Free course

Creating musical sounds

Free statement of participation on completion
Creating musical sounds

How do different instruments produce the sounds we classify as music? How do we decide whether something whether a piano or a vacuum cleaner is actually a musical instrument? In this free course, Creating musical sounds, we investigate the way vibrations and sound waves are harnessed to create music.

Please note: This course contains several Flash activities which are no longer playable. These are being updated. This course can still be studied, but you may like to postpone your study for now if you would rather have the full experience.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Explain correctly the meaning of the emboldened terms in the main text and use them correctly in context
  • Identify whether a given sound source can be classed as a musical instrument and explain why (Activity 2)
  • Identify the primary vibrator and any secondary vibrators in the most common types of instrument (Activity 3)
  • Appreciate that, when a note is played, a musical instrument vibrates strongly at certain specific frequencies and that these frequencies correspond to the natural frequencies of the primary vibrator; (Activity 4)
  • Determine whether the sound from a given instrument is transient or sustained (Activity 5)

First Published: 10/08/2012

Updated: 12/09/2017

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Course content