3pMU1. Teaching musical acoustics as an introduction to engineering technology.

Session: Wednesday Afternoon, June 18

Author: Robert D. Collier
Location: 49 Eagle Ridge Dr., Lebanon, NH 03766


The design and performance of musical instruments is a course which is designed to: (a) motivate first-year students to select engineering through hands-on learning, and (b) provide students in music and the liberal arts with an appreciation for its role in the enhancement of both music making and music listening. This course may be viewed as an alternative to traditional science courses. The mechanisms of sound generation illustrate the interdisciplinary factors involved in instrument design: materials and structures, aero and structural dynamics, vibration, mechanical systems and controls, and signal analysis. Most importantly, musical acoustics serves to demonstrate the significance of human factors in engineering design and performance. The core of the course is in the students' laboratory experience in which they investigate instruments of their own choosing and which is augmented by field trips and lecture demonstrations by noted musicians. This paper includes the course outline and structure, examples of student projects, and their response.

ASA 133rd meeting - Penn State, June 1997