Questions tagged [acoustics]

The physical science of sound production, behavior, and mechanics.

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1answer
274 views

How accurately can a good musician judge an interval to be out of tune? [closed]

This is for a music/physics crossover experiment. Almost everyone will be familiar with the Doppler Effect, even if they don't know the name. Imagine that a vehicle is blaring its a siren or ...
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6answers
415 views

Accurate understanding of the physics of sound?

I'm trying to learn theory. I'm starting with the physics of sound as the base. Here is what I (think I) know. Is this accurate? Music is sound. Sound travels in waves. Sound waves have two ...
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3answers
107 views

A truly perfect unison

Two notes are two notes. At least, it seems that way. When people play two notes at two frequencies, they sound like two notes, even when they're playing in unison. There are a variety of factors ...
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3answers
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 ...
11
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2answers
780 views

How do I know where to place holes on an instrument?

I've been trying to build a double reeded instrument out of plastic straws. I've run into a problem though, when I place fingering holes, the instrument doesn't seem to follow the $$f=/frac{nv}{4L}$$ ...
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2answers
1k views

How much louder than an upright is a small grand piano?

I now have a kawai upright (height 135cm) and I'd like to upgrade to a small grand piano (around 170 cm I think). I'm wondering how much louder it will be. I don't really need a louder piano, my ...
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2answers
128 views

How effective are acoustic panels to deaden a room?

I need to deaden an echoing drum practice room and am considering acoustic panels, probably DIY ones 3.5" deep filled with rock wool. I'm look at these vs. heavy blankets for aesthetic reasons. I'd ...
4
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2answers
313 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 ...
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3answers
3k 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 ...
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1answer
55 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 ...
3
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1answer
136 views

Textbook vs real world explanation of loudness perception

I read that if you double the number of instruments playing, i.e double the amount of acoustic energy, then the perceived loudness rises by 3 dB. I've also read that a 3 dB change is almost ...
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1answer
184 views

Why do B and C resonate sympathetically?

While experimenting with piano acoustics I came across this weird phenomenon. Having an open B string and then hitting the C above will cause the B to resonate! This also works with open C and playing ...
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1answer
57 views

Isolation of acoustic body size with respect to volume and sustain?

Let's say we have two identical acoustic guitars with the only difference being the body size. How will the body size effect sound volume when considering a string plucked with the exact same amount ...
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4answers
1k views

What causes overtones at harmonic frequencies in an instrument? [duplicate]

I know when a string is plucked on a violin you can hear many overtones at harmonic frequencies, but where do these overtones come from? Does an ideal string vibrating in a vacuum vibrate at the ...
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3answers
854 views

Alternatives to acoustic foam

I get health reactions from acoustic foam. I tried different brands. It's unfortunate. Still, i would like to treat the acoustics in my little home studio as good as possible. What could i use as ...
9
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1answer
452 views

Why can a vuvuzela only play one pitch, while a non-valved bugle can play many?

According to our collective nightmares from the 2010 World Cup Wikipedia, the vuvuzela is a monotone instrument; it famously plays (roughly) the B♭ below middle C. Why is the vuvuzela restricted to ...
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4answers
1k views

Does shape of waveform affect sonic perception?

Title says it all - does the shape of a wave have any effect on how we perceive it as a sound?
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5answers
356 views

A seriously difficult question about mistakes and intepretation of music

I just came up with a question that I've never seen asked or talked about. It maybe obvious to everyone else in the world but I realized I simply can't answer it except with the non-answer. This is ...
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5answers
7k views

Can eggboxes really be used to treat a room? If so, how?

I'm thinking about acoustically treating my room so I can listen to my mixes in higher clarity. I'm trying to think of how I can do it cheaply (even though you get what you pay for, I suppose), and my ...
12
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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3answers
1k views

How do I make drums sound satisfying in a room without soundproofing?

First of all, I am beginner drummer that joined a band that already goes live from time to time and has its own great author songs. So what's happened? These guys jam in a penthouse apartment, which ...
13
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10answers
5k views

Can music time signatures really be irrational?

In this video around the 5 minute mark, the presenter mentions that "irrational units of time cannot exist because of Planck's constant", and therefore music time signatures like 2:√2 cannot be ...
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2answers
2k views

Bass guitar: Fret distance formula

I just set off a new trip to the wonderful world of fretted instruments. I bought myself an electric bass guitar (cort c4h). My question to you is what is the formula of the fret distances along the ...
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3answers
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How did baroque music sound at the time?

Historical context Let's for example consider Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 (click here to enjoy). It was composed at the very beginning of the 18th century in Germany. At that time: ...
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1answer
172 views

Does the THX Deep Note Actually Increase in SPL/IL?

This may be more of a question for the Physics StackExchange, but I thought I'd post it here since it is in some sense a musical question. The Wikipedia article on the Deep Note includes the ...
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4answers
5k views

If I change the pitch of a C major scale can I get to any major key?

Say I recorded an audio of C major: do re mi fa so la si do. Now imagine I used some software to change the pitch higher (I think Audacity has a feature like this). I was wondering: if I change the ...
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2answers
99 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 ...
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5answers
2k 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.) ...
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3answers
357 views

Trouble understanding loudness diagram

When looking at the Wikipedia article about "loudness", I'm presented with the following picture: From my understanding, this represents the threshold for how loud a certain sound has to be to be ...
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2answers
6k 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 ...
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1answer
3k views

Loudness of instruments - musician's viewpoint [closed]

I have been wondering how loud seem instruments to musicians that play them. Let's say that you put an instrument in a room with average acoustics and measure loudness that musician hears and loudness ...
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2answers
13k views

Sound proofing a wall with rockwool. What's the best density?

I share a wall with a neighbour and I am looking for ways to isolate it a bit more. I read that rockwool does a good job. It might be important to mention that practice instrument is a piano and ...
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1answer
138 views

Why are pedal notes in the lower, not in the higher, register?

At church today I listened to an organ piece that had a constant pedal note from the beginning to the end of the piece. The strange (and very unpleasant) thing about this pedal note was, that it was ...
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4answers
1k views

How can I get a less directional sound from a loudspeaker?

Normally I play on stage with my pedalboard DI'ed straight in to the desk and use a stagefront wedge monitor for all my sound but some venues don't work like this. In these cases I use the standard ...
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2answers
979 views

What makes some instruments louder than others?

Main question: are longer pianos actually louder? Context: When a musician plays on an acoustic instrument, I expect that the loudness produced corresponds to raw energy (as measured in Joules or ...
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6answers
8k 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 ...
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2answers
4k views

How do uncovered tone holes in middle of a flute work?

As a (mediocre) guitarist just starting to dabble with other instruments, the first several fingering diagrams for flutes, saxophones, etc make good intuitive sense to me because you're effectively ...
4
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1answer
191 views

Is this theoretical “reed” acoustically possible?

I suppose this isn't exactly a reed, but it seems like a method of producing a sound that I've never seen on any instrument, at least on any commonly known instrument. This "reed" consists of two ...
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6answers
476 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 ...
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1answer
152 views

Why do farther notes resonate more than closer notes?

Source: 30:05 juncture. Prof. Steven Cassedy. The following is based on YouTube's transcript that lacks formatting, and whose errors I corrected. Sorry for the strange numbering; I originally deleted ...
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4answers
2k views

What are the characteristics of a signal from a typical electric guitar?

A standard electric guitar utilizes passive induction pick-ups, which generate fluctuating voltage as the vibrating string moves in a magnetic field. This is high-school physics. Because it's passive, ...
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3answers
264 views

Why do lower instruments speak “slower”?

Why do lower instruments, such as double bass and cello in an orchestra or chamber setting, are discerned by the ear slower than higher instruments (violin, flute, etc)? Does it have to do with the ...
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6answers
4k views

Should low frequency players anticipate in orchestra?

"The bigger the instrument, the heavier the strings, the bigger the bow, the bigger the mouthpiece, the more you should anticipate." This concept is expressed occasionally by double bass players, ...
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1answer
415 views

How does the pitch of the reed relate to the resonant frequency of the pipe in a woodwind instrument?

I'm a wind player who is interested in constructing musical instruments, and I've been studying acoustic physics and instrument design on my own time. I haven't been able to find the answer, and (...
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1answer
1k views

My guitar instrument produced a perfect sine wave?

My homemade guitar was producing perfect sine waves, most guitar waves arent perfectly sine. Anyone have any suggestions for why? Physics project))
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2answers
5k views

Studio monitors: Should we break them in and why?

Having just acquired a spankin' new pair of monitors for my home studio, I'm currently in the process of "breaking them in". Being an inquisitive mind, I started wondering: what is the purpose of ...
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1answer
425 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 ...
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4answers
906 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 ...
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1answer
1k views

Why do Talkbox and Autotune effects sound similar?

Talkbox and Autotune are completely different effects. In the former sound of an instrument is modulated through a hose in the singer's mouth, in the latter the frequencies of the singer's voice are ...
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2answers
110 views

Can a soundboard, if designed with the right shape and materials, be as accurate as a series of tubes for filtering/amplifying desired frequencies?

By cascading tube resonators of different cross section areas, it is possible to have a lot of control over the filtering of the sound, e.g. vowels in human voice can be approximated by cascading only ...