Elements of Acoustics and Instrument Making

Course Title

Elements of Acoustics and Instrument Making

Course Code


Type of Course

Compulsory, 4 hours/week (2 theory + 2 workshop)

Course Level




ECTS Credits

5 (2 + 3)

Professor (s)


Learning Outcomes

Knowledge of the basic elements of acoustics.

Comprehension of the way acoustic laws explain mechanisms of organized sound production.

Application of laws of Acoustics in music theory and instrument making

Analysis of the methods of constructing and maintaining musical instruments

Composition of the laws of Physics with acoustic experience

Evaluation of issues concerning the character and quality of musical sound

Teaching Approach

Interactive presentation/Lecture. In the workshop, applied exercises on sound producing instruments’ construction and maintenance.

Prerequisite Courses

Recommended Courses in the Curriculum

Didactics of the Instrument - Performance VΙΙ
Theory of Traditional Music Ι – Performance Ι
Theory of Traditional Music ΙΙ – Performance ΙΙ
Makam and Morphology Ι - Performance V
Makam and Morphology ΙΙ - Performance VΙ
Music Informatics
MIDI Code in Music Informatics
Sound Engineering and Recording Techniques
Modality and Harmonization Ι - Performance ΙΙΙ
Modality and Harmonization ΙΙ - Performance IV
Digital Sound

Course Content

Principles of Acoustics: a) Periodical phenomena: Oscillations, transverse & longitudinal harmonic waves, b) Sound: production, propagation, types of sound, sound propagation speed, γ) Wave propagation properties of sound: reflection, refraction, interference, diffraction, coordinating sound sources, acoustic beat , standing waves, Doppler phenomenon, intensity and volume, d) Natural characteristics of musical sound. Pitch, overtones, limits of audible sound, loudness, timbre, ultrasound, Fourier frequency spectrum analysis. Objective and subjective sound characteristics. Loudness vs frequency diagrams. e ) Musical intervals - musical scale, f ) Sources of musical sounds: strings, acoustic pipes, tuning forks, membranes, human voice, g ) acoustical characteristics of musical instruments, frequency spectra and harmonics of strings, brass, percussion instruments etc. h) acoustics of rooms, reverberation time, acoustic gain, sound absorption, soundproofing. Fundamentals of intervallic theory

Fundamentals of music instrument construction and maintenance

Recommended Bibliography

Brice R., Music Engineering, Newnes 2001

Courtnall R., Making Master Guitars, Robert Hale & Company 2002

Daly R., Παραδοσιακά µουσικά όργανα, Δήµος Πατρέων, Πάτρα 1994

Neville H.F., T. D. Rossing, The Physics of Musical Instruments, Springer Verlag 1998

Roederer J.G., The Physics and Psychophysics of Music: An Introduction, Springer Verlag 1995

Rossing T.D., F.R. Moore, P.A. Wheeler, The Science of Sound (3rd Edition), Pearson Addison Wesley 2001

Everest & Pohlmann Master Handbook of Acoustics McGraw Hill 2001

Eargle, J. Music, Sound, Technology Springer Science 1990

Παπανικολάου Γ., Ηλεκτροακουστική, University Studio Press 1985

Σκαρλάτος Δ., Εφαρµοσµένη Ακουστική, Ίων 1998

Σπυρίδης Χ. Χ., «Ακουστική χώρων», Αθήνα, 2003

Σπυρίδης Χ. Χ., «Φυσική και Μουσική Ακουστική», GRAPHOLINE, Θεσσαλονίκη 2005

Φρονιμόπουλος Νίκος, «Ο ταμπουράς του Μαρκυγιάννη και η οργανοποιία του Λεωνίδα Γαΐλα», Ιστορική και Εθνολογική Εταιρεία της Ελλάδος. Εθνικό Ιστορικό Μουσείο, Αθήνα 2010

Learning Exercises

Applied acoustics exercises.

Constructional applications.

Teaching Methods

Participatory teaching.

Criteria and Methods of Evaluation

Written exams at the end of semester. Evaluation of students’ understanding of the fundamental laws of acoustics.
Continuous evaluation of students’ ability to correspond to weekly assignments

Teaching Language