PHYS 140: Physics of Music

This course will focus on the physics of various phenomena associated with music. A quantitative, mathematical approach will be used and students will apply the methods of science to gain a greater understanding of music.  Topics will include harmonics, frequency and tone, overtones, spectral analysis and the physics of scales.  Liberal Arts Exploration.

What is music?  How is it made?  These questions can be asked from several familiar perspectives --  artist,  performer, or composer.  These questions, however, can also be examined from a scientific perspective.  Why do musical instruments each have a characteristic sound?  How does the environment influence the perception of music?  How should an instrument be tuned?  Where does the sound come from in a clarinet?  These are all questions that can be answered by science.

Useful Information

Class Time                        MTWRF 8:00-10:45 AM 
Location                            P118 
Instructor                         Dr. Hoffman

Help Session                     MTWRF 3:00-5:00 PM 
Location                            P211 
Teaching Assistant          Jon Yuly


"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”


“The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition. My new discovery is the result of musical perception.”

Albert Einstein

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