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What are overtones?

What is an overtone? When you pluck a guitar string, there are a variety of ways it could vibrate1: Each vibration will produce a different pitch, because they have different frequencies. For ...
jdjazz's user avatar
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Are there any instruments that don't produce overtones?

A tuning fork comes close, though amplifying it by placing it on some resonating object - a wooden table, piano case, or try your head :-) - will add some harmonics. The sound-producing element of a ...
Laurence's user avatar
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23 votes

Are there any instruments that don't produce overtones?

I've heard it claimed that human whistling comes very close to being a perfect sine wave: The video here seems to show only one peak on the spectrograph, supporting a nearly perfectly sinusoidal ...
user45266's user avatar
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22 votes
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Cello pressed at half length higher than harmonic?

This happens on all stringed instruments. There are two reasons for that. As you already noticed yourself, pressing down the string does require bending it a little, i.e. stretching, which increases ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
21 votes
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How do harmonic tones get "out of tune" on a brass instrument?

While the total length of a brass instrument is basically fixed, the ratio of conical to cylindrical piping is not set in stone for a trombone. It is true that the 6th partial is generally quite sharp,...
mkingsbu's user avatar
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How can you distinguish instruments by their timbre characteristics?

A simple list of what overtones are present wouldn't tell you much. What you really want is the relative levels/intensity of each overtone. A list of the overtones with relative intensities for an ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
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Confusion about overtones and a slow-motion video of a plucked string

At a basic level, the waveshape in the image you posted is a graph of sound pressure over time, while the actual string in the video is a graph of string displacement over its length. The two are ...
Edward's user avatar
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15 votes

Are bells the only instrument whose second harmonic forms a minor interval with its fundamental?

In short the question boils down to: are there any other instruments able to produce a spectrum which does not follow the harmonic series, neglecting inharmonicity. Well, any instrument whose ...
Tom's user avatar
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15 votes

Confusion about overtones and a slow-motion video of a plucked string

The Fourier transform allows us to decompose the shape of the string into a collection of sinusoids which correspond to the fundamental frequency and the (mostly) audible harmonics that give the note ...
cuppajoeman's user avatar
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In a musical note (A for an example) are all the other frequencies harmonic?

are there any inharmonic frequencies in A? Simplistically speaking, 'A' tells us the fundamental pitch of the note (or at least it would if we knew which A - e.g. A4 is often, though not always, ...
Нет войне's user avatar
14 votes

Are there any instruments that don't produce overtones?

As far as I know every instrument produces overtones. Some might think that unpitched percussion don't have overtone, but they produce them as well. However, there are some electronic instruments, ...
Andy's user avatar
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12 votes

What is heard when a tuning fork is struck?

Although tuning forks produce very pure tones compared to other instruments, they do not produce actual pure tones. One reason that you can hear the overtones easily, despite how quiet they are, ...
Edward's user avatar
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11 votes

Can overtones be heard if the fundamental is below hearing range?

If the infrasound has overtones in the audible range, then yes you can hear them. The overtones could be completely separate waves independent from the fundamental - the ear can't tell, even though it ...
piiperi Reinstate Monica's user avatar
11 votes

What is the point of notes lower than human hearing

We hear with our ears, but other body parts are susceptible to vibrations. The percussionist/drummer Evelyn Glennie is profoundly deaf, and apparently uses her bare feet to detect vibrations - which ...
Tim's user avatar
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Are bells the only instrument whose second harmonic forms a minor interval with its fundamental?

There are "minor third bells" (e.g., church bells) and "major third bells", thus instruments can be tuned to have these different properties. The correct terminology in the context ...
Geremia's user avatar
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10 votes

How do tonewheel organs sound coherent?

Firstly, I'm not able to comment but you must have made a mistake in writing out all the notes you think you would be getting. Taking a C minor triad C Eb G, you will have: The corresponding notes an ...
Judy N.'s user avatar
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9 votes

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

Depends what's playing it. The harmonic series - the 2,3,4 etc. frequency ratios - are the overtones of a theoretical 'perfect' instrument. That's a simple string, of negligible mass, vibrating as a ...
Laurence's user avatar
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9 votes

How do harmonic tones get "out of tune" on a brass instrument?

This is a massive topic that I'm not really qualified to talk about, but "length of tubing" is a highly idealized model. In actuality, every bend in the tube and every change in bore diameter will ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
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9 votes
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How does an electric guitar waveform differ from a pure tone?

I know that instruments exhibit an overtone series Yes - but even talking about 'the overtone series' of an instrument is a big simplification. In reality, each of the overtones might be considered ...
Нет войне's user avatar
9 votes

How does an electric guitar waveform differ from a pure tone?

I'd like to start with a note that if I knew a good answer to this question, I would be spending my time earning money on selling guitar emulation virtual instruments, rather than sharing the ...
user1079505's user avatar
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9 votes

Is 4th interval found at 3rd overtone?

There is no note which is a perfect 4th from the fundamental, or from harmonics 2, 4, 8, etc. However the 4th harmonic (C) is a perfect 4th above the 3rd harmonic (G). Apparently Nicholas Carter ...
Peter's user avatar
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8 votes

What are overtones?

Overtones are harmonics, or upper partials; extra notes which sound when a fundamental note is played. The words are almost synonymous, but not exactly. When a string is played, or a note blown, the ...
Tim's user avatar
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8 votes

Are there any instruments that don't produce overtones?

It is worth looking at the reason WHY there are so few instruments that produce sine waves. It is clearly fairly difficult, from the point of view of physics, to make a sine wave without electronics, ...
David Robinson's user avatar
8 votes

Can overtones be heard if the fundamental is below hearing range?

Yes, this is possible, but this accounts for a minority of musical sounds that we use. One example in practice is the electric bass guitar, when tuned very low. Here's an extreme example of a bass ...
Edward's user avatar
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8 votes

Confusion about overtones and a slow-motion video of a plucked string

The waves that we can see traveling along a resonating string are not the same as the waveform we hear when that same string is amplified. One major thing you’re missing is that the waveform pictured ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar

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