Fundamentals of Music Instrument Acoustics

Fundamentals of Music Instrument Acoustics (english version only)

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Course information

Course series

Fundamentals of acoustics for sound engineers and music producers


  undergraduate (Bachelor)




  February 2020

To cite this course

  Alexis Baskind, Fundamentals of Music Instrument Acoustics, course material, license: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

PDF Version

  A PDF Version (without animations and sound examples) is available here.

Course content

1. General Considerations about instrumental acoustics

Functions of the different parts of a musical instrument, exciter, oscillator, resonator, radiation

2. Woodwinds

Definition of a woodwind instrument, principle of reed instruments, resonance in bore, different kinds of reeds, airjets, bores, open and closed cylindrical bores (quarter-wavelength and half-wavelength tubes), conical bores, formant regions, role of the keys, role of the bell, examples of radiation patterns

3. Brass Instruments

Definition of a brass instrument, modes in a cylindrical bore for a brass, role of the bell, brassiness, shock waves, examples of radiation patterns

4. Strings

Subcategories (plucked, bowed, struck), transverse standing waves in strings, vibration modes of the body, role of the soundholes, examples of radiation patterns

5. Percussions

Subcategories (membranes, plates, idiophones, tubes…), most percussions are inharmonic, pitched percussions, examples of vibration modes (cymbal, snare)