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68

Instruments don't just produce one frequency at a time. When you play a single note on a melodic instruments (like piano, wind instruments, string instruments, etc.), you produce many different frequencies at a single time--a whole spectrum is produced. But this spectrum isn't random. It pretty closely follows the harmonic series, which can be thought of as ...


51

The drums CAN play melodies, but the number of pitches and notes you have available are limited by the number of drums you have (not counting creative applications of "bending" the drum head to produce higher pitches). Terry Bozzio is an example of a drummer who uses a massive drumset so that he can play more complex melodies on the drums. In a video of his ...


45

Wave is an uncompressed or lossless format, whereas MP3 is compressed or lossy. Technically .wav is just a container format and can hold various types of compressed or uncompressed audio, but typically you'll see it containing LPCM uncompressed audio (the same as on audio CDs). With .wav files, you are essentially getting a raw bitstream representation of ...


33

"Worth the money" is very subjective. Let's instead talk about the various factors you have to consider. Fitting A into B Good quality microphones usually have XLR connectors. These have three wires arranged so that any interference picked up in the cable is cancelled out. Many USB audio interfaces have XLR sockets (but check that the one you choose does)....


30

When two soundwaves play at the same time, nothing very complicated happens - they just get added together: In this picture, the first track is a snare sound; the second is a piano sound; and the third is a picture of the mixed sound. All that has happened is that the level of the snare wave at every point has been added to the level of the piano wave at ...


26

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 example (stereo sound) you have two channels (two waveforms, two signals) instead of one. In other words, yes, it is a single sound (or two sounds in the case ...


24

The difference is in the number of channels (signals) used. Mono uses one, stereo uses more than one. In monaural sound one single channel is used. It can be reproduced through several speakers, but all speakers are still reproducing the same copy of the signal. In stereophonic sound more channels are used (typically two). You can use two different ...


23

This is a heavily-researched, and (sadly) highly inflammatory topic. There are some people who swear it takes 50 years for the varnish to reach a stable structure & stability; there are others who say it's due to the wood itself aging and "settling" in at the cellular level. I'm not aware of anyone who's had the time and the cash to put a couple ...


22

No-one's mentioned pans - aka steel drums They certainly are used to play melodies. The main problem is that melodies usually contain long and short duration notes, and drums generally can only produce short, so rolls have to be performed to 'sustain' longer notes. For those who haven't had the pleasure, 40 gallon steel oil drums are cut in half, or less, ...


21

Yes. At your ear there can be only one momentary air pressure. The values of this through time can be represented as a very complex waveform - which our brains can be very good at analysing as several distinct instruments. (Our brains can also be easily fooled!)


17

This is an extremely broad topic, so I'm going to try to distill it down to just a handful of points: There are (basically) two ways of generating sounds electronically: sampling and synthesis. Confusingly, we tend to call all of this sound generation "synthesis", as you are generally working with a "synthesizer". You will want to read Wikipedia - ...


17

I know exactly what you mean and I've thought about it quite hard myself. Not everyone can do this, but as you attune to music more and get used to what a drum kit or guitar playing in a room sounds like, it's easier to pick out the characteristics of live vs. recorded. I think it's a mixture of things: The mix- sometimes live music isn't mixed as well as ...


15

In many respects technological progress in music has been less about the very best sounding better than about it becoming more and more feasible to produce "good" sounds at lower and lower cost. In terms of equipment, keep in mind that Stradivarius violins (et al.) were constructed at about that time, so it was possible for people to construct instruments ...


15

There are numerous groups such as The Academy of Ancient Music who perform baroque music using instruments constructed in the same way as baroque instruments (or in a few cases with genuine baroque instruments!). If you want to find out how it would have sounded, buy their music! As far as the quality of musicians goes, there are many factors against your ...


15

You can try this for yourself. Sing a note, to any vowel sound (try them all) and whilst doing so, close your lips. Now you're humming that same note. Feel any difference? Probably not, because the note itself is made further back. Somewhat like putting a mute on a trumpet bell, or covering a loudspeaker with something. All you're doing is muting the sound ...


15

Yes, but not directly - instead, we perceive the different amounts of energy in different harmonics. :) To illustrate the differences, here are some graphed waveforms, and here's a YouTube video which demonstrates some basic waveforms. A square wave only has odd harmonics (the base frequency, 3x the base frequency, 5x, 7x, etc.) and that gives it a ...


14

Yes. All tenor and bass trombones are pitched the same. The difference between student instruments and professional ones is actually more in the bore size than whether or not the instrument has a trigger (which is typically called an "F attachment"). The F attachment's primary use is to extend the low range of the instrument, and enable technical facility ...


14

First of all, when using or abbreviating a unit named after a person (in this case, Alexander Graham Bell), it is customary to capitalize the abbreviation, so the most respectful way to write the common measurement of the ratio between to values is dB. Capitalization is not used when the unit is spelled out with a scale prefix ("deci-", in this case), but ...


14

In contrast to the question, the timpani are a drum set that can play melodies (although they are almost always given accompaniment parts only). Indeed, they are tuned to pitches (one pitch per drum) before a piece starts.


13

As others have mentioned, those strings do not have dampers (the felt things that mute a note when you release the key). The reasoning is several-fold. First, the higher notes have much less sustain than lower notes. The dampers wouldn't really have much effect since those notes die out so quickly. Second, undamped strings are free to vibrate ...


13

You can't. Even if you get the sound guy to feed the FOH sound through the stage monitors (or your IEM) it won't give an accurate representation of the FOH sound, there are simply too many variables. If you want to check FOH sound you need to walk off the stage during sound check to hear it. A long lead or a wireless pack will allow this. Be aware the ...


13

The executive summary of Charles' very detailed answer is: Use WAV for recording and editing. Use your audio editor's native file format with references to the WAV files to keep disk space under control use MP3 for distribution. 44.1 and 160kbps is lots, unless your audience has a home stereo that is worth more than their car and ears to match.


12

I have absolute pitch and associate colors with specific keys. I have had this ability for as long as I can remember and only discovered in adolescence that others did not have it; the two are very much intertwined in terms of how I think about music. FWIW, absolute pitch runs in my family on both sides, with my mother possessing it and my paternal ...


12

Most musicians constantly fuss over how they sound. It is understandable, given the way we communicate using sound; we want our sound to be the best sound we can create. So, you are not alone here. It is important for you to learn to separate the sound from your self-worth as a human being. You ask your friends to be specific, but you need to be specific: ...


12

As Tim suggested, here is some additional information. His answer, by the way, is (sorry in advance) pitch-perfect. While the fundamental pitch depends only on the vocal cords, the overtones and whatnot depend on the complete shape of the acoustic cavity, the vocal cord waveform (which tends to be amplitude-dependent), and so on. To clarify a little- the ...


12

It seems to me that the definition of timbre that uses "overtones" to describe qualitative differences between sounds of the same frequency and amplitude does not take into account the shape of the waveform. The shape of the waveform is different because of the differences in the levels of the overtones. Or, to put it another way - the shape of the ...


12

Theoretically, this could be done by adapting the techniques used in a vocoder. A vocoder works by measuring the amplitude of different frequency bands in a modulator signal (e.g. vocals), and then using that information to filter a carrier signal (e.g. a synthesizer sound), giving it a similar frequency spectrum as the modulator signal. If you ...


11

While sound proofing can be very effective, sound can be very easily transmitted through air and solid like walls or floors. So in a condo you may be able to sound proof your walls to limit the sound to neighbours, but as anyone who has ever lived above a neighbour knows, your floor will transmit a lot of sound. A detached house will be much better, as ...


11

You're asking about perception, so even though you're asking about "what happens on a physical level," it seems your question is ultimately about what's happening in our minds, not what's happening physically. To that end, I'll point you to Bregman's Auditory Scene Analysis (see also the Wikipedia page), the leading theory on how auditory systems segregate ...


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