1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What is the name of two harmonics combined ?

  1. Jan 6, 2009 #1
    Dear people.

    I am working on music theory and I am making a program to derive musical scales, but I need a name for the interval of combining to harmonic intervals. Etc. if I multiply 4/3 with 5/4 I get 5/3. But what is the correct words for such intervals (except that a few of them actually have names in music theory and the ratio 5/3 is named a major sixth, but I am looking for a name for the whole group of such intervals) ? I have seen that there is something called a multiharmonic in physics, but I haven't been able to find a definition of that word. I don't think that partials or overtones are precise words as the cover a lot more ! Can anyone please tell me the definition of multiharmonic and if that is not the word I am searching for, what is the word for intervals such as 5/3. Do anyone knows about good in depth texts or books about the subject.


  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2009 #2
  4. Jan 9, 2009 #3

    Thanks for you reply. Actually tables such as the one you are referring to are based on the 12 note systems normally used in western music, and are only covering a few of the intervals coming from combining two of the harmonics. Also only the just intonation gives the precise ratios, but are not used in the music scales used (normally) today, as it is not possible (at least no one has done it) to make them fit into a 12 note system. Therefore our music scales are not really harmonic, which many consider a problem ! If you for example combine all the harmonics from the 3. to the 10. you will get 300 combinations or ratios (of which a few of them have equal values or are precise harmonics). My question is what to call these combinations. And since this a forum for physics, I am hoping that someone will explain what physicists mean with the term multiharmonics used in some text covering advanced physics.

    Kind regards

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook