ENGR 100 300 FA 2015

ENGR 100 Section 300: Introduction to Engineering: Music Signal Processing

Jeff Fessler and Paul Kominsky

The goals of this course are: (1) To analyze music the way an engineer would analyze an unfamiliar phenomenon; (2) to learn the basics of Fourier signal analysis and synthesis, motivated by observing musical signals; (3) to apply these tools in design projects; (4) to introduce students to oral and written technical communication, working in teams, and problem solving.

No previous knowledge of music is necessary. No calculus or complex numbers will be required in the course.

We will strive to form teams that include a member with some basic knowledge of music and another member with some very basic programming experience. This is NOT a composition or performance arts technology course.

Several weekly labs will allow students to compute frequencies of musical notes using signal processing techniques, discover relations between them using semilog plots, learn and then apply basic Fourier signal analysis techniques (including time-frequency analysis) to simple music, and perform simple digital music synthesis.

In the course of three projects, students will learn to function in teams, apply engineering techniques to analysis and design, and write and present technical reports demonstrating and documenting their results. Music transcription is not yet completely solved, so there is an open-ended nature to this part of the project.

Ethical issues include whether music, regarded as a string of numbers or as a mathematical function, should be copyrightable, and whether a new synthetic instrument should be patentable.

This course will be of interest to students interested in electrical engineering, signal processing, and music technology, among other fields.