Music Acoustics is a site that provides detailed text, illustrations and applets that demonstrate the acoustics of many western wind and string instruments as well as the human voice. The site also covers some world instruments. There are several sub-sections of the site each devoted to the acoustics of a different instrument. There is also a section of the site devoted to the fundamentals of acoustics. The sub-sections are Flutes, Shakuhachi, Clarinet, Dideridu, Violin, Guitar, Voice, Cochlear Implants, Basics, Research, Publications and People. There are additional sub-sections devoted to the following applets: Virtual Flute, Hearing Response Curve, Vocal Tract Tuning by Sopranos, an Introduction to Brass Acoustics and a FAQ page.
The major learning goal of this site is to teach a detailed understanding of the acoustic principals of the selected musical instruments. The site also covers basic acoustic principals and information that could be applied to musical instruments not covered on the site.
Target Student Population:
The target student population for this site would be undergraduate and graduate music and physics students. The site may be applicable to advanced high school students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students should have a basic understanding of acoustics and musical instruments to benefit from this site.
Type of Material:
Reference and interactive multimedia. The site includes presentational and interactive material in the form of sound files, graphics, and text.
There are many possible recommended uses for this site. It may be used as a reference site, the many applets are ideal for classroom demonstrations, assignments, or interactive exercises. The site would be especially useful as a supplement to courses covering musical acoustics, studio study, instrument design and repair, or general acoustics or physics.
Standard computer and browser works well for this site. Some materials require the Java Runtime Environment version 1.5.
Evaluation and Observation
The information in the site is accurate, well researched, and clearly presented. The illustrations and interactive applets offer insightful demonstrations of acoustic concepts. The information is also detailed and deep.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The potential effectiveness of this site as a teaching tool is significant. The text is clear, detailed, and well-sequenced within topic areas. This clarity makes the site appropriate for students without a great deal of background. The level of detail makes the site appropriate for advanced students. The graphics are used sparingly but to good effect: they appear to be professionally drawn and are presented in a layout that optimally supports understanding of the topic. The interactive multimedia applets encourages the student's engagement with the material. These applets also offer many possiblities for teachers to create new exercises and assignments. The site is reasonably modular, making it relatively easy for a teacher to intergrate specific parts of the site into their own curricular sequence.
Younger students may need to be directed to specific locations within the site due to the quantity of information presented.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is easy to use and contains good instructions on use of the interactive components and applets.
Other Issues and Comments:
Some of the support files are large and may result in long page or file load times.