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.  It makes use of elements of A-level physics and mathematics and will inform your work in other modules relating to audio signal processing, sound synthesis, operational audio and research.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

BROOKES Tim (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 75

Lecture Hours: 30

Seminar Hours: 8

Tutorial Hours: 1

Guided Learning: 35

Captured Content: 1

Module Availability

Year long

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


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
Practical based assessment SPL measurement Pass/Fail
Oral exam or presentation Class presentation 10
Examination Examination (2 hours) 90

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide you with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate subject knowledge and understanding (coursework and exam), to engage directly with an element of the practical side of the subject (SPL measurement), and to research and explain an aspect of the subject independently (Class presentation).

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 (Class 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).

Formative Assessment and feedback will be provided in tutorials as required, during in-class exercises, and in the form of regular revision questions in lectures.

Your results from the SPL measurement assignment will be discussed in class. Written feedback will be given on the Class presentation assignment.

Module aims

  • The module aims to introduce you to and advance your understanding of theoretical and practical aspects of acoustics and psychoacoustics, and to encourage a technical awareness that will be useful during your time at Univeristy and 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

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; and to enhance your employability, resourcefulness and resilience.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • timetabled lectures and presentations/seminars to deliver the core content;

  • practical classroom demonstrations, to improve your understanding;

  • guided reading, to encourage you to explore the subject in more depth;

  • in-class exercises, to allow you to apply what you have learned;

  • coursework assignments and feedback, to evaluate your learning.

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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: TON1027

Other information

Employability.  The understanding of the theory and application of acoustics and psychoacoustics that you will gain from this module can enhance your employability in many audio-related careers, including acoustic design and consultancy, audio hardware and software design and development, audio production, and academic research.  Many past students have gone on to placements and careers in these areas.  Additionally, the SPL Measurement assignment will encourage you to develop professional skills related to team-working, experiment methods and data capture/presentation; and the Class Presentation assignment will allow you to research more deeply an area that might be relevant to your intended career, and to develop professional skills related to literature searching and creating and giving presentations.

Resourcefulness and resilience.  The interactive nature of this module's lectures and seminars will challenge and stretch you, and will encourage you: to consider the subject material from novel perspectives; to make use of your own independent knowledge and experience to extrapolate from the core content to form new hypotheses; to defend these hypotheses verbally, with appropriate scientific rigour; and to apply your knowledge and understanding of the subject to answer specific questions in front of your peers.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BSc (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) BMus (Hons)(YEAR LONG) Year-long Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required 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 2025/6 academic year.