Science of Sound

Course description

Prerequisite:  None

Photo of Stanford student playing the harpScience of Sound will explore sound and sound-related technology from the perspectives of mathematics, physics, and acoustics.  Scientists and engineers will have a chance to apply their technical knowledge to the field of music while musicians will learn how sound behaves physically and how it can be recorded, processed, and reproduced.  Using the newly opened Bing Concert Hall as a focal point, we will study the science of sound recording, room acoustics, and multi-channel mixing and playback.  Students will use what they learn to create short multi-channel compositions using special techniques to place sounds spatially. These pieces will be performed during the annual outdoor Summer CCRMA Transitions concert and again during the Fall 2014 CCRMA concert at Bing Concert Hall.  We will use the  textbook by Jay Kadis entitled Science of Sound Recording as our primary text and incorporate plenty of hands-on experience with sound equipment and electronics.

Instructor Bio

Sasha LeitmanSasha Leitman is a musician, artist, and inventor. She currently serves as the technical coordinator at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University.  She has been making musical instruments, new interfaces for musical expression, and sound art installations for ten years.  Her most recent large scale project was an adult-sized musical playground that was premiered at the Burning Man Art Festival.  This year, she is teaching Music 250B: HCI Design and Performance Systems for Music while designing a series of instruments for live street performances.


Jay KadisJay Kadis is an audio engineer and lecturer at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford University, where he teaches courses in sound recording.  Jay holds Bachelor's (1971) and Master's (1978) degrees in Biological Science from California State University at Hayward.  He worked as a Research Assistant in the Department of Neurology at Stanford Medical School before moving to CCRMA in 1988.  His educational background includes study of computer programming and electrical engineering as well as cellular neurophysiology.  Jay has also been a performing musician and songwriter since his high school days, built a recording studio to accommodate his interest in sound recording, and started Dexter Records to promote his original recording projects.  He has recorded dozens of albums including many different styles from early music to rock and is interested in the technology underlying the recording process as well as its application to diverse musical experiences made possible through analog and digital recording.  Jay has co-authored numerous scientific papers in the fields of neuroscience and recording technology.  Focal Press published his book, The Science of Sound Recording, in 2012.