HANDBOOK OF ACOUSTICS - online book

A complete view of Acoustical Science & its bearings on music, for musicians & music students.

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THE ORIGIN OF A MUSICAL SOUND.                3
rate, we can see that they follow one another regularly at equal intervals of time. Further, we may notice, that this is the case, whether we pluck the string gently or violently, that is, whether the vibrations are of large or small extent. The motion of the string is therefore periodic, its vibrations are all executed in equal times. If now the elastic be stretched a little more, the vibrations become too rapid for the eye to follow. We see only a hazy spindle, yet we cannot doubt but that the kind of motion is the same as before. Stretch the string still more, and now a musical sound is heard, which is thus caused by the rapid periodic motion of the string.
A similar experiment proves the same fact with regard to reed instruments. Fasten one end of a long thin strip of metal in a vice (fig. 2). Displace the other end (d) of the strip, and let it go.
Fig. 2.
The strip vibrates slowly enough for us to count its vibrations, and these we find to recur regularly; that is, the motion is periodic. Gradually shorten the strip, and the vibrations will follow one