Sound and Waves
People are intuitively familiar with many aspects of sound waves and their perceptual signatures such as pitch, timbre, loudness, direction, and reverberation; as well as with objects that generate sounds; vocal chords, flutes, drums, and strings. Sound is the material from which music is built: a large part of music-making involves manipulation and development of sounds. Love for music and music practice permeates all cultures and socio-economic classes and is part of all societies’ everyday lives.
Sound is easy to measure (one only needs microphone) and develops in a manageable tempo-spatial scale, in such a way that oscillations can be easily visualized with a computer and interference patterns easily measured in a room. Sound’s pervasiveness, its ease of measure, and its cultural relevance positions the sonic world as an ideal “natural laboratory” for people to become intuitively familiar with the phenomenon of waves.
The goal of this program is for participants to learn the hidden and ubiquitous world of waves through the making and analysis of musical sound. In order to achieve this goal, we create waves and vibrations in physical objects, and guide participants in designing musical instruments and using computers to analyze their acoustic properties. We also explore how sound is propagated through the environment and represented in the brain. At the end of this program, sound making objects created will be presented individually as a public art-science-show and collectively in a music concert in which the different aspects of waves will be visualized. In this way not only the participants of the program but the whole community will be invited to appreciate the rich physical world embedded in music. Through this program the participants will not only learn about vibrations and music, but will also understand that the rules of nature are not restricted to outer space or micro-organisms but pervade all that we know and love.