Hot answers tagged

18

It's in their fingers, by which I mean the way they attack the string, the way they use vibrato, the inflections they use. All of these things contribute to tone in subtle ways. Picking: Where and how you pick makes a huge difference: picking close to the bridge makes the guitar sound bright and sharp, closer to fingerboard makes it sound rounder and ...


15

A simple list of what overtones are present wouldn't tell you much. What you really want is the relative levels/intensity of each overtone. A list of the overtones with relative intensities for an instrument is called the instrument's spectrum. You might try searching for " spectrum" for the ones you are most interested in. Here's an example for a violin: ...


10

Additive synthesis can be more than just stacking a bunch of sine waves to emulate an instrument. For instance are the sine waves following the harmonic series or some other series of harmonics? are the sine waves at a constant amplitude? are the sine waves in the same phase? The key thing to remember is that almost all natural sounds will have dynamic ...


10

What influences a player's tone has a lot to do with the equipment they use. A Strat sounds slightly different to a Tele, and a Les Paul sounds drastically different to a Rickenbacker. The construction of the guitars and the pickup used has a big effect on this. A semi-hollowbody guitar on the neck pickup is going to sound worlds apart from a solid body ...


10

JCPedroza's answer is correct for a square room, but I think it's worth pointing out that the shape of the room is not just it's dimensions. For example, a square room with an open window will act different than if the window is shut. In acoustics, we often model the response of a room as a circuit. If you break up the space into pieces, each piece can be ...


9

The most commonly-quoted theory on how the timbre of a sound affects consonance/dissonance is Helmhotz' proposition that beat frequencies between the individual partials of notes cause dissonance, and the coincidence of partials resulted in consonance. This was later expanded on by Plomp and Levelt's findings (for example, that dissonance is eliminated when ...


8

Vowels are formed using formants: the basic characteristic particularly of chest voice is a "pulse train" which has lots of harmonics/overtones. Those harmonics are then amplified or dampened depending on the shape of the mouth. The strongest surviving harmonics are called "formants". Basically, one hears the mouth shape under the "lighting" of the voice ...


8

Guitars are already rich in overtones and harmonics. Experiment with the position of your right hand. Picking near the neck emphasises the fundamental frequency. Picking nearer the bridge brings out more overtones. The biggest differences between a guitar and a violin are the size of the instrument, and the fact that a violin is bowed. You could try ...


7

A sine wave (at least an ideal sine wave) is truly only a single frequency, and has no harmonic content beyond the fundamental. This gives it an extremely simple timbre that is indeed rather dull or pale. Square waves still have the fundamental frequency, but they also have many harmonic partials above it—specifically the odd partials, such as an octave and ...


6

For human ears, the relation of the overtone to the fundamental is perhaps not as important as the pitch area that the overtone sounds in. Our ears have evolved to pick out resonance peaks and valleys (see the concept of vocal formants) that are pertinent to distinguishing vowels. An "ah" sound, for example, has an "ah" quality regardless of the fundamental ...


5

Equipment plays a significant role in a guitarists tone, as does technique, but another important factor to consider is post-production. For example, if I take a pair of Metalcore bands, hand them all PRS SE 245's and a Boogie Triple Rec and tell them to go nuts they will sound very close to alike. They won't sound exact due to inflection and expressiveness ...


5

I have an Epiphone 335 copy (they call it a "Sheraton") and a Warmoth-parts solid-body with "tone chambers" in it. I wouldn't describe either as having a "mellow" sound, per se. The Epiphone does have a sound I'd describe as "open" and "woody", though not as much so as my all-hollow archtop. You've heard 335's a thousand times, I'm sure, and you know how ...


5

Slim's answer already covers some of this, but I just want to emphasize how massively rich in overtones any guitar is. Only a pure sine wave doesn't have overtones, any natural instrument is rich in them (in fact each overtone is a sine wave). The only spectral difference between a violin and a guitar lies in which overtones are most present, and what their ...


5

Overdriven, distorted guitar sounds contain loads of harmonics, and tend to emphasise them quite well. By experimenting with these sorts of sounds, along with different pup settings, and plucking in different places on your strings, you may come close.Valve amps do it better, but there are several pedals also.


5

On a practical/engineering approach, once we have the spectral analysis (i.e. the characterization of the frequency spectrum along time in terms of transients, and harmonic and inharmonic partials, as explained in Todd Wilcox's answer), we need to compare our instrument to a reference database of previously catalogued instruments. This is done by using a ...


4

Additional to the answer from topo morto I'd like to mention the book “Tuning, Timbre, Spectrum, Scale” from W. Sethares [1]. Beside others, it describes the construction of scales and tone systems for timbres with inharmonic spectra. Even though it is mainly a place theoretic approach I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work also with a theory based on ...


3

William Sethares, creator of "xenotality" and "exotonality," wrote a book called Tuning, Timbre, Spectrum, Scale. According to Dave Benson in Music: A Mathematical Offering p. 490: The basic thesis of this book is the idea, first put forward by John Pierce, that the harmonic spectrum or timbre of an instrument determines the most appropriate scales ...


2

adding sin waves together of different amplitude,phase,frequency will get you to ALL the tones that are periodic. But periodic tones are pretty boring to the ear by themselves. So you wrap a volume/filtercutoff controlling envelope or lfo around em and they start getting interesting. then throw them thru some fx filters like chorus and reverb and they get ...


2

I've had several Les Pauls, a handful of Strats, and an ES-335 and a ES-345. Those two ES bodies are technically semi-hollow bodies, but definitely have a softer, mellow, more acoustic sound, somewhere between a Strat and a Les Paul. The ES guitars I had have dual-humbuckers, and a solid maple block that the humbucker's mounting rings are attached to, ...


2

Don't put too much meaning into the specific words used to describe the sounds, they are, necessarily, ambiguous metaphors. "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture". In this case, the difference in timbre is due to the much greater harmonic content of the square wave signal. A sine signal has just a single harmonic component. A square wave ...


2

Anything can inspire creation of mathematical systems expressed in music. However, whether the connection is actually less tenuous than any kind of voodoo is a different question. In the manner you pose the question, I don't think that it can be answered positively with an approach reasonably called justifiable. One obvious problem here is that Fourier ...


1

Yes, anything that changes the fundamental resonance / auto-feedback (auto like automatic door and auto like in autobiography) shall change the timbre. Timbre is basically a phenomena of which harmonics are engaged and at what strength. When you hit an A you are actually hitting (predominantly) the A at 438Hz or 432Hz or 440Hz whatever your tuning may be, ...


1

I'm wondering if we can make an instrument that changes its size according to the played tone to amplify it and resonate it in this wild manner. Well, most wind instruments work in that manner. There are rather few, like fanfares, that are mostly indeterminate regarding their resonances. And natural trumpets don't have valves or holes, either, but ...



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