PSCI-135: Sound & Light in Fine-Arts

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
Physical Sciences
Physical Science
Academic Level
Course Subject
Physical Science
Course Number
Course Title
Sound & Light in Fine-Arts
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
77.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
77.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
Catalog Course Description

The physical nature of sound and light waves will be covered focusing on how they relate to music, art, theater and each other as well as how subjective perceptions of the ear and eye are related to objective properties of waves. Offered as a general education science course for students interested in Fine-Arts, specifically, Music, Art or Theater.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Goal Statement

To provide an interesting and relevant general education science option for students interested in Fine-Arts, to expose students to the physical basis of sound and light and how they relate to Music, Art, Theater and each other. To provide students experience in scientific thinking and compare the process to creative thinking.

Core Course Topics
  1. Vibrating Systems
  2. Waves
  3. Sound & Hearing
  4. Musical Intervals & Scales
  5. Musical Instruments
  6. Room Acoustics
  7. The Nature & Speed of Light
  8. Geometic Optics & Optical Instruments
  9. Basic Color Theory
  10. Light & Color in Nature
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the perceived subjective properties of light and sound and identify the objective wave properties responsible for them.
  2. Describe the differences and similarities between sound waves and light waves.
  3. Describe the basic workings of the ear and the eye.
  4. Explain musical intervals in terms of numerical frequency ratios.
  5. Describe how waves travel on a string or in a tube.
  6. Describe the physical basis of how musical instruments of different families  function.
  7. Describe the nature of light.
  8. Describe the images formed by lenses and mirrors.
  9. Explain how optical instruments such as microscopes and telescopes function.
  10. Identify the primary colors of light.
  11. Illustrate both analytically and graphically how their spectra combine to form the spectra of other colors including white light.
  12. Identify complementary colors and illustrate how they combine both analytically and graphically.
General Information

Meeting MTA requirements: Course transfers as an equivalent to similar courses at Eastern Michigan and Wayne State.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Students will be assessed of their learning by exams, class participation, homework and laboratory performance.

General Course Requirements and Recommendations
Students are expected to attend all class sessions. Attendance is taken by the instructor during all class meetings.
Lab Manual: Sound and Light Experiments - LoPresto & Murrell


General Education Categories
  • Natural Sciences
Institutional Outcomes
  • Scientific Reasoning
MTA Categories
  • Category 6: Natural Sciences (Lecture and Lab)
Satisfies Wellness Requirement

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Fall 2019
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date