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Homework Help: Physics in music

  1. Nov 3, 2004 #1

    Im doin a assignment on physics in music i have looked at the net and wasnt able to find any relevant information,

    can any1 help
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2004 #2


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    Homework Helper

    Try this site

    http://www.dfbills.com/portfolio/phy/physicsomusic.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  4. Nov 3, 2004 #3
    There's a huge highschool-level section in physics relating to music, specifically the wave nature of sound. The general category is simple harmonic motion. You need to have a good understanding of the basics of this domain before you think about music applications. When you do, though, search for terms like "overtone", "beat frequency", and "harmonics". Try your textbook maybe.
  5. Nov 4, 2004 #4
    Physics in Music - tuning

    Up til 18th century, tuning was done with fractions
    ( perfect-fifth was one-half, etc.), but as music got more complicated, a new tuning system was required. Considering that the frequency doubles when an octave is played above a bass note, the system was changed to 12 equal half-notes. You have to find a number which, when multiplied by itself 12 times, will double.
    The answer is the twelfth root of 2.
    When one compares the two systems, the difference
    ( using logarithm) of the two answers at the fifth is miniscule, but gets larger as one continues through the circle of fifths.

    Hope this helps,
  6. Nov 4, 2004 #5


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    I did a physics project back in 6th form, looking at how applying effects ('distortion') to an electric guitar sound affected the formation of harmonics. Hours of fun with a huge amp, oscilloscope and the 60s throwback lab tech...

    Definitely have a think about the difference between standing waves in stringed and wind instruments.
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