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The Physics of Sound: Timbre

If you play the same note on a piano, organ, saxophone, guitar, or cello, you will perceive each instrument as playing the same pitch, but the personality of the sound will be vastly different on each instrument. Instruments sound different because the relative loudness of their harmonics are different. The relative loudness of the overtones depends

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The Physics of Sound: Loudness

What makes one sound louder than another? The bigger the vibration (the more distance the string travels back and forth), the louder the sound. The smaller the vibration, the softer the sound. This vibration…. will sound louder than this vibration… because the first vibration moves more air back and forth than the second vibration. The more

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The Physics of Sound: Pitch

The number of times the string naturally vibrates back and forth in a given unit of time is called the fundamental frequency of the string. This vibration is perceived by our ears/brains as the pitch of the note. The more often the string vibrates back & forth, the higher the pitch; the less often the string

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The Physics of Sound: What is Sound?

Sound is a vibration that we can hear. Sources of musical sounds include: vibrating strings (guitar, violin) vibrating columns of air (clarinet, pipe organ) vibrating diaphragms (drums, timpani) virtual electronic vibrations played through a loudspeaker (electric piano, synthesizer) Since an acoustic piano makes sound by vibrating strings, let’s use a vibrating string in our discussion on

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