Sound is the fundamental material of music. This course provides an introduction to the elemental components, and acoustic principles of musical sound, examining the ways in which these principles shape our perception and understanding of music. The exploration of musical acoustics incorporates aspects of frequency, sound envelopes, and amplitude measurement. These principles then inform a grounding in the key concepts and skills of musical practice, including the consideration of diatonic pitch space, its systems of documentation, and the ways in which we use it to explain relationships between musical sounds. An understanding of the components of sound also informs the ways in which we perceive, analyse, manipulate and articulate the sounds of music. Techniques of critical listening are introduced in multiple contexts, from the exploration of the frequency content of sound through spectral solfege, to the perception of pitch relationships within diatonic pitch space. Techniques for the analysis of musical sound are introduced which are foundational for the future studies of the music practitioner, technologist, and analyst alike.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- describe the foundational principles of musical acoustics;
- explain the relationships between musical acoustics and our perception and use of sound in music;
- apply techniques of sound analysis and listening in the explanation of the sonic properties of music.
- Lab Portfolio, comprising theory, aural and technology assessments, equivalent to 2500 words (60) [LO 1,2,3]
- Examination during exam period, 2 hrs duration (40) [LO 1,2,3]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and/or studio/laboratory workshops and 12 hours of tutorials; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
William M. Hartmann, Principles of Musical Acoustics, New York: Springer, 2013.
Andrew Hugely, The Digital Musician, 2nd ed., New York: Routledge, 2012.
Jason Corey. Audio Production and Critical Listening: Technical Ear Training, 2nd ed., Taylor and Francis, 2016.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.
|Class start date
|Last day to enrol
|Class end date
|Mode Of Delivery
|27 Jul 2020
|03 Aug 2020
|31 Aug 2020
|30 Oct 2020