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Homework Help: Frequency and wavelength on different instruments and loudness

  1. Mar 21, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    How does the frequency and wavelength alter between the same note played on an oboe and violin.
    And also what physical difference in the waves allows them to be played loudly or softly.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    For the oboe and violin part, would the frequency stay the same because they are at the same pitch but the wavelength be shorter.

    And then is it the amplitude that is larger when it is louder??

    Any help at all is greatly appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2009 #2
  4. Nov 23, 2010 #3
    Frequency and wavelength are easy to understand if you are thinking of pure monotone sine waves. Musical instruments are generating several overtones and the brain is averaging out what you hear and then you perceive the tone quality which is a violin or a flute sound. Perceive is a handy word because it adresses the subjective reaction to a mixture of vibrations. Another subjective word is Pitch.That is what you think is the frequency of a note.It is not always the same thing as Frequency which is the number of oscillations per second.(No cheating / strict rules type of word ). Look up the effect of Helium gas on the human voice. Many lower frequencies are carried by air but are much weaker in Helium. We hear the sound at a higher Pitch ( subjectively) but the frequency in Helium compared to the frequency in Air is not changed. Pitch is not the same thing as Frequency. The differences in violin and flute sound ( subjective reaction ) are constructed by the brain as it processes all those complex overtones. If a tree has no ears or brain does that mean the world ( for an Oak Tree )is silent?
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