CofC Link
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Syllabus: (PDF)

Email Dr. Larsen

Dr. Larsen's Main Page

Course Webpage for a somewhat similar course at UNC-Asheville.

Associated youtube videos supporting the UNC-Asheville course

Faculty Webpage of a professor who teaches another similar course at my alma mater, Michigan Technological University.

Honors Special Topics Course: The Physics of Sound and Music


This is the web-page for HONS 280, Physics of Sound and Music (Spring 2020). Materials on this webpage are meant to supplement information given to you in class itself. I'm not a big fan of OAKS, therefore any on-line supplementary material for the course you need can be found here. To the left, you'll find important links/syllabi/etc.

If you'd like to find out more about me, there's a brief bio here or you could check out my CV here.

- About This Course -

This course is an introduction to the Physics of sound production, propagation, and perception designed to be accessible and informative for students with or without a strong scientific or musical background. The details of the course content will be largely shaped by student background and interest; this course doesn't really serve as a prerequisite for anything else and it is considered a "foundations" course, so we won't feel overly beholden to "get to" a whole lot of different ideas. I'm hoping that your interest can help shape the course. See the syllabus (link at left) to learn more about course expectations and goals.
Hopefully, we'll learn a little about the science of sound and music and have some fun along the way.

- Important Annoucements -

COVID-19 Plan Related to Remote Instruction

Test of Video Quality / Announcements Regarding Remote Instruction

- E-Learning Lectures -

E-Learning Lecture 1 (3/23/20)
E-Learning Lecture 2 (3/25/20)
E-Learning Lecture 3 (3/27/20)
E-Learning Lecture 4 (3/30/20)
E-Learning Lecture 5 (4/1/20)
E-Learning Lecture 6 (4/3/20)
E-Learning Lecture 7 (4/6/20)
Introduction to Clavichord (To accompany 4/6 lecture)
Introduction to Harpsichord (To accompany 4/6 lecture)
Introduction to Pipe Organ (To accompany 4/6 lecture)

- Homework Assignments -

Homeworks will be assigned fairly regularly. All homework assignments will be equally weighted, and I will drop your lowest homework assignment from your semester grade. All homework assignments are due at or before the beginning of class on the stated due date.

Assignment 1 -- Fill out Webform (due 1/10/20)

Assignment 2(PDF) (due 1/13/20)

Assignment 3(PDF) (due 1/17/20)

Assignment 4(PDF) (due 1/24/20)

Assignment 5(PDF) (due 2/5/20)

Assignment 6(PDF) (due 2/14/20)

Assignment 7(PDF) (due 2/21/20)

Assignment 8(PDF) (due 2/28/20)

Assignment 9(PDF) (due 3/6/20)

Assignment 10(PDF) (due 3/13/20)

Assignment 11(PDF) (due 3/27/20)

Assignment 12(PDF) (due 4/3/20)

- Planned Presentation Dates and Topics -

April 8th, Georges M., Electronic Music Technology and its Origins
April 10th, Trey A., The Control of Noise
April 13th, Alex K., Auditorium Acoustics
April 15th, Will C., Singing
April 17th, Chase N., The Effects of Noise on People
April 20th, Quinn W., Small Rooms, Home Listening Rooms, and Recording Studios

Rubric for evaluating student presentations.

Instructions and Rubric for associated written summary of presentation topic.

- Links Aplenty -

What is Up with Noises (Movie shown on Day 1)
Physics Lecture on Oscillating Systems
Normal Modes (Part 1/4)
Normal Modes (Part 2/4)
Normal Modes (Part 3/4)
Normal Modes (Part 4/4)
Simple Link Between Simple Harmonic Oscillation and Circular Motion
Phet on Oscillations
Phet on Pendula
Phet on Resonances
Making a Rubens Tube
Kundt's Tube Resonance
Chladni Plate
More Chladni Plates (Bow Excitation)
Assorted Cool Sound Applets
Microtonal organ example
Another Physics of Sound and Music Page
Filtering Applet
Signal Processing Applets
Filtering Applet

updated: 6 April 2020