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Physics of Music
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Class: MWF 14-15:00
Classroom: Hennings 201
Instructor: Chris Waltham
Office: Hennings 336
Office Hrs: MW 15:00
TA: CJ Kanjilal

Physics of Music

Calendar 2018

Learning Goals


Topics we will cover include:

  • Physical nature of sound
  • Human voice, hearing, perception
  • Pitch and scales
  • Harmony and dissonance
  • Strings and pipes
  • Physics of wood
  • Sound radiation from boxes, holes and bells

Grading Scheme

  • Short weekly quizzes (9, will count only the best 7 scores) following pre-reading and self-testing assignment: 20%
  • Midterm (20%)
  • Wiki writing project (30%)

Guidelines and example project

  • Final (30%)

Late writing projects will lose up to 20% of the maximum possible mark per day after the deadline.
This course observes the usual UBC standards of academic integrity and misconduct policy,
which includes an injunction against submitting written material for marks in more than one course.


Physics and Music: The Science of Musical Sound
Harvey E. White and Donald H. White (Dover Reprint 2014)
ISBN-10: 0486779343
ISBN-13: 978-0486779348
Kindle version available (~$16)

Lectures, Assignments, Resources

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