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I need to know this because I need some information about ringing tones for a science project that I am doing. I have tried researching, but I could not find any information.

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A ringing tone on a string instrument (not just violin) happens when the instrument is perfectly in tune, and the player plays a note (also perfectly in tune) which causes a sympathetic vibration in an open string.

For example, with the violin, a very straightforward ringing tone is when the D string is not touched and the player plays a "d" on the a string. The d being played is an octave above the open d string, but if played exactly in tune, the open d string will start to vibrate "in sympathy".

If you listen very carefully for such ringing tones when beginning to learn the violin, they can be a great help in the process of playing properly in tune.

Edit:

Actually, my insistence above, that the note must be perfectly in tune is not totally true: you will get a ringing tone if you play a note which is very slightly out of tune with an open string, but you will certainly get a louder ringing tone (which will also ring longer after you stop playing the note) if you are precisely in tune.

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    Or you can play a note and stop another string at that same note to get more overtones. This is most noticeable (to me at least) on the lower strings. -- BTW, if your instrument's box (the wood itself) has a resonant frequency that's off-pitch, then of course you get more ringing at the resonant frequency than dead onpitch. – Carl Witthoft Dec 9 '15 at 20:50
  • I am sure that is right, but I must admit, that with my very elementary level of violin playing, I only ever use open strings since playing one note at a time in tune is as much as I can manage! – Old John Dec 9 '15 at 20:53
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    That's fine: play an open G and stop the D string on G :-) – Carl Witthoft Dec 9 '15 at 20:58

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