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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Are there advanced high-quality violins like Strads with 4 fine tuners? Does any concerto virtuoso use 4 fine tuners? [duplicate]

Are there advanced high-quality violins with 4 fine tuners? (like Stradivarius.) Are there advanced violin concerto virtuosos players using violins with 4 fine tuners? Below are some related ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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Why don't two Boomwhackers with a one-octave pitch difference have a 2:1 length ratio?

I frequently use the tuned percussion tubes Boomwhackers in my elementary music teaching. I noticed something odd about them. When I compare the smaller and larger C tubes, they sound one octave ...
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4 votes
1 answer
200 views

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
2k views

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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5 votes
1 answer
166 views

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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17 votes
2 answers
1k views

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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18 votes
10 answers
6k views

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, ...
4 votes
2 answers
179 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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0 votes
1 answer
102 views

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
721 views

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. ...
1 vote
1 answer
177 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 ...
6 votes
3 answers
406 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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13 votes
4 answers
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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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6 votes
2 answers
534 views

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 ...
5 votes
5 answers
395 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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6 votes
5 answers
663 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 ...
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2 votes
3 answers
561 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
635 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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14 votes
4 answers
723 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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
72 views

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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0 votes
3 answers
1k views

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 ...
36 votes
8 answers
4k views

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
2 answers
518 views

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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
320 views

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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

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-...
6 votes
1 answer
1k 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? ...
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8 votes
3 answers
237 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 -- ...
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3 votes
3 answers
572 views

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 ...
10 votes
5 answers
837 views

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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0 votes
1 answer
876 views

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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
104 views

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
65 views

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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1 vote
4 answers
149 views

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
616 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, ...
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1 vote
3 answers
240 views

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 ...
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
84 views

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
752 views

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 (...
3 votes
1 answer
297 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
408 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 ...
7 votes
2 answers
276 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
3k views

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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
206 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 (...
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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
229 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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
252 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
67 views

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 ...
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 ...