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If you have ever rung a bell or coin made of pure silver, you know it makes a very beautiful and unmistakable tone, completely different than striking a bar of brass or steel. How can I find out more about this tone? I assume it is due to harmonics, but I do not know how to find out the differences between the harmonics produced by different materials. I tried looking up "silver xylophone" and so forth, but it is useless. I just get a lot of articles about silver colored xylophones.

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closed as off-topic by Dave, Fergus, Shevliaskovic, Jason W, Meaningful Username Apr 2 at 19:37

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This question appears to be off-topic because it is about material properties rather than musical practice & performance; isn't even (directly) related to instrument construction. –  Dave Apr 2 at 18:27
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I'd suggest, maybe, the Physics SE -- I suspect it has to do with a (relative) lack of impurities/imperfections in fine silver relative to brass or steel. –  Dave Apr 2 at 18:28
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This is the only stack exchange site on music. I am interested in the MUSICAL qualities of silver and understanding what produces them. This goes towards identifying what sort of instruments will have the best effect. For example, will a xylophone of silver sound better than one with wooden bars? –  Tyler Durden Apr 2 at 18:36
    
In my opinion, the fact that the acoustic properties that you are interested in are independent of whether the silver is incorporated into a musical instrument or not, indicates to me that the question might be better suited to a different site, and thus get better answers there. –  Dave Apr 2 at 18:46
    
I understand everybody's concerns with this question. But, personally I'd love to find out what contribution solid silver makes to the timbre of musical instruments. Looking online there is a little info, but not much. Possibly a question specifically asking about the effect on timbre of solid silver and silver-plated components of woodwind, percussion or brass instruments may be more suitable. This would invite answers with a far more practical basis. In the meantime, I'm going to sign up to Physics SE and see what the material scientists say about the musical properties of silver... –  Bob Broadley Apr 2 at 21:11

1 Answer 1

UPDATE: Based on your comment below:

"For the purpose I am interested in the tonal qualities of silver apart from shape. If you strike ANY silver resonater it makes a peculiar ring that, as I said in the question, is unmistakable. This is the tone I am interested in capturing and studying. If you strike a pure silver coin you will hear what I am talking about. – Tyler Durden"

I suggest that you make a recording of this tone and reference tones (wood, bronze, etc) and feed them to a spectrum analyzer. Run a fourier analysis, and so forth. There you have it, solid data points to compare why silver is so special.

Neither xylophones or bells are made of silver, at least not ones commonly used by hand bell choirs or orchestras.

"Handbells are cast of pure bronze in the approximate proportions of 80% copper and 20% tin. The metal is heated in crucibles to 2,150° F in modern electric furnaces."

Source: http://www.malmark.com/html/craftsmanship.php

Xylophones use wood for the bars.

However I did locate this paper on the acoustic properties of solids including silver.

http://www.ondacorp.com/images/Solids.pdf

Materials alone do not fully explain tone (harmonic structure). One should consider shape, size, and how the surface is struck as well as with what material the clapper is made of too.

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For the purpose I am interested in the tonal qualities of silver apart from shape. If you strike ANY silver resonater it makes a peculiar ring that, as I said in the question, is unmistakable. This is the tone I am interested in capturing and studying. If you strike a pure silver coin you will hear what I am talking about. –  Tyler Durden Apr 2 at 18:38
    
See update above. –  filzilla Apr 2 at 18:49

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