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69 votes
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Why can't drums produce melody?

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 ...
jdjazz's user avatar
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52 votes

Why can't drums produce melody?

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 ...
Tekkerue's user avatar
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32 votes

My guitar has no sound when the gain knob is turned off. Do all amps need need a little gain to be able to output sound?

Gain is the input level control, it decides how hard the input signal hits the preamp. Guitar amps often exploit the effect of hitting it HARD, overdriving it into distortion. Volume controls how ...
Laurence's user avatar
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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 ...
Нет войне's user avatar
27 votes
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Are sharp keys "bright" and flat keys "dark"?

It certainly holds some truth, irrespective of tuning system, in the following sense: modulating to a key with more sharps evokes a “bright” sensation; modulating to more flat evokes a &...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
25 votes
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What is the reason a given note can have different "sounds"

Simple answer - overtones or harmonics. Each sound producing machine (instrument) has the propensity to produce not only the fundamental (first harmonic), but others too. The mix of whichever these ...
Tim's user avatar
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24 votes
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How does Sitar produce sound while it doesn't have any sound holes?

The sound holes on stringed instruments are not there so that the sound can be heard. They are there to tune the resonances of the wooden bodies that amplify the sounds. It is true that there are ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
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23 votes
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Why does violin sound differently after playing on it for some time?

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 ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
22 votes

Why can't drums produce melody?

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 ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 192k
22 votes

Do all periodic or "natural" sounds contain major chords?

No. A trivial counterexample for periodic sounds would be a sine wave, which has only one tone and therefore cannot contain a major chord. Now, many (most?) naturally created periodic sounds will ...
Edward's user avatar
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21 votes

What is the reason a given note can have different "sounds"

There's more to an instrument's waveform than the over-riding 'perceived pitch' frequency. There's lots of other frequencies mixed in there. And apart from the sustain portion of a musical note (...
Laurence's user avatar
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15 votes

How did baroque music sound at the time?

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 ...
Dave's user avatar
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15 votes
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How did baroque music sound at the time?

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 ...
Graham's user avatar
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15 votes
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Is the pitch-producing mechanism for singing and humming the same or entirely different?

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 ...
Tim's user avatar
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15 votes
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Does shape of waveform affect sonic perception?

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 ...
cloudfeet's user avatar
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14 votes
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What is the unit for sound intensity?

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 ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
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14 votes

Why do two identical notes never cancel each other out?

I think the other answers underemphasize the number one factor why this doesn't happen in real life - phase. For this to happen, both waves need to arrive at your ear precisely in phase AND STAY THERE....
Vilx-'s user avatar
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13 votes
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How can I hear what a mathematical function sounds like?

As naught101 says, your particular case here is a sinusoidal wave with a quiet third harmonic. To hear what this sounds like at an audible frequency, go to http://meettechniek.info/additional/additive-...
Нет войне's user avatar
13 votes

Are sharp keys "bright" and flat keys "dark"?

It may have made a subtle difference in the days before ET but since then, F# = Gb, for example, so how can two identical sounding keys portray different emotions, or indeed sound different? I'm ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 192k
13 votes

What word describes the sound of an instrument based on the shape of the waveform of its sound?

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 ...
Нет войне's user avatar
12 votes

Why can't drums produce melody?

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) ...
Dekkadeci's user avatar
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12 votes

Is the pitch-producing mechanism for singing and humming the same or entirely different?

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 ...
Carl Witthoft's user avatar
12 votes

Can you turn a recording upside-down?

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 ...
Your Uncle Bob's user avatar
11 votes

What type of soundproof setup would I need to have band practice without bothering the neighbors?

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 ...
Doktor Mayhem's user avatar
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11 votes

What makes some instruments louder than others?

Musical instruments are transducers, which means they change one kind of energy into another. All transducers have an efficiency, which means during the change of energy, some portion of the input ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
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11 votes

How do multiple sound waves interact physically to create music?

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 ...
Richard's user avatar
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11 votes

Horse hooves sound in the song background

In the old days, someone woud have two halves of a coconut shell, and tap them on a hard surface. As pointed out by Tetsujin, this was back in the day - 1957, so I suspect here, it's produced in that ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 192k
11 votes

Are percussion instruments the only instrument type capable of making an unpitched (indefinite) sound? [Electronic instruments excluded]

No, certainly many instruments that make pitched sounds can also make unpitched. Often this means using "extended techniques," i.e. doing "weird stuff" outside of normal practice, ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
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