Questions tagged [harmonics]

Queries that relate to overtones or harmonics as used in a musical context.

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55
votes
20answers
36k views

Why Is Just Intonation Impractical?

I've read about the debate of "just intonation" vs 12-tone equal temperament. And nowhere it was clearly stated why just intonation is impractical. Here are my assumptions. Please let me know if I am ...
34
votes
10answers
21k views

WHY do harmonics happen?

The answers to the question 'How do harmonics work?' were most interesting. OK, that's the HOW it happens. But WHY does it happen ? What is the physics here ? Why doesn't a guitar string vibrate ...
33
votes
3answers
35k views

How do harmonics work?

The guitar has harmonic notes at some places. I can play it, but I don't understand the logical reason why/how this is can played. Can you tell me how exactly this works? What other musical ...
26
votes
8answers
5k views

Why do harmonics played on guitar sound lower as you move to higher frets while fretted notes sound higher?

By lightly touching a guitar string at specific nodes (most commonly at the 12, 7th and 5th fret) and releasing your finger immediately upon plucking the string - a clear ringing tone is produced. ...
24
votes
10answers
7k views

How to do “metal” harmonics (pinch etc)

I've always struggled with this, tried watching Youtube tutorials, but can't get it to work. Should you hold the pick in any particular way? I've always held my picks with three fingers, for ...
19
votes
9answers
2k views

Is it possible to create the illusion of a sub-harmonic?

The way I understand it, a normal plucked tone consists of a great many overtones in addition to the base tone. A pinched harmonic, however, shifts the base tone higher into the overtone series by ...
18
votes
5answers
32k views

What's the difference between overtones and harmonics?

What are overtones and what are harmonics? How do they relate? I know that the first harmonic is the tone A at 440 HZ and the second harmonic is at 880HZ an octave higher, it is also the first ...
15
votes
3answers
24k views

What are the actual notes of each natural harmonic?

So I know that if you play a natural harmonic at the 12th fret, this is just the same note as fretting the 12th is. Also, when I play my electric guitar and listen to lots of metal music in particular,...
14
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Can the harmonic series explain the origin of the major scale?

This Wikipedia article is the source for two overtone series charts... The numbers above the harmonic indicate the number of cents' difference from equal temperament (rounded to the nearest cent). ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

Why don't tuning forks produce overtones?

I want to know how a tuning fork can produce a pure tone. I do not understand the process because I know, although not sure, the presence of air inside an instrument introduces the harmonics of the ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How does the harmonic series affect consonance?

NOTE: for the purpose of this question, assume we are talking about 12-TET and assume that references to overtones in the harmonic series are being referred to in relationship to the 12-TET note that ...
11
votes
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
714 views

Playing saxophone without using the octave key

A few years back, I have noticed by accident (I forgot to press the octave key while practising one of the musical pieces) that I can play all the notes on the tenor saxophone that normally require ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Trumpet improv harmonics?

So I have no background in music theory, only basic knowledge from junior high band, but I've recently started playing trumpet with some friends and I've noticed that when I try to improvise, if I ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Playing complex chords on a 6-string guitar

Forgive my ignorance, I lately got a little bit into music theory and I realize that on a 6 string guitar there are a good bunch of chords that can't be played correctly/completely. Now, if you ...
10
votes
4answers
747 views

Where do the natural harmonics fall on the bass guitar?

Do harmonics work the same on bass guitar as is the case with a regular guitar (Natural harmonics at the 7th and 12th frets) or is it different on the bass?
10
votes
5answers
4k views

Playing Tricky Harmonics

A piece I'm working on learning requires some of the more difficult harmonics (namely, fourth- and third-fret harmonics). Are there any tricks for playing these tricky harmonics? For example, I know ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How can you distinguish instruments by their timbre characteristics?

What I am trying to achieve is to distinguish instruments by their timbre. What I have read so far made me think that different instruments have different number of overtones. Is it possible to ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the Major-Minor Scale unused?

I tried to make the "best" 7-tone scale in just intonation. Specifically: The tones must be alongside the equal temperament. (7-TET here) The tones must have the least maximum harmonic distance. ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Which has more overtones: vowels or consonants?

When comparing frequency patterns(e.g. using an FFTSCOPE) for spoken vowel sounds and that of consonants, some of us found vowel sounds to have more overtones(i.e., a larger number of peaks in the ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Guitar harmonics notation in tabluature

I would like to get understood about the guitar harmonics notation. I was told decimal numbers in a tablature mean natural harmonics. Is that right? I would like to understand them. For example, what ...
8
votes
2answers
866 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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
346 views

How do I keep my E string from “squeaking”?

Start out by saying that I play the violin. It's a known phenomenon (at least to me :) ) that sometimes, when you are playing on the A and D strings and suddenly switch to an open E, the E string "...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

In a musical note (A for an example) are all the other frequencies harmonic?

In a musical note (A for an example) are all the other frequencies harmonic (integer multiples)? Is there any inharmonic frequencies in A? Edit: A4 on the piano for example. Im very grateful for ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Do all periodic sound waves have harmonics?

I 've read that all periodic sound waves have a fundamental frequency and I was wondering if all periodic sound waves also have harmonics (integer multiples of a fundamental frequency). If that ...
7
votes
2answers
580 views

What's the difference between artificial and natural harmonics?

I have heard a lot about natural harmonics, what are they, what's the difference to artificial ones?
7
votes
0answers
423 views

How to get the harmonics of ZZTop? [duplicate]

I'm a right-handed newbie, so bear with me. When Gibbons plays in his groove, harmonics seem to be immediate as he picks. Many times I don't hear the note itself and the harmonics is the primary ...
6
votes
1answer
869 views

Spectrum analyzer on electric guitar

I turned on a spectrum analyzer and played the A string, tuned to 440hz, and harmonics (I guess) seem to be way louder then the actual note played. Is this normal? I was hoping to be able to see in ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I figure out the fundamental frequency of a sound from its frequency spectrum?

I really want to know the fundamental frequency (hertz) of every sound I play in my DAW. All I have is an oscilloscope. I can see the waveform of a sound, I can see all the frequencies the sound is at ...
6
votes
2answers
133 views

Harmonic stop on cello without fingers

I'm writing a solo cello piece, and I'd like one of the strings to stopped at the first harmonic (specifically, the G string) for the duration of the piece; The trick is, I need this to be done ...
5
votes
5answers
7k views

Where is a natural harmonic for the note C on guitar?

Today I found I really wanted a C harmonic to end a tune nicely. So we have E, B, G, D, A notes at 12th/5th fret. Then we get G#, C#, F#, B, D# at 4th/10th fret (I just remember them as the major ...
5
votes
3answers
178 views

How do ratios work within the harmonic series?

Good day stack family, So in the harmonic series, we have a fundamental (pitch/note) and a succession of harmonics that stem from the fundamental which also hold other pitches within themselves. ...
5
votes
3answers
529 views

Harmonics within Harmony question

Why do chords usually "sound better" to the human ear when using larger intervals between low notes and, smaller intervals between high notes? Is it how the ear and brain register the harmonics?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What does a wave with all even harmonics sound like?

So most synthesizers provide us with four standard wave forms: A sine wave which has a single fundamental A sawtooth wave which has a fundamental and a range of odd and even harmonics A square wave ...
5
votes
4answers
741 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
542 views

What harmonic spectrum is produced by oscillator sync?

I can find a ton of information on the harmonic structure produced by FM synthesis, but what about oscillator sync? how is the resultant sound related to the waveform of the audible (slave) oscillator ...
5
votes
4answers
220 views

Does our hearing generate neural signals for harmonics?

First off, the (unrolled) length of our cochlea maps out frequencies such that high frequency sounds cause excitation (neural signals) from the front part of the cochlea, and low frequencies result in ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How often does each interval appear in the harmonic series (relative to the fundamental)?

For practical purposes, lets assume a limited harmonic series. How many harmonics are a fifth? How many a minor third? And so on. What intervals are commonly found in the harmonic series? What ...
4
votes
3answers
774 views

What determines the relative volumes of the harmonics when plucking a guitar string?

When you pluck a single guitar string, several different frequencies/tones are produced at once. leftaroundbout's answer here does a great job of explaining why these higher harmonics are produced on ...
4
votes
2answers
515 views

Which enharmonic to use when writing down a sequence of chords

I've got a sequence of chords, denoted using solmization here: S: re di do ti A: ti TA la sol B: fa mi ri re I'd like to write down these chords in B flat major. I'm concerned with the ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What causes us to hear harmonics?

When playing any note on any instrument, it is said that we also hear this note's harmonic series. What causes us to hear this? Does our ear "invent" those sounds, or are they actually produced by ...
4
votes
2answers
356 views

What do the ratios of the partials in inharmonic spectra deviate from?

There is a paragraph where author talks about harmonic and inharmonic spectra, and he points out that the harmonic spectra have partials that deviate from the precise ratios (for example the term "...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do low chords sound muddier than high chords?

In most styles of music low notes seemed to be spaced more sparsely in pitch than high ones ie. a piano piece might have octaves in the left hand and dense melody in the right hand. This spacing is ...
4
votes
1answer
573 views

Violin - Scratch Notes as Technique

A friend told me about an "advanced" violin technique involving pressing down with the bow very hard (but not too hard) on a note, producing a kind of scratch note; When done right, however, this ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Pitch perception: What allows us to uniquely identify a musical note?

If I start on a musical note on the piano and play out the folllowing harmonics/overtones I can find all the notes in the chromatic scale via the harmonic series eventually. Does that mean that every ...
3
votes
5answers
383 views

Why does flute fingering have to be so complicated?

So, I have progressed on my flute. I'm now getting the notes that I am supposed to be getting. Here is what I noticed during my last flute practice as far as fingerings: All open: C# 1 key down(...
3
votes
1answer
623 views

How should I interpret decimals in guitar tabs?

I found this in the Black Clouds & Silver Linings - Dream Theater Guitar Tab Book. The notation implies a harmonic on the second and third strings, but what do 2.7 and 3.2 mean?
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Are there any VSTs for removing harmonic content from audio? [closed]

Are there are any VSTs that automatically remove the main harmonic content from an audio source? For example: if I have a simple sine wave this VST would return absolutely nothing, silence. If the ...