 AM - 12:20 PM in Physics/Astronomy
bldg. room A118

Instructor: Vladimir (”Vladi”) Chaloupka, Professor of Physics Emeritus
past Adjunct Professor, School of Music
past Affiliate, Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center
past Affiliate faculty in DXARTS,
and an amateur organist
(all these attributes will be obvious in just about every lecture ....)
+ past Adjunct professor at the Jackson School (in this course: in TGIF moments …)
Physics Astronomy Building room B309
tel. 206-543-8965 FAX 206-685-9242 vladi@uw.edu
website: http://faculty.washington.edu/vladi/phys207
office hours: after each class, and by appointment
Textbook: Manuscript of a textbook by the Instructor scheduled to be published in 2016 by Morgan & Claypool / Institute of Physics