Free Stanford online course starting March 31 — Physics-Based Sound Synthesis for Games and Interactive Systems

This course introduces the basics of Digital Signal Processing and computational acoustics, motivated by the vibrational physics of real-world objects and systems. We will build from a simple mass-spring and pendulum to demonstrate oscillation, learn how to simulate those systems in the computer, and also prove that these simple oscillations behave as a sine wave. From that we move to plucked strings and struck bars, showing both solutions as combined traveling waves and combined sine wave harmonics. We continue to build and simulate more complex systems containing many vibrating objects and resonators (stringed instruments, drum, plate), and also learn how to simulate echos and room reverberation. Through this process, we will learn about digital signals, filters, oscillators, harmonics, spectral analysis, linear and non-linear systems, particle models, and all the necessary building blocks to synthesize essentially any sound. The free open-source software provided will make it possible for anyone to use physical models in their art-making, game or movie sound, or any other application.


Do these courses stay free? Can I learn on my own time, or will it only be available at certain times and be removed thereafter?

seems to be:

Go at your own pace 9 Sessions / 8-10 hours of work per session

1 Like

I Julius Smith teaching that? He’s the man when it comes to publishing papers on Physical Modelling.

If anyone is looking for free courses then try I mostly use the free film listings but they have lists of free courses and books as well. (Here, try this:


Pheew, it looks just like that! I see that Julius Smith home page is also listed among the main reference pages in the VCVRack manual DSP section itself.
As for Perry Cook, I knew him because of his book “Music, Cognition and Computerized Sound” (which I got some time ago via a big discounted sale of MIT Press books promoted by HumbleBundle), but I didn’t know he’s the brain behind STK and the ChucK audio language.
Whereas I am retired at my not-so-smart home, with my not-so-smart day job at hand, in this insane CV (Corona Virus…) time management, I find this course rather intriguing, all in all I could try and jump on the bandwagon.
I also need some overhead of mind-food to get a little distracted from the sad situation that we are experiencing - in Italy, in Europe, in the US, in our planet - to be honest.

Have you done a lot of free courses? They’re something that i’d really like to try but my social phobia (which even gets in the way of signing up for things on the internet) stops me.

The opposite, the only free online Course I happened to follow was a nice MOOC on RTL-SDR handled by Miriadax y Univerdidad Politecnica de Madrid, a couple of years ago. There are real plenty of possibilities and offerings these days, but I generally go for more traditional sources of information/learning (books, papers), and I like also the freedom and informality of tutorials and case histories one can find on the Web. At times some really peculiar online courses pop up, however, for example the one hilighted in this thread is promising, or simply matches my actual curiosity. Maybe everyone has to find the correct formula for a course, the one that gets his attention and mirror his needs in the short. It’s also a bet, to be lived as an experience, it can be good, but it could be a unsatisfactory experience indeed! For the social thing, I have a sort of anxiety too, personally I manage to go over that only when the topic to study really gets the more of my focus, so finally I don’t care excessively for my social identity or appropriateness.

P.S. I hope my English is understandable enough here, I am currently writing from an obsolete mobile phone, with no vocabulary neither google translator working around, no native speaking nearby too :slight_smile:


There’s a bit of a red flag in the terms:

User Submissions

Company does not claim any exclusive ownership rights in any such User Submissions and nothing in these Terms of Use will be deemed to restrict any rights that you may have to use and exploit any such User Submissions.

By making available any User Submissions through the Service, you hereby grant to Company a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, broadcast and otherwise exploit such User Submissions in any and all media or distribution methods.

Basically any work you submit Kadenze have the rights to… forever.

Not sure what the course work is like but great care should be taken on submitting something that is really good and original!

1 Like

Usually there’s not much social about online courses, especially if you don’t do the assignment submission/feedback part (which in this case doesn’t come with the free deal anyways). It is basically a series of videos and sometimes additional reading material. You also get access to a forum where you can talk to fellow attendees but that is completely optional.
Anytime you’re worried about signing up with your personal email to these places you can use a throw-away address with or something similar (of course most sites try to block these but there are always new ones that work).

This course looks promising anyways, but I’m guessing you can get most of the info through the aformentioned links as well, that dsp list on the vcv site is very well curated!