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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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10 votes
6 answers
27k views

Difference between equal temperament and just intonation

I am learning Indian classical music and learned about just intonation and equal temperament. I want to know the difference between them. I know that Indian classical music uses just intonation and ...
Manoj Singh's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
7k views

What's the purpose of a sound post?

Almost all bowed string instruments have a sound post. It is said that this adds stability to the instrument and also "transmits vibrations to the bottom". Interestingly though, guitars do not have ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
21 votes
6 answers
9k views

Does piano soundproofing require floating walls? Getting conflicting answers from professionals

I have just placed a new hybrid piano in a small 9x13 room in my apartment. I want to use the room for playing and for singing. Costly steps have already been taken, and, much to our dismay, we ...
Money Pits's user avatar
17 votes
5 answers
13k views

Music Theory: Frequencies related to playing a note on guitar

I am studying the physics related to playing guitar. I need to understand the relationship between the fundamental frequency of a guitar string and its harmonics. For e.g., the top string has the ...
theoryPractitioner's user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
2k views

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 ...
Pam's user avatar
  • 355
31 votes
4 answers
16k views

Physics behind why a bugle can play several notes, while a whistle only plays one note

A bugle and a whistle are essentially both tubes open at both ends. A bugle has no keys, yet you can play several notes on it. A whistle also has no keys, but it only plays a single note. Why is this? ...
Lama's user avatar
  • 319
24 votes
3 answers
6k views

How does a pipe organist deal with latency or delay?

I've seen church setups (choir loft in back) where the organ console is 30 Meters or more away from the pipes. That implies that there would be a minimum of 100 milliseconds from pipe sounds back to ...
hotpaw2's user avatar
  • 1,802
13 votes
2 answers
4k views

Trumpet Peculiar Frequency spectrum

So I made this frequency spectrum analyzer and tested various instruments playing a certain note. There doesn't seem to be any problem with the 'equalizer'. However, I found the spectrum for trumpet ...
Black Jack 21's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
424 views

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 -- ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 90.2k
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

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? ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 90.2k
4 votes
2 answers
796 views

Calculation of a note's frequency in the 18th-19th century

Suppose you are trying to reproduce an A major scale from the early 18th or 19th century, when A4 was perhaps tuned to 429.3Hz. What is the correct frequency (in Hz) for the next C# up (assuming we ...
brown's user avatar
  • 53
26 votes
7 answers
10k 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 ...
gyuunyuu's user avatar
  • 371
24 votes
9 answers
6k views

Why do listeners hear the lowest note of a chord most distinctly?

Source: Prof. Bruce Taggart (PhD in Music Theory, U. of Pennsylvania), 58 s of his Coursera video. The lowest note of a chord is the most important one. It's the one that the listener hears most ...
user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
12k views

Why do certain rooms/vessels respond to specific frequencies?

Since I was a kid I was always wondering why is it that when I sing in a small room (i.e. bathroom!), whenever I touch a certain frequency, the whole room vibrates sympathetically. What are the ...
Shimmy Weitzhandler's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
1k views

At what point in history did the relationship between pitch and frequency become well-known among musicians?

I think I've read that even very ancient cultures were able to discern that an octave difference corresponded to a pipe of twice the length, and so on. But at what point were musicians and composers ...
Нет войне's user avatar
15 votes
9 answers
9k views

Piano vs Guitar Strings? Tension vs length?

Why do pianos have different length strings, while guitars have the same length strings? According to the guitar, it would seem that the pitch of a string is determined based solely off of tension, ...
Ryan's user avatar
  • 569
15 votes
3 answers
7k views

What is brightness?

I hear the term get thrown around a lot, and it seems pretty nebulous. Usually, it's invoked under the heading of tone, but I've heard it linked to intonation and a handful of other categories. At the ...
Lysander Cox's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why does a clarinet behaves like a closed pipe?

Saxophones, oboes and generally generally most woodwind instruments I can think of behave like open pipes. That seems logical; when every key is closed, they actually are open pipes and, if I remember ...
Édouard's user avatar
  • 3,907
14 votes
3 answers
1k views

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 ...
Alexbib's user avatar
  • 623
12 votes
1 answer
3k views

Flat-wound vs round-wound strings

What difference can you expect when playing with flat-wound vs round-wound strings on an electric bass/guitar? I know that they feel different - I am asking explicitly in terms of sound.
user393's user avatar
  • 707
9 votes
3 answers
10k views

Why do people place speaker cabinets or combo amps on top of things?

In a lot of gigs I've played, I have noticed that they have placed the amplifier speaker cab (usually just the bass amp) on top of a chair or a stool or something, so as not to be on the ground. What ...
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
8 votes
5 answers
4k views

How do multiple sound waves interact physically to create music?

What happens on a physical level when many notes/sound waves interact with each other at the same time? (For example, a big chord on the piano with all of its harmonics/overtones clashing together.) ...
user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
4k views

Does environmental (or food/drink) temperature have an effect on the voice?

Does ambient temperature (i.e. winter vs summer) or food/drink temperature (i.e. cold vs hot) have an effect on voice: Texture Pitch/range Strength
explorer's user avatar
  • 859
6 votes
1 answer
79 views

Microdynamics of bow rosin and strings

Discussion in comments here questions whether the rosin on bow hairs changes physical characteristics in the course of stimulating vibration in a string. Consensus seems to be that: the physical ...
feetwet's user avatar
  • 1,130
5 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 90.2k
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

How to lower the tone of a natural horn?

I've received as gift a hollow natural cow horn, similar to those anciently used for signaling before metalworking was discovered. I'd like to know if, given it simplicity (natural carved material ...
Allison Ross's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why is a Perfect Fourth Considered Consonant? [duplicate]

I've been doing some research into the harmonic series lately. What I've come to understand is that the lower the ratio between the harmonics, the more pleasant/consonant the interval is. So, an ...
akrs20's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes
1 answer
334 views

Is there an amp power formula?

I'm looking to buy a new amp for my keyboards, and I was wondering if there's a formula I can use to help me calculate some of the objective specs I should look for. Something along the lines of: I ...
Gustavo Mori's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

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, ...
Clyde's user avatar
  • 57
3 votes
6 answers
609 views

What does it mean to play a note for half a second?

This is my first serious look at the science side of music, as I am getting started with audio programming, and I am greeted by an awkward bouncer first up. I know that a note is simply a certain ...
vin's user avatar
  • 157
3 votes
2 answers
453 views

Room Acoustics for Singing

I'm working to improve my singing ability at a very basic level. During the week I have access to three different rooms 1) with a lot of echo (bare walls, ceiling and floor) 2) One that has a little ...
curly's user avatar
  • 31
2 votes
3 answers
731 views

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 ...
QCD_IS_GOOD's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
414 views

Properties of a very low pitched natural horn?

I would like to acquire a natural horn to play a very low pitched tone. I am not educated in music, so I don't even know how to describe the tone in a correct way (is it "low pitched"?), but ...
wayn3's user avatar
  • 31