Taking a Physics of Music course! Post inspiring questions and cutting edge tech!
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xdbvdbx

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Hello all,

I am a physics undergraduate student and am taking a physics of music course for fun during the upcoming fall semester. I want to go into the course with a lot of questions in mind and thought the community would be a great place to seek additional questions and curiosities! Post some of the cutting edge research subjects going on right now in audio!

I would like to hear everyone's questions and take inspiration from them!
 
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gregorio

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[1] I am a physics undergraduate student and am taking a physics of music course for fun during the upcoming fall semester. I want to go into the course with a lot of questions in mind and thought the community would be a great place to seek additional questions and curiosities!
[2] Post some of the cutting edge research subjects going on right now in audio!
1. I'm not sure there is any physics of music! There's physics of sound and physics of audio but it's relatively old and well established, rather than cutting edge.

2. Cutting edge related to music would be more in the fields of psychoacoustics and programming/machine learning (for example), rather than physics.

So, the first question could be: What is music (as opposed to audio or sound)?

G
 
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xdbvdbx

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1. I'm not sure there is any physics of music! There's physics of sound and physics of audio but it's relatively old and well established, rather than cutting edge.

2. Cutting edge related to music would be more in the fields of psychoacoustics and programming/machine learning (for example), rather than physics.

So, the first question could be: What is music (as opposed to audio or sound)?

G
Hah good question! I'm pretty sure it's just a dumbed-down physics elective with the excuse to bring in a new professor for research!

The course describes it as the context of the production and perception of music, emphasizing the historic and scientific interplay between physics and music. Basic quantitative laboratories pertaining to sound, music, and waves. I wanted to use it as an opportunity to just ask as many questions as possible. It's not a required course and counts as 4 credits, however, it doesn't even apply to my elective credits.
 
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gregorio

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[1] Hah good question! I'm pretty sure it's just a dumbed-down physics elective with the excuse to bring in a new professor for research!
[2] The course describes it as the context of the production and perception of music,
[2a] emphasizing the historic and scientific interplay between physics and music.
[2b] Basic quantitative laboratories pertaining to sound, music, and waves.
[3] I wanted to use it as an opportunity to just ask as many questions as possible.
1. It is a good question if you want to screw with the new professor! :) There is no definition of music ... Or rather; there are several definitions of music but all of them have gaping holes and are therefore not "definitive".

2. The "perception of music" is all about subjective qualitative judgement and therefore has very little to do with physics, except in regards to the brain's electrical activity which enables the ability to make subjective judgements.
2a. The history of the interplay between physics and music starts with Pythagoras and his discovery of the mathematical relationship of harmonics. One could argue that not only did it start with Pythagoras but it ended with him too! Although there is of course a lot of physics (contained in the field of "acoustics") in for example the manufacture of musical instruments, musical instruments don't inherently produce music, which brings us back to perception. There's a considerable amount of mathematics in music but again, it's mathematics/calculations describing perceived (rather than actual) relationships (contained in the field of "music theory"/"musicology").
2b. If you broaden the course name to include sound and waves, rather than just music, then there's quite a bit of physics: The physics of electrical and analogue waves, the physics of sound waves (acoustics), "Information Theory" (digital audio) and the physics/mathematics of converting or transducing between them.

3. There are countless potential questions, depending on which way you want to go. For example, there's a lot of questions one could ask that pertain to the audiophile world, because the audiophile world routinely flouts/contradicts the established physics of digital data, analogue and sound waves, as well as the anatomy and physics of the human ear itself but virtually none of it is "cutting edge", despite marketing claims to the contrary.

G
 
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Sounds like you're going to learn about acoustic amplification (horns, sounding boxes, etc.) and the effect of the room on instruments. Sounds interesting.
 
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Hello all,

I am a physics undergraduate student and am taking a physics of music course for fun during the upcoming fall semester. I want to go into the course with a lot of questions in mind and thought the community would be a great place to seek additional questions and curiosities! Post some of the cutting edge research subjects going on right now in audio!

I would like to hear everyone's questions and take inspiration from them!
Music is an art form....applying physics to art is like applying logic to a coin toss...now sound perhaps??
 
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old tech

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Music is an art form....applying physics to art is like applying logic to a coin toss...now sound perhaps??
Logic can and is applied to tosses of a coin - mathematical probability.
 
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Hah good question! I'm pretty sure it's just a dumbed-down physics elective with the excuse to bring in a new professor for research!

The course describes it as the context of the production and perception of music, emphasizing the historic and scientific interplay between physics and music. Basic quantitative laboratories pertaining to sound, music, and waves. I wanted to use it as an opportunity to just ask as many questions as possible. It's not a required course and counts as 4 credits, however, it doesn't even apply to my elective credits.

Well,
There are room acoustics, loudspeakers, instrument acoustics. Physics and Music are not completely correlated. But physics is the model that defines how the sound will travel in any medium.

Which school?

The practice of evaluating sound has no relationship to physics. It is psychology and psychoacoustics.

Spherical Harmonics (Ambisonics) is an interesting physics topic. It's rather old but is gaining a lot of traction given the rise of spatial, AR/VR audio.

Designing a loudspeaker and DSP is physics, art, and psychology.
 
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bigshot

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I doubt this is going to be about home stereos. I think it will probably be about acoustics as they relate to musical instruments... acoustic amplification, the effect of venues on sound, how reeds and violin bows work, etc.
 
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coin toss is always 50/50 random....if it comes up heads 10 times in a row...next toss is still 50/50 :wink:
Yes 50/50 is the probability of any toss of a fair coin. Why isn't that logic?
 
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Glmoneydawg

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Logic can and is applied to tosses of a coin - mathematical probability.
in this case mathematical probability = random and therefore not predictable by physics,math or science.Lol we must be bored here bud:wink:
 
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Great inputs so far! Thanks for contributing and I hope more do so as well!

I learned more, the topics will be:

Waves and the Language of Physics
Melodic Instruments and the Origins of Music and Science
Non-Melodic Instruments: Non-Harmonic and 2-D systems
Waves and Interference
Applications: Feedback and the Doppler Effect
Psychoacoustics: Consonance and Dissonance

With labs in:

Introduction to Waves and PASCO Program
Vibrating String
Sound Waves in a Tube
Vibrational Modes of a Metal Bar
Sound Waves in a Rectangular Cavity
Equivalence of Standing Waves and Traveling Waves
Interference
Gain and Feedback
Sound Waves in a Rectangular Cavity (Again)
Interference of Light
 
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