General Information (Preliminary)


PHYS 103: Physics of Music



Fall  2015



Instructor :  Dr.  Andris Skuja

PSC Rm. 3301; Phone : 301-405-6059 ;  e-mail :

Please make an appointment to see me. You may also drop by my office whenever you wish and if I am free I will see you.



To speak to a TA personally outside class please contact them by email and make

an appointment. The two TA’s assigned for this course are


Joshi Ameya (

Megan Marshall (



Class Schedule 

All Sections meet in Room 3220 of the Physics Building


        Section 101:  Thursday 11:00am – 12:50 pm (TA: Joshi Ameya)

        Section 201:  Thursday 1:00pm – 2:50pm (TA: Joshi Ameya)

        Section 301:  Thursday 3:30pm – 5:20pm (TA: Megan Marshall )

        Section 401:  Friday 10:00am – 11:50am (TA: Joshi Ameya)

        Section 501:  Friday 12:00noon – 1:50pm (TA: Joshi Ameya )

        Section 601:  Friday 2:00pm – 3:50pm (TA: Megan Marshall )

        Section 701:  Wednesday 3:00pm – 4:50pm (TA: Joshi Ameya )

        Section 801:  Wednesday 1:00pm – 2:50pm (TA: Joshi Ameya )


Required Text

 Physics 103 Laboratory Manual

WILEY Custom Learning Solutions

You require a brand new manual since you will enter your results into

the manual and hand in these pages at the end of each lab period





Course Overview: PHYS 103 PHYSICS OF MUSIC LABORATORY is a one (1) credit hour course that must be taken concurrently with PHYSICS 102 PHYSICS OF MUSIC to receive CORE credit, and may not be taken for credit by Physics Majors. The lab meets for two hours weekly, giving students hands-on in-depth experience with some of the topics covered in the Physics of Music lecture class.


The lab is a participatory activity, it is mandatory that you attend all labs. It is also important that you prepare for your lab period by carefully reading the lab instruction sheets and doing the pre-lab questions. Pre-lab questions serve both as a review of important ideas and preparation for lab activities. If you do not do the pre-lab questions before you come to the lab, points will be subtracted from your grade. If you do not understand the questions or have difficulty completing the assignment you may ask for clarification. Lab reports are completed  in the lab, submitted to the TA at the end of the lab period for grading, and will be returned to the student during the next lab session, so that writing (and grading) long and detailed lab reports is avoided.


You will carry out the lab with one or more lab partners. Discussion and cooperation with other students while doing the labs is encouraged. However, entry of observations and conclusions in the Lab Report should be done by each student independently. Pre-lab questions should also be answered independently (after discussion when necessary).


You will do each lab only once. Additional credit will not be given for repeating a lab


If you miss a lab, the reason for your absence must be submitted to the instructor in writing. If your absence is due to any of the University approved acceptable excuses, as given in the University of Maryland Undergraduate Catalogue, you will be permitted to make up the missed lab without any loss of credit. You are encouraged to make up the missed lab by attending another lab session that week (at the discretion of the instructor) (see the lab schedule below). You may also make up the missed lab(s) by attending one or more of the lab sessions during make-up week as designated in the lab schedule. However, you shall get only half credit for any make-up labs which you missed during your regular lab sessions for unacceptable excuses. If you have to miss labs for religious reasons, you are encouraged to arrange for a make-up session before you miss the lab.


Grading will be based on the total point accumulation for the 11 labs, each lab being worth a maximum of 40 points. A histogram of total scores will be made, and a letter grade will be assigned approximately as follows from this distribution:


Top 20% - A;   Next 40% - B;   Next 30% - C;   and the Bottom 10% - D or F


To qualify for an A, you must distinguish yourself among your peers. All these grade assignments are nominal and are based on previous experience of student participation in the course. In the unexpected circumstance that all students complete the labs with reasonable grades, failing letter grades will not be given.


It is mandatory to do all labs. Missing one lab will lower your grade by one letter grade; missing two labs will result in a D grade and missing more than two labs will result in a grade of F. If you miss a lab for any reason you must make it up as explained previously if you do not want to be penalized in the manner just described. Credit for make-up labs will be given as explained previously.



Lab Manual: You must purchase a brand new lab manual since you will be answering lab questions and entering observations and results into the pages of the lab manual directly. You will hand in these pages to the TA at the end of each lab session. They constitute your Lab Report and will be graded out of a possible maximum score of 40 points.


Preparation for Lab #1: (a) Obtain your lab manual, (b) Read the Introduction and the Lab #1 write-up and come prepared to ask questions if you do not understand the material, (c) Answer the pre-lab questions on the first page  of the Lab Report (Data Sheet)  for Lab #1 before coming to the lab


Schedule of Experiments:


The order of the labs is different from that in the lab manual to try to match more closely the material of the lecture course. The labs can be carried out independently of your lecture course if necessary.




Experimental Topic



Lab Rep


Sept. 2, 3 & 4

No Lab. First week of Classes





Sept. 9, 10 & 11

Experiment 1: Simple Harmonic Motion



Due at end of session


Sept. 16, 17 & 18

Experiment 2: Introduction to Electronic Instruments



Due at end of session


Sept. 23, 24 & 25

Experiment 4: Speed of Sound in Air



Due at end of session


Sept. 30, Oct. 1 & 2

Experiment 5: Standing Waves in Stretched Strings



Due at end of session


Oct. 7, 8 & 9

Experiment 6: Standing Waves in Air Columns



Due at end of Session


Oct. 14, 15 & 16

Experiment 3:  Sound Quality and Wave Shape



Due at end of Session


Oct. 21, 22 & 23

Experiment 7: Fourier Synthesis



Give to appropriate TA


Oct. 28, 29 & 30

Experiment 8: Fourier Analysis



Due at end of Session


Nov 4, 5 & 6

Experiment 9: Our Hearing Profiles



Due at end of Session


Nov. 11, 12 & 13

Experiment 10: Psychoacoustics



Due at end of Session


Nov. 18, 19 & 20

Experiment 11: Audio Equipment



Due at end of Session


Nov. 25, 26 & 27

No Lab (Thanksgiving Week)






Dec. 2, 3 & 4

Make up week. You must get

Approval to do a make-up lab



Give to appropriate TA


Dec. 9, 10 & 11

No Labs. Special Consideration



Give to appropriate TA


Dec. 16, 17 & 18

Final Exam Week: No Labs





You must finish all 11 labs and hand in the corresponding reports to successfully complete the course for full credit


Academic Integrity : "The University of Maryland has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism.” For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit