MUS1331 Final Exam Questions

Computer Hardware:

    1.
    What makes a computer a computer?
    2.
    What is a computer "bus" ... what does an audio bus do?
    3.
    Define binary (use the following terms in your definition: machine language, high-level, low-level).
    4.
    What type of file or media would most likely take up 196 B (bytes)? 182 KB (kilobytes)? 4 MB (megabytes)? 65 MB? 3 GB (gigabytes)?
    5.
    What is a transistor, what did it replace, and why is it the most important invention of the 20th Century?
    6.
    Define CPU & GPU, describe what each does, and discuss hardware solutions for cooling them?
    7.
    What is a multicore processor?
    8.
    How many cycles (steps of instructions) per second can a quad core 2.4 GHz processor perform?
    9.
    Define memory (RAM), explain its function, and discuss how it differs from storage.
    10.
    When working in an application, when do you save your work?
    11.
    What are pixels?
    12.
    What are sensors?

Computer Software:

    1.
    Define Operating System (or System Software) and list the three that are most common.
    2.
    Describe the difference between “open” and “proprietary” file formats and how that plays into “digital obsolescence”.
    3.
    What is a “proprietary” music notation file format? What is an “open” music notation file format?

Computer Networks (& Website Development):

    1.
    In what type of format is everything encoded to transfer data between connections of the internet? How does the information physically travel down a copper wire (Ethernet)? How do bits physically travel down a “glass wire”(fiber optic)?
    2.
    Define bandwidth. How is the size of bandwidth described?
    3.
    Define packets [of information]. Discuss the importance of TCP.
    4.
    What are modems and routers?
    5.
    Describe the difference between HTML, CSS, and Javascript.
    6.
    What is an Internet Service Provider (ISP)?

Physics of Sound:

    1.
    What does “sound propagation” mean?
    2.
    Provide a drawing that illustrates a time-domain waveform representation of a sound wave (label the following on your drawing: compression, rarefaction, zero crossing, amplitude, and wavelength).
    3.
    What determines pitch?
    4.
    Define “transient.”
    5.
    What unit is used to indicate a ratio of the following?:
      what humans perceive as silence to how loud a sound seems to be to a human
    6.
    Provide a range of examples of things/environments that create different loudness levels (from nearly silent all the way to the threshold of pain for humans) … use the unit from the previous question.
    7.
    What is the frequency range of human hearing?
    8.
    What do Fletcher—Munson curves refer to? What does this have to do with Pink Noise?
    9.
    What are the terms aperiodic and periodic used to describe in the sound medium?
    10.
    Define complex tone (or complex wave form) by comparing it to a sine wave.
    11.
    Describe timbre using the terms harmonics, overtones, and partials.
    12.
    How is a spectrogram (frequency domain) different than a waveform (time domain)?
    13.
    What is Fourier transform?
    14.
    Describe how a sound is initially created by *your* instrument and all it goes through (transductions) for another person to perceive it in their brain (that means you’ll have to also include how the ear works).

Audio Synthesis:

    1.
    Oscillator = What is an oscillator? List a few basic waveforms created by different oscillators.
    2.
    Amplitude = Explain what amplitude is.
    3.
    Envelop = Explain what an amplitude envelop is (using the term ADSR).
    4.
    Filter = List some examples of audio filters.
    5.
    Modulation = Define modulation and give an example of how an LFO can be used in modulation (hint = tremolo and vibrato).
    6.
    List some different types of audio synthesis.
    7.
    Why are General MIDI standards helpful?
    8.
    What is a MIDI controller?
    9.
    What is a MIDI sequencer? (include “virtual instrument” in your answer)

Analog Sound Reinforcement:

    1.
    What is proper gain staging (or proper gain structure) for live sound? (talk about the steps you would take to find the proper level for each part of the system — from mic to speaker)
    2.
    What does it mean to attenuate a signal?
    3.
    Explain what a preamp does.
    4.
    Define clipping (or distortion). Draw it.
    5.
    Define pan.
    6.
    Define EQ.
    7.
    What does a microphone’s polar pattern tell you about how it functions?
    8.
    What is feedback and what are some ways to avoid/lesson it?

Notation Software:

    1.
    What are XML file types?
    2.
    Why are MusicXML files so useful?
    3.
    What type of graphic file do you export from notation software for use in word processor (such as Microsoft Word) or a graphics application (such as Adobe Illustrator) so that it prints crisply and sharply no matter how large the image is made?
    4.
    During analog-to-digital conversion, quantization is necessary in a specific stage of the conversion. Describe when/why quantization is used in ADC *and* how quantization is used with MIDI data. (hint: what is usually quantized in MIDI?)
    5.
    Discuss the difference between a MIDI file and a WAV file. What type of information is stored in each file?

Digital Audio:

    1.
    What are samples?
    2.
    Define sample rate.
    3.
    State the Nyquist Sample Theorem. What is the Nyquist frequency?
    4.
    Define bit depth.
    5.
    Define bit rate.
    6.
    Explain analog to digital conversion (include the term ADC)
    7.
    Explain digital to analog conversion (include the term DAC)
    8.
    Write the following out with blanks filled in:
      An analog signal is a _________ signal; analog signal values are known for _________________.
      A digital signal is a ________ signal; digital signals are only known at ___________________.
    9.
    Describe: mono, stereo, and surround sound files.
    10.
    Define and discuss when you use lossless audio files (and give examples of lossless file types).
    11.
    Define and discuss when you use lossy audio files (and give examples of lossy file types).

Audio Recording/Mixing:

    1.
    How do the acoustics and noise present in the recording space effect mic placement when recording? (For instance: Where would you place the mic if you didn’t like the space and didn’t want the characteristics of the space to be apparent in the recording?)
    2.
    Explain proper gain structure (or staging) in the recording process. What two levels are you looking for on the level meter when you are recording?
    3.
    Define multitrack recording.

Audio Editing:

    1.
    Explain proper gain staging in the mixing processes. What plugin should you add to every track in the very beginning of the mixing process [in order to keep *all* faders initially at 0db … or -6dB if you choose that technique]?
    2.
    What is the purpose of automation in a DAW? Provide some examples of parameters you might automate.
    3.
    Describe the differences between mixing and mastering.
    4.
    How does normalization work?
    5.
    How does a compressor work? (be sure to include the terms “threshold” and “compression ratio”).
    6.
    Define reverb.
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