Course page for Physics 225

Musical Acoustics

This is the course page for Physics 225, Musical Acoustics , for the Winter 2008 term.

Contact information:

Assistant Professor Guy D. Moore
Rutherford Physics Building (3600 University), Room 313
Phone: (514-398-)4345
e-mail: guymoore at
Syllabus available here.

Course information (from the syllabus)

Location: TuThr 2:35 to 3:55 in Rutherford Physics room 114
Lecture style: chalkboard, demonstrations, projector, and overheads
Grading: Homework (30%), midterm (25%), and final (45%)
Office hours: Monday 11:00 to Noon, Thursday 1:30 to 2:30.

Course notes

The readings will be drawn from This set of course notes, which were originally written for this course by a previous instructor (Robert B. Moore, no relation).

I am also providing Some lecture notes which specifically cover material I am lecturing on but which is not well treated in the first set of notes. These were last updated 2 April (through Chapter 10, Impedance). They DO COVER reeds and impedance.

In addition I am providing My lecture notes for Physics 224, the predecessor course, as reference. There is some overlap between these courses and you may sometimes find these notes useful for background material.

You can find some nice (qualitative, introductory) discussion of some sound phenomena at this HTML page.


Homeworks will be assigned Tuesdays in class and will be due 1 week later. You can turn them in in class, or in my mailbox up to 17:00 on the due date. Late assignments are accepted until 17:00 Friday but are graded down 25%. Beyond that time, the solution is posted so I cannot give points.

Homework solutions

have been removed for the time being.

Random interesting things

There is a nice article on acoustics and submarine avoidance of sonar which appeared recently in The Economist. It is based on a paper which appeared in Physical Review Letters. (McGill has a subscription to PRL and you should be able to download the paper from any McGill computer.)

Lecture subjects and readings

Do the reading before, rather than after, the course meetings. I will make every effort to have them available well ahead of time.

Date Lecture topic Reading Other materials
3 January (re)Introduction to waves Notes Chapter 4 First chapter of additional notes
8 January Waves in air: basic equations, speed of sound Notes Chapter 4 First chapter of additional notes
10 January Intensity, 1/r*r law, reflections Notes Chapter 4 None
15 January Reflections and reverberation Notes 4.3 and 4.4 None
17 January More on reverberation Notes 4.4 See WebCT!
22 January Interference and directionality Notes Chapter 5, Chapter 6 extra notes chapter 3
24 January Source interference and diffraction Notes Chapter 6 Extra notes chapter 4
29 January Diffraction, Reflection, Refraction Notes Chapter 6 Nice page and fancy page on refraction: Role of refraction in war
31 January Reflection and music halls See WebCT none
5 February Reflection and impedance Phys 224 notes, Chapter 19
7 February Reflection and normal modes in tubes Ph224 notes, chapter 21
12 February Normal modes in tubes Ph224 notes, chapter 21; ph225 extra notes
14 February resonances in Tubes and cones same as above
19 February Midterm (in class) What can I bring?
21 February End corrections Extra notes
4 March End corrections: emission Extra notes
6 March Resonances and Q Extra notes
11 March Resonant Q and viscosity Extra notes
13 March Resonant Q and impedance Extra notes
18 March Finishing viscosity and Q Extra notes
25 March Reeds Phys 224 notes, Chapter 23 See WebCT
27 March Reeds: single, double, lip see WebCT
1 April Impedance extra notes see WebCT
3 April Finger holes, impedance extra notes
8 April Shock development in brass Paper on shock waves
10 April Review Bring questions!