Symposium considers the Science and Philosophy of Sound

PLAINVIEW – If you have ever wanted to play a Theremin or explore a monochord, don’t miss The Science and Philosophy of Sound, an Honors Seminar symposium taking place at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 21, in the auditorium at Mabee Regional Heritage Center.

Seven Wayland Baptist University Honors Seminar students are scheduled to present their undergraduate research under the direction of Dr. Scott M. Strovas, Professor of Musicology. Plus, there will be two panel discussions related to the science and a philosophy of sound. The symposium is open to the public.  Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

“During the breaks, as well as before and after, people can come up and play with the Theremin and the monochords,” Strovas said. “We may have some other toys to mess around with as well.”

A Theremin is an electronic instrument that is controlled without physical touch. The controlling area of the instrument is the space between two antennas that sense the relative position of the performer’s hands and controls oscillators for frequency with one hand and amplitude, or volume, with the other. Electric signals are then amplified and sent to a speaker. The Beach Boys used a Theremin in their 1966 chart-busting classic Good Vibrations.

Monochords date back to 6th Century Greece, where they were used as scientific instruments to measure musical intervals. Each of the students participating in the Honors Seminar built their own, and they will be demonstrating their instruments.

“You can explore the monochords or try your hand at playing our Theremin,” Strovas said.

The undergraduate research projects allowed students go beyond classroom learning, Strovas said.

“What we wanted to do was allow students to dig a little deeper in an area of sound we would not have time to cover inside the class,” he said. “This is cool stuff to study.”

Project presentations will include: “Rollin’ in the Dough: The Business of Music and Appetite” by Jaylee Judd; “Church Vibes: How the Semiotics of Sound Informs Ministry” by Arturo Flores; “The Smog of Sound” by Jazmin Ortega; “Charging Up: The Development of Electronic Music in the 20th Century” by Garrett Deyong ; “The Seeing Ear” by Lindsey Jo Sumner; “An Investigation of Baseball and Sound” by Rebecca Breeden; and “Vocal Dissonance” by Brett Willburn.