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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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Is a wind-string instrument (such as the one I will explain) acoustically possible?

I've always had this concept of an instrument, but I am wondering if such an instrument is even acoustically possible. The instrument is a tube, like most other woodwinds, but inside of the tube is a ...
Sam 's user avatar
  • 506
12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is 440hz always perceived as the same note no matter the vibrating medium, athmosphere and environment?

When I produce a 440hz signal is it in all conditions (air-pressure, medium or compositon of the athmosphere, on a mountain, on alien planets etc.) perceived as the same note? Assuming a human can ...
nilshi's user avatar
  • 809
20 votes
4 answers
6k views

Will a marching band on the go sound out of tune to an observer due to the Doppler Effect?

Upon reading Simon Singh's Big Bang, I came upon an explanation of the Doppler Effect (besides the known Formula 1 and ambulance sirens examples): Trumpeters were split into two groups and asked to ...
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
5 votes
5 answers
1k views

Are the inharmonic frequencies of an instrument in addition to or instead of the theoretical overtone frequencies?

I'm working on some computer code to detect musical notes and have just found out about in-harmonics (up until now I was under the impression that the overtones were always integer multiples of the ...
norlesh's user avatar
  • 595
3 votes
2 answers
882 views

Are some instruments more tonal than others? How do you measure tonality?

If I consider the range of musical instruments, one thing that seems to vary is tonality. For instance, a snare drum clearly doesn't produce a tonal sound whereas a piano does. How does one measure ...
Stan Shunpike's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
853 views

What contributes to the roughness of a sound?

I know this is a little subjective in regards to what roughness is. So, imagine the sound of a sine wave, you could say this is the purest, or cleanest sound there is. Now contrast that to a ...
user108262's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
119 views

Note Accentuation (Dynamic) - When should/shouldn't you apply accentuation?

I am having some concern over whether it is appropriate or not to apply accentuation to every part of the song, apart from of course the drums, It's innately intuitive that these beats should be ...
user108262's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
193 views

What properties of a material make it ideal for acoustic foam or paneling?

I want to make some acoustic foam/paneling substitute but I'm wondering makes foam paneling "good" or not? I know that if it's too dense or stiff then the sound won't "trap" and will just bounce right ...
LCIII's user avatar
  • 275
2 votes
2 answers
813 views

How can I visualise the effects of EQ as a curvature represented on a graph?

I have just started diving into the magic world of EQ. Basically, I can hear what the effects are, and see them via a freq-analyser, however, what i'd really like is a way I can represent any sound ...
user108262's user avatar
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
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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
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
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
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2 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
Ian P Badtrousers's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
4k 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, ...
Mr. Boy's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
232 views

Vocal Resonance and the Acoustic Chamber

As a student of vocal singing, I've had trouble developing a full resonant sound, especially across my entire range. On accident I had my guitar hole placed near my head and I noticed in a particular ...
thank_you's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
6k views

What exactly are complex sounds in terms of audio waves?

If you listen to a song through headphones you have a "right" sound wave and a "left" sound wave, correct? But these waves have a lot of complex sounds combined in them and a digital sound wave is ...
Zach Smith'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
6 votes
5 answers
4k views

In Pythagorean tuning, what's the frequency of the tonic of each key?

When playing a fretless instrument (like violin), what frequency should be used to tune beginning of each key? I believe that for A major and A minor, 440Hz is the tonic. What will be the frequency ...
Shimmy Weitzhandler's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why does palm muting give a higher output than a normally played power chord?

Assuming you have the same amount of (high) gain, and the same amount of distortion, a palm muted strum gives a higher output than when you hit the same chord with the same amount of energy, non muted....
SiddFisher's 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
4 votes
3 answers
629 views

What characteristics of a single-coil (Telecaster) sound to consider for simulation?

I am in the course of simulating a Telecaster guitar with supercollider, i.e. electronically. I started with the low E-String and results were satisfactory. Then I tried the high e-String and had ...
Martin Drautzburg'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
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
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Fret buzz present only at specific situations - how to explain?

I hear a strange fret buzz on my classical guitar, but only at a very specific situation. If I do both of the following, I hear the buzz: Hold 5th string at 8th fret (note F), but not play it Pluck ...
anatolyg's user avatar
  • 2,615
4 votes
3 answers
6k views

Does a note/key/string struck on one piano cause the same note on another piano to resonate?

I need assistance please. Not possessing one (never mind two!) pianos myself, I wonder if someone could test this experiment for me? (Or has someone already noticed this phenomenon?) I am presently ...
user6999's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
11k views

Acoustic considerations for positioning an upright piano against the wall?

I know that upright pianos are usually positioned against the wall for aesthetic reasons, but I was wondering whether there are any sound quality considerations. Searching the web it seemed like some ...
iddober's user avatar
  • 6,642
4 votes
3 answers
216 views

Can the "music of the spheres" be applied (or projected) to instrumental music?

I've read lots of books on Pythagoras and the philosophy of the Music of the Spheres, but it all seems to stop at labeling planets with scale degrees. And then what? If they're all there, filling up ...
luser droog's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
4k views

What factors affect the loudness of a drum?

Is it the size of the drum? The width? The length? Particular body materials? Particular head materials? Given that there are a hundred different kinds of drums in the world with very different ...
themirror's user avatar
  • 769
26 votes
7 answers
118k views

How can I reduce the echo/reverb in a large room if I can't add physical damping?

I was at an event this evening in a restored ballroom - absolutely beautiful, but parquet flooring, high ceilings, solid walls etc all made for terrible acoustics, and in fact I could hardly make out ...
Doktor Mayhem's user avatar
  • 36.9k
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
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why does closing a recorder bell raise the pitch sometimes and lower the pitch other times?

I have been playing recorder for two years now and have recently been using this chart, http://www.dolmetsch.com/efingeringchart.pdf for third octave soprano fingerings. Playing the D or the F# ...
Luke_0's user avatar
  • 7,499
5 votes
3 answers
398 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 ...
Speldosa's user avatar
  • 427
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
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
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

brass: bending notes upwards

It is fairly easy - although it requires a bit of strength - to bend notes downwards on a trumpet. For example playing a F#, a F, or even lower notes with all valves open. It does not sound nice, but ...
Gauthier's user avatar
  • 4,688
11 votes
4 answers
5k views

Do cold/hot drinks have any effect on woodwinds and brass performers?

Hey, I saw this question and I immediately remembered one or two teachers that kept saying that drinking cold/hot drinks before and/or during playing any woodwind or brass instrument was a bad thing, ...
Edgar Gonzalez's 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
8 votes
1 answer
573 views

Why is (stiffness/speed of sound-travel of the wood) important for a bow?

High-end violin bows have been made for centuries out of permanbouc (a now rare and endangered brasilian wood) or equivalent woods and now synthetic material. Permambouc wood is praised for is ...
ogerard's user avatar
  • 8,814
41 votes
3 answers
16k views

Why are violin bows longer than viola bows, than cello bows, than double-bass bows ?

What is the logic behind this ? As the larger instruments have larger gaps between the strings, I would have expected a larger bow to accomodate more easily continuous bowing while changing strings.
ogerard's user avatar
  • 8,814
9 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
Doktor Mayhem's user avatar
  • 36.9k
14 votes
4 answers
241 views

What kind of ear protection offers the best compromise between protection and sound fidelity?

Useful when your drummer is loud. (that china still banging in your head after a session)
user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
20k views

What is meant by "Top-End" and "Bottom-End"?

When guitarists describe the sound of their guitars, a lot of terms are used. What does a guitarist mean when they talk about top and bottom end?
Jasarien's user avatar
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