Sound: The Loud and the Soft of It

Note: the audio included in Chapter One requires a multimedia computer (one with a sound card, speakers/headphones) for textbook Examples 1-3a (on pp. 8-10) and/or a CD player for Example 3b (p. 9-10). If you don't have access to these, go to the MLRC (Multimedia Resource Learning Center) in the third floor of the Ronald Williams Library, and use one of the multimedia stations for the computer based examples and use one of the multimedia or audio stations for the CD Audio.


Chapter One of the text introduces you to the concept of sound. Music is sound, so it is important to consider sound and its characteristics. Since music is "sound in time", we'll study both sound and time (rhythm, meter, tempo, etc.). We study time in Chapters 3 and 8, and we'll consider sound in this chapter.

Pitch and Timbre: The Overtone Series

The book points out the acoustics (the physics of sound) measures and analyzes sound. What's important to know is that the frequency of a vibration creates its pitch.


Make sure you understand what dynamics are and how they are used in a musical score. For example, the term 'piano' is a dynamic term because it indicates that the indicated section of music is to played softly or with a soft dynamic level.

The Envelope: Articulations

This part of the text and course requires that you listen to the first audio track of the CD came with your textbook. If you need help with this, the MLRC is again the place to go for assistance, and this is where I recommend you go to listen to the CD Audio tracks. You can play the CD in the Info Commons, on the Macintosh stations. Make sure you bring your own headphones, since they don't supply you with headphones in the Info Commons. In either case, bring your own CD disk with you.
Explanation of Audio in Chapter One
The textbook has the following musical examples for Chapter One:
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