Beats

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Beats When two notes of nearly equal pitch are both sounded together a regular rise and fall occurs in the loudness of the tone heard. These alternations in loudness are called heats. This may be demonstrated with organ pipes, or singing tubes may be used instead. Two glass or metal tubes about a metre long and 4 or […]

Quality or timbre of a musical note

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Quality or timbre of a musical note If a particular note on a scale is played on, say, a piano and a flute, it is easy to distinguish the tone of one instrument from that of the other. The two tones are said to differ in quality or timbre. Generally speaking instruments do not give tones which […]

Intensity and loudness of sound

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Intensity and loudness of sound The intensity of a sound wave is defined as the rate of flow of energy per unit area  perpendicular to the direction of the wave. By mathematical treatment which is outside the scope of this book it may be shown that the intensity of a sound wave in air is proportional […]

The problem of tuning a keyboard instrument

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The problem of tuning a keyboard instrument The lowest (or highest) note on the scale is called the tonic or key-note. Now it is an easy matter to make a change of key when singing, since the voice can be pitched to any frequency within its natural compass. Also the same principle applies in the case of […]

Musical intervals

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Musical intervals The ratio of the frequencies of two notes is called the musical interval between them. Certain recognized intervals have been given special names. Thus, a ratio of 9: 8 is called a major tone, 10: 9 a minor tone and 16: 15 a semi tone. Those who have studied music will be familiar with other intervals. […]

Musical scales

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Musical scales As the art of music developed through the ages it came to be accepted that notes of certain frequency relationships gave a pleasing result when played together, while others produced a harsh effect. This experience led to the establishment of musical scales consisting of a series of notes whose pitch relationships enabled the maximum number of pleasing […]

Music and noise

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Music and noise A sound of regular frequency is called a tone or musical note, and music is a combination of such sounds. Certain combinations of notes do, however, produce an effect of emotional tension, or dissonance, and this has played an important part in the vocabulary of music throughout the ages, in varying degrees. Noise in relation […]

Musical sounds

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Musical sounds Pitch and Frequency In the previous chapter it was mentioned that the pitch of a note, i.e., its position in the musical scale depends on the frequency of vibration of its source. This was demonstrated early in the nineteenth century by Felix Savart, who held a card against a rotating toothed wheel and showed that the pitch […]