WiSe2018. Physics of Music


In the seminar we will discuss different aspects of music, sound generation and sound processing. The topics will cover

Fundamentals. from Pythagorean harmonics to well-tempered scales
about hearing and singing
Reproduction. from shellac to MP3
about theremins, drum maschines, and synthezising music
Vibrations. singularities on picked and bowed strings
can you hear the shape of a drum?
amplification and locking in resonance cavities
from the singing saw to the modern violin
Compressible Flows.      from sound waves to music
from pipes to trumpets and clarinets

There is ample room for topics where participants explore their own instruments! On participant request the handout may be submitted in the form of a wiki-article. Please contact me or Klaus Kroy as soon as possible to arrange a contribution.

Announcement (PDF-file, 1.8MB) »

Sessions: Preliminary Program

date    name    topic    presentation slides        handout/wiki-article

2018 10 17    Jürgen Vollmer      Introduction
2018 10 24      Josef Focht Leipzig Collection of Music Instruments    
1.     2018 11 07    JV, students of Musicology     Physics Talks, Classification of Instruments, ...
2.     2018 11 14    Robin Barta Pianos and excited strings
3.     2018 11 28    Daniel Dernbach Cello and bowed strings
4.     2018 12 05    Florian Oschmann     Trombones from different materials
5.     2018 12 12    Camila Bräutigam Clarinet
6.     2019 01 30    Jansen Dwan Electric Guitars and sound effects
7.     2019 02 06    Adrian Häußler MP3 and compression algorithms


  1. Thomas D. Rossing: ``Resource Letter MA-2: Musical Acoustics'', Americal Journal of Physics 55 (1987) 589
  2. Leopold Mathelitsch, Ivo Verovnik: ``Akustische Phänomene'', Aulis Verlag Deubner (Köln, 2004)

  1. Barbara Blum: Heisenberg and Music at heisengergfamily.org
  2. Josef Focht at the Grassi Museum of Music Instruments
  3. Leipziger Notenspur