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Course Code: 
ME 485
Course Type: 
Area Elective
Laboratory Hour: 
Course Language: 
Course Content: 

This course is intended to awaken in engineering and science students an interest in the complex physical problems encountered in music and musical instruments. The coverage of subjects is also designed as an introduction to sound engineering. Technical subjects range from simple harmonic motion to intermediate level signal analysis, to related partial differential equations. Although superficial, a wide-ranging exposition to the theory and history of music is also presented. Basic experiments, computer applications, and projects accompany the theoretical coverage.

  • Waves and Harmonics: Vibration, Harmonic Motion, Beats, Resonance, Damping, Sound, Introduction to Wave Mechanics, Vibrating Strings, Vibrating Air Columns, Vibrating Membranes.
  • Fourier Theory − Physics of Musical Instruments
  • Introduction to Musical Terminology and Notation
  • Consonance and Dissonance
  • Perception
  • Digital Music
  • The Orchestra


The objectives of this course is to introduce the principals of sound and acoustics as applied to musical instruments and music theory:

  • A general perspective on acoustics and psychoacoustics
  • An understanding of classical wave equation and music instruments
  • An understanding of musical intervals from a mathematical point of view.
  • Ability to calculate frequency of musical notes and frequency ratios.
  • Ability to calculate open field acoustic properties
  • An understanding of musical terminology and concepts, including orchestra.
  • An understanding of digital music concepts

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