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Why Do the Same Records Sound Different in Instruments?

Why do equipment appear different despite participating in t/he same records?

When we listen to music, we are exposed to various different instruments. Choice of instrumentation is one of the primary factors that donate to the overall sense of a song. Even though major and modest chords and scales can be played out across most musical instruments, the device that is chosen to play the notice plays a big part in what the musician wishes to express. For instance, a double bass participating in an E may come across as serious, but a flute participating in the same word will come across as cheerful. I aim to check out why such is the case.

Across all devices, notes are produced by creating standing wave, which will be discussed below. It is these position waves that cause the air surrounding the thing to vibrate, creating a sound wave to spread out. The main factor that triggers different sounds in an tool is the harmonic frequencies and overtones that an device outputs on notes, with other factors such as material affecting this factor.

A vibrating string does not produce a solitary frequency, but a mixture of important frequencies and overtones. Say that that an A note is being played on the violin string. If just the fundamental harmonic is listened to, it would sound dull. It would also sound comparable to other instruments playing the same notice in the same pitch, provided only the fundamental frequency is being listened to. However, when the string is bowed, multiple harmonic frequencies are produced at exactly the same time. You cannot necessarily listen to each harmonic take note being played out, as each one of these harmonics blend in to produce the overall audio you are hearing. This image shows the harmonic frequencies, also called the harmonic size, that are involved when an An email is played on a violin. These are found by preventing the vibrating string at certain intervals. Pythagoras seen this when he stopped a vibrating string halfway along its period, which helped bring the pitch to a octave higher. He have this every 50 % interval of the previous half interval, and discovered that the pitch regularly became an octave higher. He also discovered that when the string was halted one third way through, an octave and a fifth was produced, which also produced increasing pitches in octave intervals. To examine the method relating the wavelengths, we need to understand how waves are created on a string.

A standing influx is produced when a driver exchanges energy to the medium. Energy is transferred down the string, so when it is caught between two items, reflects of 1 end and superimposes with waves to arrive the opposite course. However, position waves6 do not occur at any rate of recurrence. Only at specific frequencies do ranking waves happen. When transferring energy to the medium at the right occurrence, the fundamental consistency is produced. In the case of a violin, the bow that bows the string is the driver, and the string is the medium. Let L be the distance of the string, and О» be the distance of the wave. Let F be the frequency, and velocity of the string be V. As speed is constant, and v = F О», F is inversely proportional to О». At the fundamental frequency5, О»0 = (2/1)L and F0 = (v/ О»0), as depicted in this image

http://www. chemistry. wustl. edu/~coursedev/Online%20tutorials/Waves. htm

As the string is quit at certain intervals, as Pythagoras do, nodes and antinodes are produced. This is a result of constructive and dangerous interference occurring, nodes being tips of displacement where damaging interference occurs, scheduled to a П stage difference, and antinodes being where constructive interference occurs, credited to a 2П phase difference, as shown in this image.

http://www. chemistry. wustl. edu/~coursedev/Online%20tutorials/Waves. htm

This triggers О»1 = (2/2) L, F1 = (v/ О»1)

Considering the actual fact that the first harmonic triggers a relationship of О»0 =2L, we can easily see from this image that the wavelength has halved. If the string is halted a 3rd of the distance through, this image occurs.

This produces О»2 = (2/3)L, F2 = (v/ О»2). The pattern is consistent for the fourth, fifth, sixth and so forth harmonic. From here a formulation can be produced relating the wavelength of the harmonic to the distance of the string. For the first harmonic, О»0 = (2/1)L and F0 = (v/ О»0). In the next, the denominator of coefficient of L raises by one, whilst F ranges based on the wave being produced, in the partnership of Fn ќ (1/ О»n), and the same thing occurs for the third harmonic. So, for the nth harmonic, n being truly a natural amount, this solution shows the particular wavelength will be; О»n =(2/n)L.

As discussed, previously, an email produced on a musical instrument creates various harmonics. Therefore, by firmly taking the total of the amplitudes of every harmonic, we will get the condition of the influx produced when a note is performed. That is depicted below.


A fundamental take note of of, say, 100 Hz


A second harmonic of, say, 200 Hz


Adding both waves alongside one another produces the resultant habits above. Just out of this very simple example above, we can already visually see how mixtures of harmonics and overtones create interesting waves. Out of this we can see that different equipment harmonic scales will need to have different properties. The various harmonics on each instrument do definitely not have the same power. For instance, a clarinet is strong in the peculiar numbered harmonics, but weaker in the even numbered harmonics, whilst a flute is more powerful the other way round. 1

As a real life example, this graph shows all the frequencies that are produced whenever a violinist bows a D take note, at 294 Hz.

http://www. nagyvaryviolins. com/tonequality. html

From close inspection we can see that the first harmonic occurs at around 300Hz. The next harmonic occurs around 600Hz, and another harmonic at around 900Hz. This fits in with the relationship of Fn ќ (1/ О»n). In each harmonic step, the wavelength decreases, but the rate of recurrence increases which is the truth above. From the first to second harmonic the wavelength goes from 2L to L, which really is a decrease of range factor Ѕ. The rate of recurrence has increase with a scale factor of 2, which matches the relationship.

This graph shows the frequencies produced when a vocalist produces the same take note of, at the same frequency.

http://www. nagyvaryviolins. com/tonequality. html

You can easily see by comparison that there are similarities in the condition of every graph, but with refined differences. However the harmonics take place in the same style as above, their peaks are just a bit different, and at frequencies beyond 5000 Hz the frequencies outputted by the vocalist have a lower dB than the violin. Therefore we can conclude that the harmonic scales, as shown on the first webpage, must vary for every single instrument. The various harmonics1 on each tool do definitely not have the same strength. For example, a clarinet is strong in the strange numbered harmonics, but weaker in the even numbered harmonics, whilst a flute is more robust the other way around.

However, even the same equipment have certain characteristics that identify them from other tools in the same category. For instance, a Gibson Les Paul, a type of acoustic guitar, produces a much heavier build when compared to a Fender Stratocaster, and you can even notify the difference between an inexpensive Les Paul and a custom shop Les Paul if you listen closely closely. This is down to the materials used to make the tool, and the proportions chosen. That is explained below, using the exemplory case of a violin.

The abdominal and back plates of your violins4 body are designed to easily resonate. To recognize these frequencies, the Creators of this site mechanically drove isolated violin bellies. The make applied is the driving a vehicle force, also to see the rate of recurrence response an accelerometer was used. The acceleration was then supervised, enabling those to plot the ratio of pressure to acceleration against frequency. Chlandi patterns7 were then used to identify which frequencies the plates resonated for the most part easily. Chlandi patterns are symmetrical patterns formed when a standing influx is created on the dish. To discover these habits, granules of sand are put on the plate, much like iron fillings are used to show the magnetic field of your magnet. The most important frequencies patterns were positioned on the graph below.

We can see that the resonant regularity is 163Hz as it is forms the most symmetrical design, and is also the first symmetrical structure to occur. Resonant frequency is found using the solution6 F = 1/2П sqrt (k/m), where K is the springtime regular and m is the mass. Therefore the closer the rate of recurrence is to the frequency, the deeper it is to the resonant frequency. Therefore k and m change according to dimensions and materials used, the resonant frequency varies between equipment, even of the same make.

Gibson Les Paul guitars3 are produced from mahogany, a dense real wood, whilst Fender Stratocaster guitars are produced from either ash or alder wood. These types of timber are lighter and less dense than mahogany, which results in the brighter tone Fender Stratocasters are known for, and the heavier and darker firmness Gibson Les Pauls are recognized for. It's the way that the wood responds to the vibrations that travel through it when a note is played out that causes this. As reviewed above, your body of an violin has certain frequencies it resonates best at. It could be applied here, and can be deduced that the denser materials will not pronounce higher frequencies with the same clarity as the less dense material, therefore creating this difference in build.

To conclude, it seems that the primary factor that influences the grade of an email produced on an instrument is the harmonics that an instrument produces. The fundamental rate of recurrence and harmonics that are indicated the most is determined by the sizes of the device and the materials. Even in the situations of the same instrument they can sound different depending on skill of the maker. It is exciting to realise that the key reason why there are so many instruments on the planet and why we are able to experience all these different tones and emotions are essentially down to the physics of position waves and resonance.


  1. http://homepage. ntlworld. com/terence. dwyer/The%20Harmonic%20Series%20Explained. pdf
  2. http://www. phys. uconn. edu/~gibson/Notes/Section4_2/Sec4_2. htm
  3. http://www. differencebetween. net/object/difference-between-gibson-and-fender/
  4. http://newt. phys. unsw. edu. au/jw/violintro. html
  5. http://www. physicsclassroom. com/class/sound/Lesson-4/Fundamental-Frequency-and-Harmonics
  6. Adams S. and Allday J. , Advanced Physics, Oxford, Oxford College or university press, pg
  7. http://skullsinthestars. com/2013/05/02/physics-demonstrations-chladni-patterns/
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