ACOUSTICS & PSYCHOACOUSTICS - 2020/1

Module code: TON1027

Module Overview

This module is intended to introduce you to and advance your understanding of acoustics and psychoacoustics, using a combination of theory and example applications.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

BROOKES Timothy (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: F380

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None for Tonmeister students.

Module content

Indicative content includes:


  • acoustic fundamentals and the decibel;

  • musical acoustics and the human voice;

  • room acoustics and acoustic treatment;

  • human auditory perception;

  • acoustic measurement and specification;

  • acoustic standards in music.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework 1 (SPL measurement) Pass/Fail
Coursework Coursework 2 (presentation) 10
Examination Examination (2 hours) 90

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide you with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate subject knowledge and understanding (coursework and exam). Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • Coursework 1 (SPL measurement) – measurement of specific sound source and background noise levels (addresses learning outcome 9);

  • Coursework 2 (presentation) – class presentation on assigned research topic (addresses learning outcomes 15 and 16);

  • Exam – written paper under exam conditions (addresses learning outcomes 1–8 and 10–14).



There are no formal formative assessment components for this module, but formative feedback will be given to you in tutorials as required, during in-class exercises, and in the form of regular revision questions in lectures.

Written feedback will be given on the coursework assignments.

Module aims

  • Introduce you to and advance your understanding of theoretical and practical aspects of acoustics and psychoacoustics
  • Encourage a technical awareness that will be of general use throughout your career.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain the transmission of sound though a medium and around obstacles KC
002 Perform calculations relating to sound pressure, power and intensity levels KC
003 Discuss the acoustical factors relating to the perception of timbre KC
004 Explain the mechanisms of sound production in a range of musical instruments and in the human voice KC
005 Explain the behaviour of sound in enclosed spaces, with reference to free, near and diffuse sound fields; standing waves; sound absorption, reflection and transmission; and reverberation KC
006 Recommend appropriate treatment to modify the acoustics of a given enclosed space KC
007 Explain the processes involved in human auditory perception, including pitch perception, loudness perception, directional perception, auditory masking and hearing impairment KC
008 Discuss the measurement and specification of sound levels KCP
009 Measure sound levels using appropriate equipment/settings P
010 Calculate the recommended safe duration for exposure to sound of a given level KCP
011 Discuss the methods used to measure hearing impairment KC
012 Discuss the factors to be considered when designing an enclosed space for an acoustic purpose KC
013 Discuss the theory and practice of musical pitch and tuning standards KC
014 Discuss the practicalities of binaural recording and reproduction KC
015 Research a technical topic, with guidance T
016 Present the findings of your research to an audience T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 108

Lecture Hours: 34

Seminar Hours: 8

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: develop your skills and knowledge in acoustics and psychoacoustics, allowing modules in later semesters to build on this knowledge.

The learning and teaching methods include:


  • one two-hour lecture or presentation/seminar per week;

  • in-class exercises;

  • practical classroom demonstrations;

  • guided reading;

  • small-group tutorials;

  • coursework assignments and feedback.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for ACOUSTICS & PSYCHOACOUSTICS : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/ton1027

Other information

N/A

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc (Hons)(CORE) Year-long Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 40% to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BMus (Hons)(CORE) Year-long Core Each unit of assessment must be passed at 40% to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.