Course detail

Acoustics of Musical Instruments and Human Voice

FEKT-BPC-ANHAcad. year: 2020/2021

The subject deals with the five basic shapes of acoustic or electronic/virtual wave, the registers of musical instruments regarding spectral saturation and their loudness, the mixing of sound colours, masking and categories of the dynamic behaviour of a tone. Furthermore, the traditional as well as modern tone systems are characterized from the viewpoint of interpretation, types of listening rooms regarding their acoustics, the most frequent types of chamber bodies, variants of dispositions of a symphonic orchestra (European, American, etc.), the most common forms of vocal bands, and the most common configurations from other genres (rock, jazz, country).

Learning outcomes of the course unit

The student will be able to:
- describe an ADSR sound envelope,
- name basic tonal systems and characterize them in terms of interpretation,
- describe keyboard, string, and wind instruments, both wood and brass, in terms of interpretation,
- describe solo voice singing and vocal bands,
- describe chamber bodies and bands in the area of popular music and symphonic orchestras and describe their most frequent configurations.


The knowledge of basic concepts of musical acoustics, capabilities and limitations of musical instruments, and the influence of room acoustics on the interpretation of music.


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

Blatter, A. : Instrumentation and Orchestration, Wadsworth Pub Co, 1997
Burhauser, J., Špedla, A.: Akustické základy orchestrace, Praha 1967
Cook, P. R. : Music, Cognition and Computerized Sound, An Introduction to Psychoacustics
Forró D.: Musitronika, elektroakustické hudební nástroje. II. Analogové a analogově-digitální syntetizéry, JAMU, Brno 2001
Forró D.: Musitronika, elektroakustické hudební nástroje. IV. Samplery, JAMU, Brno 2001
Janoušek I.: ABC akustiky pro hudební praxi, Editio Supraphon, Praha 1979
Jež, R, Jirásek, O, Mikoška, L: Zoufalý aranžér, dvouroční seriál v časopise Muzikus 02/09-03/10
Jirásek O.: Kytara a počítač, Computer Press, Brno 2005
Kennan, K., Granthan, D. : The Technique of Orchestration, Prentice Hall, 1996
Krotil Z: Aranžování pro moderní taneční orchestr, Státní hudební nakladatelství, Praha 1963

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Teaching methods depend on the type of course unit as specified in the article 7 of BUT Rules for Studies and Examinations.
- Lectures provide the explanation of basic principles, subject methodology, examples of problems and their solutions. They are complemented with listening to recordings.
- Laboratory exercises support practical acquiring of themes presented at lectures. Active participation of students is needed.
Participation at lectures is recommended. Participation at other ways of instruction is checked.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

Evaluation of study results follows Rules for Studies and Examinations of BUT and Dean's Regulation to the Rules for Studies and Examinations of BUT. Credit is given for creation of stereophonic recording of sound of musical instrument.

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.

Course curriculum

1. Summary of the course Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics.
2. ADSR sound envelope.
3. Tonal systems: pythagorean, natural, tempered.
4. Tonal systems: exotic, micro-interval-based, etc.
5. Keyboard instruments.
6. String instruments.
7. Wood instruments
8. Brass instruments.
9. Solo voice.
10. Polyphonic singing.
11. Chamber bodies.
12. Popular music group setups.
13. Symphonic orchestra.


The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the basic shapes of acoustic and electronic waves, registers of instruments, the mixing of sound colours, tonal systems, types of rooms in terms of their acoustics, types of music bands and groupings including the most common configurations.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

To obtain the credit it is necessary to complete at least 10 exercises during semester. Other forms of the checked instructions are specified by a regulation issued by the guarantee of the course and updated for every academic year.

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme BPC-AUD Bachelor's

    specialization AUDB-ZVUK , 2. year of study, summer semester, 4 credits, compulsory

Type of course unit



26 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer

Laboratory exercise

14 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer