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Sounds of Music - Metallophone

  1. Jan 12, 2008 #1

    I'm building a metallophone for Science Olympiad this year, and I encountered a problem.

    Since the length of the pipe determines the frequency/pitch, I sawed the pipes to different lengths for different notes. The problem I was having, however, was that when the temperature changes, the pitch of the pipes changes as well. It isn't extremely significant, like an entire note off, but it's noticeable to a person trained to recognize pitch well. Is there a way I could minimize the effects of temperature?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 12, 2008 #2


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    One thing to do is to choose a material with the smallest possible coefficient of linear expansion e.g. steel is better than brass or Al.
  4. Jan 12, 2008 #3


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    Although looking at the numbers I'm not sure that this is very significant at all.
    Metal expands much less than other materials used in musical resonators (nylon, air etc).
  5. Jan 12, 2008 #4


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    the trouble is that the speed of sound in air changes with temperature. You may want to play with some sort of slider to change your tube length. Or just note that the pitch is temperature dependent.
  6. Jan 13, 2008 #5


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    Yes but surely the speed that counts (for pitch) is the speed in the resonator (metal bar), and the change in this is neglible?
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