Questions tagged [overtones]

For questions related to frequencies greater than the fundamental frequency of a given sound. Questions may also necessitate the acoustics and/or harmonics tags.

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24
votes
6answers
10k views

What are overtones?

Can someone please explain what overtones are and why they are important? I read a lot on the web about them but didn't understand. Also how can they be used when writing for orchestration?
9
votes
3answers
690 views

Harmonic implications of an instrument's timbre

Is there a study of harmonic implications of an instrument's timbre in western music theory? For example: If i use an instrument with a "rich" timbre, with lots of overtones, then isn't the sound ...
2
votes
0answers
49 views

Where did the diatonic scales come from? [duplicate]

I was wondering how the diatonic scales came about? Like the major scale for instance, what is the reasoning of chosig just those notes? I've heard that the pentatonik scale comes from the overtone ...
18
votes
5answers
36k 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
2k 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 ...
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 ...
1
vote
3answers
944 views

Why don't we use the early overtones in order from a Harmonic series to create chords/scales?

In the harmonic series on the piano, If I play the note C(256) I get the next harmonics: I was wondering why we use the notes much later in the series then the first ones? Why do we rearrange them ...
5
votes
4answers
838 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
388 views

Prevailing theories about discovery of harmonic intervals

Are there any prevailing theories for how Paleolithic man discovered and shared knowledge about harmonic intervals? EDIT: I'm not referring to the mathematical characterization of the overtone ...