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DT2212 Music Acoustics 7.5 credits

This course is about the acoustics of musical instruments. You will learn how musical instruments work and are played, including interaction aspects. By analyzing and synthesizing a selection of instruments in MATLAB you will get a deeper insight than simply using music production software. The course is an independent continuation of the course Spectral transforms DT1130. An important topic will be electro-acoustic and electronic instruments such as electric guitar, keyboards, and synthesizers. You will have the opportunity to implement your own instrument models into a commercial environment for music production, such as Ableton Live. This course will improve your skills in signal analysis, applied acoustics, and sound and vibration.

Choose semester and course offering

Choose semester and course offering to see information from the correct course syllabus and course offering.

Headings with content from the Course syllabus DT2212 (Autumn 2021–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Acoustics: Wave equation, plane and spherical waves, electrical-acoustic-mechanical analogies. Eigenmodes, strings, membranes, and pipes. Fourier transforms and spectra.

Auditory Perception: The physiology of the ear. Frequency and pitch, vibrato. Amplitude and loudness. Masking. Spectrum, timbre, roughness. Perception of sound structures.

Musical instruments: Mechanical design. Principles of excitation source spectrum, feedback and spectral shaping by resonators. Spectral contents in steady-state and transients. Sound radiation. Brass, woodwind, strings, piano, organ, singing. Numerical synthesis.

Scales and Tuning: Equal temperament, Pythagorean and just tuning. Measurements on performed music, pure and stretched octaves.

Room Acoustics: Basic concepts, sound propagation in rooms, binaural hearing, artificial head stereophony.

Modelling and Computer Music: Synthesis methods. Physical modelling, control parameters.

Intended learning outcomes

After completing the course you should be able to

  • explain the acoustical function of musical instruments and the singing voice from basic physical principles
  • calculate and measure basic acoustical properties of musical sounds and instruments
  • design and calculate the dimensions of prototypes for string and wind instruments
  • describe and use different methods for modelling of musical instruments and for synthesis of musical sounds
  • apply basic laws of room acoustics to calculate sound levels, decay time, and reflection patterns and relate them to the influence of the room on the perception of music
  • extract and present the main content of a selection of scientific articles on music acoustics

Course disposition

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Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

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Recommended prerequisites

Physics and fourier analysis equivalent to undergraduate level.


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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • LAB1 - Laboratory Work, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • PRO1 - Project, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 4.5 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

One written examination, laboratory course, project work.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web DT2212

Offered by

Main field of study

Electrical Engineering

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

DT2213 Musical Communication and Music Technology may well be taken as a complementary course.


Anders Friberg (

Supplementary information

In this course, the EECS code of honor applies, see: