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Why are musical triangles triangular?

  1. Sep 17, 2005 #1
    Is there any physics reason why musical triangles are triangular, and not circles with gaps (or anything else)? Or is it just tradition.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 17, 2005 #2
    It's easier to bend a triangle out of a strait rod.

    The sound would probably be a bit different but not different enough
    to want to go to the trouble of bending a circle.
  4. Sep 17, 2005 #3


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    Gold Member

    I think Antiphon is right about the actual reason why it's a triangle, out of convenience, but also it's a shorter distance between the three sides of a triangle than a square or a circle, using the same amount of material, so you can strike it faster.

    but the sound would be a different tone for a circle than it would a triangle. I think the sharp angles in triangles effectively make it three different lengths of metal as far as fundamental harmonics is concerned (depending on the material and how it creased).

    A circular triangle would be like a longer string, effectively emitting one deep tone instead of three higher tones.
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