The word acoustics has multiple definitions, all of them interrelated. In the most general sense, acoustics is the scientific study of sound, covering how sound is generated, transmitted, and received.  Acoustics can also refer more specifically to the properties of a room that cause it to reflect, refract, and absorb sound.  We can also use the term acoustics as the study of particular recordings or particular instances of sound and the analysis of their sonic characteristics.  We'll touch on all these meanings in this chapter.