Musical acoustics

Lecturer(s): Michel ROGER, Marc JACOB, Sébastien OLLIVIER
Course ⋅ 18 hTC ⋅ 6 hAutonomy ⋅ 4 hStudy ⋅ 4 h


Introduction to musical acoustics and its applications (instrument making, music, digital audio). Physical and perceptive aspects of musical signals will be studied. Musical instruments are designed to generate sounds the frequencies of which can be accurately controlled. Studying and modelling their physics allow to highlight how sound can be generated. We will model acoustical and mechanical resonators, free oscillations, and self-sustained oscillations of wind and bowed string instruments. Electro-acoustic analogies will be introduced and applied to the modelling of microphones, loudspeakers or resonators.


Musical acoustics, self-sustained oscillations, nonlinear acoustics, physical modelling synthesis, electroacoustics, signal processing


• Introduction to musical acoustics Properties of musical sounds (signal, physics, perception) • Classification of musical instruments from the physical viewpoint Free oscillations musical instruments (percussions, piano, plucked string, …) • Wind instruments (resonators, brass, reed, flute, …), bowed string, self-sustained oscillations (stability, bifurcations, …) • Electroacoustic analogy, application to acoustic resonators and electroacoustic devices
Digital audio, sound synthesis, signal processing of musical sounds

Learning Outcomes

  • Have a basic knowledge of musical acoustics
  • Analyse musical sound signals
  • Understand the basics of sound generation mechanisms and the modelling approaches


Note = N1 (50%) knowledge + N2 (50%) know-how • N1: Written exam • N2 : Case study (BE) Report