Music 170 / ICAM 103: Musical Acoustics
Fall quarter 2013. University of California, San Diego
Section ID 790019 (Music 170) 790020 (ICAM 103)./

Prerequisite: Music 1a, 2a, or 4.
Textbook: Online course notes (also in PDF)
Meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-4:50, Prebys Music Center room 136
Instructor: Professor Miller Puckette, CPMC 251, 858-534-4823,,
office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays after class
Teaching Assistants:
Tina Tallon, ttallon (at) ucsd (dot) edu; office hour 11AM-noon Wednesdays
Drew Allen, asallen (at) ucsd (dot) edu; office hour 2-3PM Tuesdays.

This course is designed to give students of the digital arts an understanding of the workings of sound, not only in traditional musical roles but also as a medium that is used in many different artistic practices. Four main areas concern us. First, how sound behaves in the real world and how it is represented electronically. Second, how and what we hear when the air moves. Third, sound technologies: computers, microphones and speakers, musical instruments. Finally, sound and its artistic uses.

Although there are online course notes (with links at top of this page), much of the content of the course is presented in class (so it is essential to attend regularly). There are eight weekly problem set/project assignments, to be turned in before class in Thursdays (on paper, please - we don't have any good way to mark up homework turned in electronically), three short in-class quizzes (20 or 30 minutes each), and a final exam. Final grade is a weighted average of homework (60%), quizes (20%), and final exam (20%).

The project assignments use the Pd program which you should download. You can get it from . You will also need this Pd library for acoustics.

Here are Joe Deken's video recordings of the classes (to watch or download).

Topics :

1. Sound and signals (Sep. 26 - Oct. 3). The first homework assignment is due Thursday, Oct. 10.

2. Sinusoids (Oct. 8-10) Homework assignment 2 is due Thursday, Oct. 17.

3. Spectra (Oct. 15-17. Quiz 1: Oct 15) Homework assignment 3 is due Thursday, Oct. 24.

4. Pitch and musical scales (Oct. 22-24) Homework assignment 4 is due Thursday, Oct. 31.

5. The voice (Oct. 29-31) Homework assignment 5 is due Thursday, Nov. 7.

6. Sound propagation part 1 (Nov. 5-7. Quiz 2: Nov 5) Homework assignment 6 is due Thursday, Nov. 14.

7. Sound propagation part 2 (Nov. 12-14) Homework assignment 7 is now due Tuesday, Nov. 26.

8. Measurement and detection (Nov. 19, 21) Homework assignment 8 is due Tuesday, Dec. 3.

9. Sound and art (Nov. 26, Dec. 3-5. Quiz3: Nov 26)

Final exam: Monday, Dec. 9, 3:00-6:00PM, same classroom.