UHM High Energy Physics Seminar - Previous Years

The Physics of Musical Instruments, or What Do a Tuba, a Tsunami, and the Sun Have in Common?

by Prof. Adalbert Ding (IOAP, Technische Universitat Berlin)

This lecture will deal with the properties of musical instruments, particularly their oscillatory properties and with the sound waves they generate. The musical instrument will be described by a combination of a sound generator with one or several band filters and a sound emission device. In particular, the basic properties of sound will be presented - investigated in the real time space (physicist's view) and in the frequency space (pitch; musician's view). Periodic waveforms (e.g. sine-wave, saw-tooth) and their modification by broad band filters (formants) and sound emitting devices (e.g. resonance boards) will be discussed. These so called sonograms will be used to analyze several types of instruments - brass, the human voice, the piano and if time allows the string instruments. Their properties will be analyzed, and samples will be played. This will be put into context with resonant properties of water waves (e.g. tsunami) and that of the Sun (helioseismology).
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