Acoustics (Greek akouein, “to hear”) is a term sometimes used for the science of sound in general. It is more commonly used for the special branch of that science, architectural acoustics that deals with the construction of enclosed areas so as to enhance the hearing of speech or music. For the treatment of acoustics as a branch of the pure science of physics, see Sound.
The acoustics of buildings was an undeveloped aspect of the study of sound until comparatively recent times. The Roman architect Marcus Pollio, who lived during the 1st century BC, made some pertinent observations on the subject and some astute guesses concerning reverberation and interference. The scientific aspects of this subject (Acoustics), however, were first thoroughly treated by the American physicist Joseph Henry in 1856 and more fully developed by the American physicist Wallace Sabine in 1900.