Session 1 – The Physics of Sound and Synthesizers

Lesson Description: If we think of music as applied physics, the musical concepts such as pitch, loudness and tone quality have direct relationships with frequency, amplitude and timbre. An oscilloscope is used to display the waveform characteristics of sounds made from a theremin and an analog synthesizer. Students are able to hear and observe on the oscilloscope screen how changes in frequency and amplitude affect the pitch and loudness of musical sounds. Students start to work with simple computer-based software synthesizer applications and create their own sounds.

Key Terms: Pitch, frequency, loudness, amplitude, timbre, waveform, harmonics

Goals: Students shall be able to identify frequency, amplitude and timbre, the three properties of sound.


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