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An explanation of musical intsruments in relation to physics

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Eman Zwawi

on 23 February 2016

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Transcript of An explanation of musical intsruments in relation to physics

An explanation of musical instruments in relation to physics
Families of instruments:
Instruments are like families in the same town: everyone is related just some more than others (siblings vs distant cousins)
They are divided by methods of sound production
Families of instruments: Strings
Perhaps the oldest family of instrumets, string instruments produce sound via the vibration of strings. The length and tightness of the string, and therefore the size of the instrument, affect the sound produced
okay so how does this work, anyways?
Instruments make sound because
When an instrument is played, the vibrations of air within the body of the instrument vibrates at the same frequency, or in RESONANCE with, the particular vibration of the object causing the vibration
REMEMBER resonance increases the amplitude of a vibration by repeatedly adding small forces at the natural frequency of the air column
Some instruments are open pipe and others closed piped (this refers to how they deal with vibration and waves)
Families of instruments: Brass
Known for their bright metallic color, the vibration causing the sound of a brass instrument is created (usually) by lips against a metal mouthpiece
Changing the vibration of the lips and length of the the tube (valves) affect the sound
Families of instruments: woodwind
A reed is used to create vibration when air is blown across
these instruments are mainly open pipe resonators
these instruments have keys (buttons) to create changes in airflow that cause changes in vibration and thus changes in the sound.

Families of instruments: percussion
Percussion instruments are usually the simplest instruments.
vibration is caused by hitting the surface of the instrument (a membrane or wood/metal sheet)
Many, many different sounds can be produced depending on the material and tightness of the head, the mallet used to hit it and the size/shape of the instrument's body
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