Physics 3100

Sounds of Music

Fall 2010

An introduction to the physical basis for the production, propagation, and perception of sound with special emphasis on musical sounds. This is a 4 credit course.

Instructor:Prof. Robert HarrOffice:341 Physics
Office Hours: 3:00 - 4:30 Monday, 3:00 - 4:30 Wednesday, or by appointment.
Web Page:
Textbook: The Physics of Sound, third edition by Richard E. Berg and David G. Stork, Pearson, (2005); ISBN 0-13-145789-6. Try this link to get a price comparison from a number of online bookstores: The Physics of Sound.

The course will follow the text, and appropriate sections for reading are included in the detailed class schedule.


TuTh 11:45pm to 1:10pm, Physics Research Building, room 245.

Lecture attendance is strongly encouraged as it is a good indicator of performance. We will spend a little time each week reviewing homework problems, but mostly we will be discussing the course material. You are encouraged to ask questions; if something isn't clear to you, it likely isn't clear to others in the class as well.

Exams: There will be two mid-terms and a final exam, each counting for 25% of the final grade. One five page paper can be written on a topic agreed upon with the instructor instead of taking one of the three exams. The midterm exams will be given during a lecture period, 90 min., and the final from 10:40 to 12:10 on Dec. 17th. Exams are closed book.

M 11:45am -- 1:45pm, Physics Research Building, room 115

Tu 9:35am -- 11:35am, Physics Research Building, room 115

W 11:45am -- 1:45pm, Physics Research Building, room 115

The laboratory part of the course must be completed in order to receive a passing grade for the course. You are expected to attend all the laboratory sections, complete all the experiments, and hand in all of the laboratory reports. Ten two-hour labs are scheduled and account for 25% of the final grade. Grades are based on written lab reports that are due at the start of the next scheduled lab. The laboratory schedule is included with the detailed class schedule. Note that there are no labs on weeks with an exam.

The laboratory manual is available online.


Homework problems are assigned along with each lecture. The problems won't be collected or graded, but they will help you prepare for the exams.

Reading Summaries:

There are 25 lectures with reading after the first class. Turning in a summary of the reading will be worth 1.0 point, and a good one will be worth 2.0 points. Reading summaries are due at the start of each lecture. Late reading summaries will not be accepted. These points are not simply additions to the total, but reduce the weight of the other requirements. For example if 50 points were earned in Reading Summaries then the final grade is based on Reading Summaries 50%, Exams and Paper 37.5%, and Labs 12.5%.

Grading: Laboratory 25% weekly
Exam 1 25% October 5
Exam 2 25% November 9
Final Exam 25% December 17 (10:40 -- 12:10)
TOTAL 100%  
The grade scale is as follows:
  A+ 95 -- 100%
  A 90 -- 95%
  A- 85 -- 90%
  B+ 80 -- 85%
  B 75 -- 80%
  B- 70 -- 75%
  C+ 65 -- 70%
  C 60 -- 65%
  C- 55 -- 60%
  D+ 50 -- 55%
  D 45 -- 50%
  F < 45%
Policies: Late work is not accepted. Follow this link to view the English department's statement on plagiarism and a copy of Wayne State's academic integrity policy.

Robert Harr

August 30, 2010