Music Physics by Ben Pyke

I would like to major in Music Physics, which is a fancy way of saying the stuff that makes music. Physics is deeply embedded in music, it is everywhere from the shape of violins, to destructive and constructive interferences. Everything in music has something to do with physics, because everything in music has to do fundamentally with waves and how the waves are formed.

This is unlike anything else here at Plymouth State University because the Music Technology major is more focused on music production, whereas this is more focused on the background of musical sounds. Also, there is not a Physics major or minor. Between taking many musical fundamental courses and taking many physics courses, I can put together a major at Plymouth State that is unique.

I created this program because it is focused more about what I need to learn to supplement my education in the realm of musical audio. I am an audio engineer and need more training in the physics side of it. I also need more training in the music foundations–the theory and the reason things sound as they do. I need to learn these things because I know the “mixing” side of it–what to do on a board and how to manipulate the tracks I have. I want to learn the physics of it, and how to help my musicians fix their tracks and make the tracks I get sound better. I want to help my musicians as much as possible, all I can do is make them sound as accurate as possible right now.

 

  1. MA 1900. I am taking this Statistical Literacy in Today’s Society course partially because I have already taken it. But also because statistics are always needed in every field regardless of the the policies. Being able to look at raw data and analyze it is very important is physics as well, so learning how to read statistics and get past the bluff of “our product is 95% better than their product” will be extremely useful.
  2. MA 2550. I am taking Calculus because it is used in physics a lot.
  3. MU 1210. I am taking Musicianship I so as to further my understanding of musicianship and to learn the basics of theory.
  4. MU 1220. I am taking Musicianship II in order to learn some of the more intricate aspects of musical theory– seventh chords, formal analysis, etc.
  5. MU 1320. I am taking Introduction to Reading Music because I want to have a firm foundation to build upon for MU 1210 and 1220.
  6. MU 3310. History and Literature of Music I is on my list so that I can learn the foundations of western music in order to see development and create a firm foundation for my musical knowledge.
  7. MU 3320. I am taking History and Literature of Music II for the same reasons I am taking MU 3310.
  8. MU 3450. I am taking Topics in Music to focus on working with full bands in both a live and recording setting.
  9. MU 4410. I am going to do a Music Internship, probably with a recording or production company, in order to really firm up my foundation and  launch me further into the field.
  10. PH 2130. How could I major in Music Physics without taking physics classes? Physics I will set the foundations and that stage to delve further into the dynamics. This firms up theories and solving problems.
  11. PH 2140. Physics II will get me a firm foundation of fluid dynamics and the theories and problem-solving of some more intricate physics.
  12. PH 3900. A Special Topics in Physics about Acoustics will help teach me more specifically about the physics that are needed in the acoustic world of music.
  13. PH 4910. An Independent Study in Physics will allow me to look in depth into specific areas of physics that apply to music. This course is like the capstone on this major. Without this course I just have a base in music and a base in physics. This course take those two leaning arches of physics and music, and carefully and expertly rests them together to form the support “arch” (degree) off of which I can build my career.

 

This program takes music and physics and blends them together. I am looking at music through the lens of physics, and I am looking at how the physics and the basic rules of the universe apply to and define what we hear. I am also looking at how we can make the best music possible–in instruments, through speakers, and in halls–when we understand how those rules work and how to use them to our advantage.

I know this will jumpstart my future because I have worked in my field for a while, and this is what I need to know to proceed further. According to my mentor who has been helping to launch me into the world of Audio Engineering, I need to expand my base in the musical theory as well as learn more of the physics and get that under control. The amount of physics used to figure out exactly where to put monitors, and why bumping EQ is bad, and how to better record and transmit digital audio is immense. I know barely enough to understand that some things are bad, but I know not why. Therefore learning the theories for music, and learning the physics of the world of audio will be very helpful to better understanding my field.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *