Introduction to Sound





Sound is generated by vibrating objects (a string, a speaker, a falling rock) which displace air, creating waves of compression and rarefaction that eventually find their way to our ears. Sound is also our perception of these actions.

In order to explore methods for organizing and manipulating sound, it is helpful to first investigate the physics of sound (broadly, acoustics) and how we perceive sound (psychoacoustics). Although a satisfactory answer to the question, What is sound?, might evade our grasp, there are components and characteristics of sound that will help us to discuss, visualize and manipulate it. When we talk about sound, it is good to keep in mind that it has physical characteristics that can be measured, like amplitude and frequency, and perceived characteristics, loudness and pitch. The wikipedia definition alludes to this dual nature…

In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as a typically audible mechanical wave of pressure and displacement, through a medium such as air or water. In physiology and psychology, sound is the reception of such waves and their perception by the brain.



To Do

  • Part 1 Assignment: Audiovisual Composition – email the link to your project by at midnight on Tuesday 1.29. We will discuss these pieces in class. In your email, include a few sentences about your process and concept. That’s it! No online comments this week, just focus on your pieces.
  • Read my Guidelines for Critique (pdf)




  • Watch & discuss AudioVision Projects
  • Break
  • Lecture on Sound
    • visit recording studio
    • theremin
    • synthesizers
    • contact mics



FNDT 160 | Spring 2019