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

The answer is No Empty egg cartons have lots of problems when it comes to being used as acoustic treatment. They are a fire hazard! - This should be enough right here. They only do anything to ...
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34 votes
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When we press a piano key, why does a high pitch note not run for as long as a low pitch note?

That's true not only for pianos, but for every instrument where a string is plucked, and the reason is basic physics. When you hammer a string with a piano key, or pick it with your finger, or with a ...
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  • 6,251
33 votes
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Piano vs Guitar Strings? Tension vs length?

The best-written summary I could find of this was on Wikipedia. Technical preliminaries (you can skip this if you don't care) All chordophones (musical instruments based on vibrating strings) can be ...
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30 votes
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Why do two identical notes never cancel each other out?

If you play two sine waves of constant amplitude at the same frequency, then the result will be another sine wave. If your two sine waves are in phase, then you have a louder sinewave. if your two ...
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29 votes
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What exactly are complex sounds in terms of audio waves?

What you see and hear in the final waveform is the sum of all the instruments, the sum of all the individual sources. All those sounds can be encoded in a single waveform. In the case of your first ...
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28 votes
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Is there a broader term for instruments, like the gong, whose volume briefly increases after being sounded instead of immediately decaying?

That's weird... apparently there's no English term for this exact phenomenon, but there is one in German: Einschwingvorgang (pronounced eyn-shving-fore-gung). Wikipedia wants to have it translated ...
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27 votes

Does piano soundproofing require floating walls? Getting conflicting answers from professionals

alephzero's answer is pretty spot on, but from reading your question I think you are buying the wrong kind of product. In my read, you asked to help quiet the piano for your neighbor. Which was done....
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  • 1,413
26 votes

Physics behind why a bugle can play several notes, while a whistle only plays one note

On some types of whistle if you blow really hard you can get the second harmonic, sounding one octave higher than the fundamental. A recorder is essentially a whistle with the length of the ...
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26 votes
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Trumpet Peculiar Frequency spectrum

Excellent find! Trumpet, as well as the acoustically similar trombone, are very peculiar instruments when it comes to physics. They are cylindrical tubes closed at one end, so they should have a ...
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22 votes

Should low frequency players anticipate in orchestra?

I don't have an answer for you with measurements in milliseconds, etc., but as a tuba player I can give you my experiences. I'm not consciously thinking of anticipating anything in order to get my ...
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21 votes
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Will a marching band on the go sound out of tune to an observer due to the Doppler Effect?

The pitch difference will be very slight, so some very good ears might notice, but it's likely that many of the instruments will be slightly out of tune to a greater degree than the doppler effect ...
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21 votes

Can music time signatures really be irrational?

He's just showing off. There's a few major reasons why what he describes doesn't matter. First and foremost, sheet music is a guide. It's not actually the music. You are always expected to put ...
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20 votes
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Why do certain rooms/vessels respond to specific frequencies?

Because of dynamics called room modes. Room modes are the collection of resonances that exist in a room when the room is excited by an acoustic source such as a loudspeaker. (...) each frequency ...
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20 votes

Difference between equal temperament and just intonation

Every note has a pitch, determined by the fundamental frequency of the sound wave that produces it. When you have two different notes, you have two different pitches, caused by two different ...
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  • 20.2k
20 votes

Is the ear really phase insensitive?

You don't notice the phase of a particular note that arrives in one ear. But the brain can detect phase differences between your ears. That's the main mehod your brain uses to work out which ...
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  • 1,417
19 votes
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Why do listeners hear the lowest note of a chord most distinctly?

The answer lies in the realm of Psychoacoustics and/or Music Psychology. I studied a little of this in Audio Engineering, and from what I remember it has to do with how our primary auditory cortex in ...
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19 votes
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Can music time signatures really be irrational?

I'll give this another spin: Can music time signatures really be rational? Which I'd answer: no, not really. Rationality is a mathematical concept, depending on an exact, axiomatic notion of ...
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18 votes
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Is 440hz always perceived as the same note no matter the vibrating medium, athmosphere and environment?

The perception of a pitch is due to the frequency of vibration of the hairs in the cochlea (the spiral-shaped organ in the inner ear), which is, in turn, driven by the vibration of the eardrum. ...
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18 votes
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At what point in history did the relationship between pitch and frequency become well-known among musicians?

If you have access to a good academic library, then the following article appears to be on point regarding the Western tradition: S. Dostrovsky, Early Vibration Theory: Physics and Music in the ...
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16 votes
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How does a pipe organist deal with latency or delay?

Your suspicion that this is a learned skill is correct -- and this even applies when performing as a soloist! The organist must learn to disregard the timing information coming to their ears, and ...
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16 votes
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Why does palm muting give a higher output than a normally played power chord?

It's because of the pseudo-compression that using distortion effect gives. The same will be true if you use a clean channel with a compressor, or if your amp has a natural compressing effect, as many ...
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16 votes
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If I change the pitch of a C major scale can I get to any major key?

Yes; if you move each pitch by the right interval, you can move from C major to C♯ major, then D major, etc. But there is one main caveat to this: assuming you move each pitch by the same interval, ...
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16 votes
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Bridge intonation patterns on stringed instruments

I'm actually planning to make a YouTube video about intonation to delve into this phenomenon. The short answer is that is depends upon the cross-sectional area of the tension-bearing part of the ...
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  • 326
16 votes

Why are end-blown flutes shorter than their ideal length?

The vibrating air column in the bore extends past the openings of the tube. Any calculation of the pitch needs to take this into account and add end corrections for both ends of the flute. There's one ...
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15 votes
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What's the purpose of a sound post?

The crucial difference in this regard, between guitars and bowed strings, is in which direction the strings vibrate. A bow causes vibration in the plane you're moving (it moves the string by friction: ...

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