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String Frequencies By Temperature.

  1. Feb 15, 2008 #1
    I'm working on some physics problems involving sound frequencies with string and wind instruments, and the current problem has the temperature drop from 20deg Celsius, to -12.7deg Celsius. Too my knowledge this problem disregards any wood expanding/contracting done by the instrument by the environment, but only the strings themselves and what frequency they produce by the change in tune. I haven’t been able to find any information on how temperature affects string frequencies... only on how they affect wind instrument frequencies.

    Could anybody shed some light onto this topic?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 15, 2008 #2


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    You would need to find a table of the temperature coefficient of expansion for catgut,
    and then a table for Young's modulus for catgut. Then a bit of a calculation would give the result. It is certainly much less of an effect for strings than air.
    Actually it wouldn't affect a competent violinist at all. Don't you tune a violin by ear while adjusting the tension, or be beats with a tuning fork if you have a bad ear?
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