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PH4036   Physics of Music

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF level 10

Semester: 1

Availability restrictions: Not automatically available to General Degree students

Planned timetable: 12.00 noon Mon, Tue, Thu (TBC)

Musical instruments function according to the laws of physics contained in the wave equation. Wind instruments, the human voice and the acoustics of concert halls can be explained largely by considering waves in the air, but understanding drums, percussion, string instruments and even the ear itself involves studying the coupling of waves in various media. The concepts of pitch, loudness and tone are all readily explained in quantitative terms as are the techniques that musicians and instrument makers use to control them. The analysis of musical instruments naturally culminates in a look at how musical sound may be synthesised.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass PH3081 or pass PH3082

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 3 lectures or tutorials.

Scheduled learning hours: 32

Guided independent study hours: 118

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 2-hour Written Examination = 100%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 100%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 0%

Re-assessment: Oral Re-assessment, capped at grade 7


Module teaching staff: Dr J Kemp

Additional information from school

Please see also the information in the School¿s Handbook for Honours modules available via This link also gives access to timetables for the modules.