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Name: Joseph
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Question:
Why does a piano string , or any other instrument , when produced a sound if a certain frequency, also produces sounds of different frequency? I think the best way to look at this is to see how a F note of a instrument look like in a graphic equalizer. There are frequencies scattered all over the equalizer, and why is this so? Shouldn't a note vibrating at a certain frequency have only one frequency?


Replies:
Hi Joseph,

You might find the scattered frequencies are not really scattered at all if you realize the "other" frequencies are multiples of the musical note or fundamental frequency you are playing. These "other" frequencies are integer multiples of the fundamental frequency. These are called harmonics and have frequencies that are 2*f, 3*f, 4*f, 5*f...where f is the fundamental frequency or note you are playing. Furthermore, it can be observed that these additional harmonics reinforce or cancel each other, and the end result is a standing wave of the fundamental frequency or musical note you are playing.

-Alex Viray



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