Music 170: Musical Acoustics
Fall quarter 2018. University of California, San Diego
Section ID 790019/

Prerequisite: Music 1a, 2a, or 4.
Textbook: Online course notes
Meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-4:50, Prebys Music Center room 136
Instructor: Professor Miller Puckette, CPMC 251, 858-534-4823,,
Teaching Assistants:
Kevin Haywood, khaywood (at) ucsd (dot) edu;
Elliot Patros, epatros (at) ucsd (dot) edu;
Gabriel Zalles, gzalles (at) ucsd (dot) edu;
Professor and TA office hours are before and after class, on Thursdays, in the classroom.

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 (link 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 on Tuesdays (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%), in-class tests (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 is a video of the first two classes. (UCSD podcasts/screen movies of the remaining classes are collecting here.) And here are copies of the blackboards, and patches from class.

Topics :

1. Sound and signals (Sep. 27, Oct. 2, 4). The first homework assignment is due before class Tuesday, Oct. 9.

2. Sinusoids (Oct. 9, 11) Assignment 2 is due before class Tuesday, Oct. 16.

3. Spectra (Oct. 16, 18. Test 1: Oct 16) Assignment 3 is due before class Tuesday, Oct. 23.

4. Pitch and musical scales (Oct. 23, 25)

5. The voice (Oct. 30, Nov. 1)

6. Sound propagation, part 1 (Nov. 6, 8. Test 2: Nov 6)

7. Sound propagation, part 2 (Nov. 13, 15)

8. Measurement and detection (Nov. 20, 27)

9. Applications (Nov. 29, Dec. 4, 6. Test 3: Nov 29)

Final exam: Monday, Dec. 10, 3:00-6:00PM, same classroom.