FS 9: The Science of Music -- Fall 2017


Course Description (Click it.)

6 units (2-0-4) P/F

Fall 2017
Instructor: David Politzer
e-mail: politzer at theory.caltech

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, November 29, 9:00 to 10:00 am. We'll meet at the Ath for breakfast.

Here is a list and description of some sound analysis freeware. Spectroid (linked here) is my latest addition to the list, a free app that gives a nice real-time spectrum of the sound coming in to your device.

There are zillions of "educational" sound-related pages on the Web, with demos, simulations, explanations, and derivations. Many of the ones I list explicitly are part of someone's much larger effort to present some science. So, if you use your browser to go back up their tree, you will likely come to a directory or a page with lots of related links.

Here are a few, in random order:

Visualizing molecule motion of sound in air -- a cartooney animation

whyyouhearwhatyouhear.com is a maintained and updated Web site that goes with the book of the same name (#18 on our SF Library reserve list). It's got great demos, resource links, and explanations.

At the University of New South Wales (Australia), they have a serious physics of music program with lots of stuff on-line. (Here is another portal to their site.)

A particle physics experimentalist has taught a sophisticated physics of music course at the University of Indiana. Its Web site from a couple of years ago (still posted [are there up-dates?]) has a lot of interesting stuff. Scroll down and click on "Teaching" and/or P105 - Basic Physics of Sound. (We should talk sometime about cochlear implants.)

A group at the University of Colorado produces wonderful interactive physics simulations. This is the one on waves on a string.

Hyperphysics, produced at Georgia State University, has a "Sound and Hearing" section with useful materials.

I can't figure out who Paul Falstad is, but he puts great physics applets on-line.

These days, Wolfram Enterprises is the home of much more than Mathematica. Three demonstrations on demonstrations.wolfram.com recently caught my eye: locating the hammer on a piano wire; string vibrations; and vibrations of simple systems. These demos are best with a free downloadable player. (Also note that Caltech has a Mathematica site license -- as well as lots of other stuff you can get for free from IMSS.)