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Introduction to acoustic concepts relevant to sound studies

Part of the Sound Studies Lecture Series


Acoustics refers to the science of sound, its properties and propagation, while the same term is often used to refer to sound qualities of an environment, an indoor space or somewhere outdoors. This lecture offers an introduction to basic acoustic concepts such as sound pressure levels, which is the most essential quantity when describing sound fields and when processing sound, for instance during a recording session.

Other vital concepts to be provided are the wave motions in the air and vibrations in solid structural elements, various wave types together with their properties and relevant phenomena such as sound generation, transmission, radiation, reflection and absorption. Applications of measuring sound, tones and noise are demonstrated as well.

Emphasis is given to acoustic branches of specific interest for sound studies. Room acoustics are analyzed, since they deal with the sound environment of closed spaces but also spaces of musical operations such as concert halls, speech or performance rooms and recording studios. Psychoacoustics are introduced as the branch concerning human perception of sound and related physiological responses. Soundscapes research, which analyzes the perception of sonic environments, is also discussed.

Sound Wave

Nikolaos Georgios Vardaxis

Ph.D. Engineering Acoustics, has performed long interdisciplinary studies starting from the architecture school of D.U.Th., Greece. Due to his parallel interest in music and sound, he went on studying acoustical engineering (M.Sc. Sound and Vibration, Chalmers, Sweden). His research interests include building acoustics, room acoustics, psychoacoustics, soundscapes and data analysis. In 2019 he defended his doctoral thesis entitled “Evaluation of acoustic comfort in apartment buildings”. Additionally, he practices music and sound explorations during free time. He has worked on composition for soundtracks, sound design and music production for various personal or group projects. He is also involved in all aspects of sound engineering.