Questions tagged [acoustics]

For questions about the physical science of sound production, behavior, and mechanics. Generic physics questions should be asked at our sister site Physics Stack Exchange.

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Basic acoustics definitions [closed]

I am a self-learning beginner and would like to confirm I've correctly understood the below terms. Fundamental Frequency The lowest frequency of a periodic waveform. Periodic Waveform: A waveform ...
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Is a solo cello strong enough to make a piano ring?

I attended a concert once where a trombone soloist played his instrument pointing towards the strings of a grand piano (lid propped fully open, pianist depressing the pedal). The effect was amazing; ...
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12 votes
2 answers
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What's actually going on with the Leslie effect?

Hammond organs often use the Leslie effect, which is produced by a rotating baffle and horn. They speed up and slow down at different rates, and have become the 'Hammond sound'. But what's actually ...
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What is a listener's typical audible angular resolution?

According to wiki, the human eye has an angular resolution of ~1 arcminute, which means you can distinguish things that are 30 centimetres apart at a distance of 1 kilometre. But your ears have a much ...
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Why are end-blown flutes shorter than their ideal length?

A flute is an open cylinder air column instrument. This means that an idealised flute, the fundamental pitch of the flute should have a wavelength of twice the length of the flute. This isn't exactly ...
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10 answers
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Why do two identical notes never cancel each other out?

If we consider a note as a sine function with a certain frequency (ignoring timbre), if you start playing another sine function, even with the same frequency but starting at a different offset, ...
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4 votes
2 answers
164 views

Grand piano placement

Sadly, I don't enjoy playing my August Förster (170 cm) grand piano. Tones sound harsh and music blasts into my face instead of being 'in front of me'. I feel like I can insufficiently distance myself ...
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How to calculate the expected pitch of the sound?

My question comes from MUS 204, stating: If we know that the noise wave being looped is 128 samples long, and that the audio playback rate is 44,100 samples per second, calculate the expected pitch of ...
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7 votes
3 answers
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Vibration Modes of Drums

I just learned in the context of a PDE course how the various modes of vibration arise as solutions to the 2D Wave Equation. I am curious as to how many of these describe the motion of actual drums. ...
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1 vote
1 answer
174 views

Equal Temperament as a Stack of Just Intervals

Recently I came up with interesting discovery how to get equally tempered tones by using a stack of just intervals 3/2 and 5/4. Since they are a part of most harmonic cord, major triad, should be ...
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6 votes
3 answers
397 views

harmonics in violin strings

a friend of mine is playing violin, and she explained to me that she can hear if she plays a false note because the string doesn't resonate well i find it very counter intuitive based on what i know ...
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Is the ear really phase insensitive?

According to Ohm’s Law of Acoustics, the ear is phase insensitive due to its resonant structure. For example, changing the phase angle of the 3rd harmonic of a note drastically changes the shape of a ...
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Bass sine wave on an acoustic instrument

Is there an instrument that can produce a sub bass sine wave like tone, that also has a lot of volume? Something that would sound a bit like an 808 bass. I've listened to some contrabass type flutes ...
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5 votes
5 answers
362 views

Influence of room acoustics on practicing (woodwind) instruments

While practicing flute I noticed I find it much easier to have a good tone when I practice in my living room then when I practice in my normal (music)room. I was thinking that this could be because of ...
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How does temperature affect tuning?

Off the back of comments on one of the answers to this question: How do room layouts affect tuning? So, I know the short answer is "It depends on the instrument", but ideally I'd like to ...
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How do room layouts affect tuning?

For background, I am not a musician, but I know a few things from physics. Physics tells us that we should perhaps expect that if your room changes, then you might need to tune your instruments ...
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5 votes
1 answer
543 views

What is "Young's modulus", and how does it relate to guitar?

I've come across some posts that mention "Young's modulus" in relation to guitar. Young's modulus is discussed on physics.SE (Young's Modulus and Vibrating String Harmonics), but I'm looking ...
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13 votes
4 answers
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Bridge intonation patterns on stringed instruments

On stringed instruments, the scale length needs to be slightly adjusted (at the bridge) for each string so that the first octave happens at the 12th fret/position, the 2nd at the 24th, etc. My ...
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Current consensus on consonant frequencies

I just read Physics and Music: The Science of Musical Sound Book by Donald H. White and Harvey Elliott White and the book explains that consonant frequencies — those sounding "good" when ...
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Does swaying your head like Stevie Wonder improve your musical hearing?

Stevie Wonder famously sways his head left and right when he's performing on stage. I've always thought that it was a listening technique linked to his blindness; I assume you can locate sounds easier ...
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36 votes
8 answers
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Is there a broader term for instruments, like the gong, whose volume briefly increases after being sounded instead of immediately decaying?

For most instruments, their sound immediately begins to decay after they first sound. When you strike a piano key, for instance, the loudest sound is at the very beginning, after which the sound ...
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3 votes
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How do double-length piano strings sound different?

The Klavins 450i grand piano plays the same pitches as a conventional piano, but its bass strings are about twice as long (and presumably have different density and more tension, to compensate). The ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Do all fundamental frequencies have 1 anti-node and 2 nodes

Given any musical instrument, when a note is played on the instrument, does the fundamental have only one node and 2 antinodes (Theoretically fundamental frequencies should have half wavelength)? If ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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What is up with the bell on the English Horn?

What is the story behind the shape of the bell on an English Horn? But first, a quick look at the clarinet family for a comparison. The standard clarinet (in Bb or A) has normal looking "bell-...
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6 votes
1 answer
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What are brass instrument "pedal tones" and "false tones", and how are they different?

The below two questions resulted in some debate, confusion, and consternation: What are the acoustics of brass instrument pedal tones? What are brass instrument “false notes” and how are they played? ...
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8 votes
3 answers
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What are the acoustics of brass instrument pedal tones?

The natural range of a standard Bb trumpet, for example, extends down to F# (i.e., concert E), but by adjusting one's embouchure and air, it's possible to produce lower pitches. Those lower pitches -- ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Harmonic Series Interference

I have been analysing intervals to look at the frequency difference between harmonics. Before my analysis I was under the impression that harmonics for 'consonant' sounding intervals contained more ...
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10 votes
5 answers
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What is the relationship between where and how a vibrating string is activated?

My understanding is that each string on a musical instrument/chordophone has a "sweet spot", such that when a string is activated at that point, the "best" sound is produced. ...
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Upright piano: High pitched chime-like ringing noise

On a new upright piano that is freshly tuned, I hear a high pitched chime-like noise specially when I press and release two mid-range notes simultaneously, like B3-flat and D4. The noise is like ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Why do frequencies that follow a base two logarithmic relationship sound the "same"? [duplicate]

We know that frequencies that follow a base two logarithmic relationship sound as the same tone. This seems to be one of the fundamental principles that underlies music theory. For example, ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What to do to improve bass resonance in mid sized piano?

Got myself a mid sized piano (110 height). Great tone in upper area but lower area is collapsed compared to a full size piano (of course). Has anyone tried to reduce acoustic shortcuts in smaller ...
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4 answers
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It it possible to find the equation of any melody, in principle? [closed]

I was wondering, is it possible to work out the equation of a melody from looking at the soundwave (although I don't know how one could obtain it from the recording)? How hard would this be? What ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Playing 440 Hz, what are the harmonics for a trumpet? For a flute?

Playing 440 Hz, what are the approximate harmonics for a trumpet? For a flute? This to help students understand the differences when those instruments play the same note. I've been to many website, ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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Could knocking on solid objects create different pitches and notes? If so, how?

Greetings, my fellow music lovers. I'm not certain if this question is on-topic but it's been bugging me for a long time. When we knock or tap our fingers on wood, or other solid objects, we make ...
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3 votes
0 answers
57 views

Experienced Music Organization to Partner for Competition using Animal Sounds? [closed]

I am part of a scientific organization that uses animal sounds to study animals & their environments. In an effort to share our science with a wider audience, we were interested in hosting a US ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why doesn't the flute head joint behave like a Swanee whistle?

I understand the basic physics of a Swanee whistle: shorter tube -> higher pitch. But when I take the head joint off my flute, play a note and poke my finger up the tube, this behaves in exactly ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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how to play capo and non-capo chords in the same song?

I've read through many forums and tutorials and am still very confused. I'll give an example to make this easier to understand: I'm trying to learn "Across the Universe" by Fiona Apple (...
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3 votes
1 answer
245 views

Would Wrapping Rockwool in Plastic Ruin its Sound Absorption?

I bought enough 3-inch-thick Rockwool to sufficiently treat my studio's walls, but building (ideally) 11 wood frames does not sound fun. If I were to wrap each piece in a thin but sealed plastic (to ...
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3 votes
1 answer
366 views

Fiberglass vs Rockwool: What are their pros / cons in making acoustic panels?

I'm trying to decide which material to use for DIY acoustic panels. Rockwool and Fiberglass have comparable sound absorption except for ~125 Hz where Rockwool performs much better. But I can buy 3x as ...
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7 votes
2 answers
268 views

What is the physical mechanism by which a chord has a root?

When the tones C, E and G are played, C is perceived as the root. In the case of this major triad, the root is easily identifiable. However, for many chords, there is no identifiable root. For example,...
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19 votes
8 answers
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Why is the 5th stronger than the 1st in guitar spectrum?

I was experimenting with spectrum analysis of guitar plucks and this is what i got on an open low E recording: As you can see the strongest peak is at about 247 Hz, which is a B3 while the peak at ...
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3 votes
2 answers
193 views

Audio latency in live bands

In computer music one usually says that the audio latency of the system should ideally be less than 10ms… On the other hand, as the speed of sound is around 340 m/s in the air it means that whenever ...
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5 votes
8 answers
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Can you change some composition I wrote to whatever music you want just by changing the timbre of the instruments?

Here is my problem: suppose I am a composer you have contracted to create any sheet music I dream of with the unique condition it is not pure silence and that I don't stipulate the instrument section (...
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26 votes
7 answers
9k views

When we press a piano key, why does a high pitch note not run for as long as a low pitch note?

When we press the keys on the piano that exist on the ends, one can notice that when we press a high pitch note, it plays for a short bit and then the sounds fades away. However, when we play a low ...
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2 votes
1 answer
220 views

Doubt about Harp Sound

I have some doubts about the acoustics of the harp? What is the resonant oscillator and sound effuser on a harp? For example, on a trumpet, the resonant oscillator is the body of the instrument ...
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2 votes
1 answer
244 views

Flutes in octaves sounds like an organ? Why does this happen?

I have noticed something when I hear 2 flutes in octaves or a flute and piccolo playing the same notated notes, sounding an octave apart. It starts to not sound like a flute. In particular it sounds ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Transcriptions that (more) directly relate to physical frequencies

Where can I view not traditional Western cleff based transcriptions of music, but rather ones that map directly to the physical differences in pitch being written down? So instead of something based ...
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12 votes
3 answers
4k views

Is it a coincidence that the length of the body of a violin is pretty exactly one fifth of the wave length of its lowest note?

The standard body size of a violin is 35 centimeter in length. Its lowest note is G3, which has a wave length of 175 centimeter, five times 35. 35 cm is the wave length of B5, which is a major third ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Creating a xylophone out of copper pipes

I have been trying to create a xylophone out of copper pipes for a school project and have been running into a few problems with calculating the length of each bar. I have been using this paper as ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Acoustic problem of intonation low on neck

I am a bass player for over 35 years. Also play guitar. I have worked on my own electrics, setting intonation, etc. I have an acoustic. When I tune it, the low E, fretted at the 2nd 3rd frets are ...
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