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Resonance and SoundPhysics and Music Since sound is the medium of music most of the physics of music is the physics of sound Its important to remember that sound waves are compression waves You can imitate a compression wave by stretching out a slinky you do have a slinky dont you and flicking your finger against a coil at the end Sound waves are not like the waves on the ocean or the waves you get by waving a stretched-out rope Take a tuning fork you do have a tuning fork dont you and whack it on your knee What do you hear Unless you hold the tuning fork right next to your ear you wont hear much of anything This is because a small tuning fork cant push very much air around Now take the same tuning fork whack it on your knee again and touch the non-forked end to a tabletop or other handy wooden surface The sound should be a lot louder This is because the vibrating tuning fork causes the tabletop to vibrate The tabletop can push much more air around than the fork alone If you touched the end of the tuning fork to a hollow box or say the body of a guitar the sound would be even louder This is because the vibrations get transferred to the air inside the box which vibrates as well If the dimensions of the inside of the box are a multiple of the wavelength of the sound some of the sound waves will reinforce each other for even more volume If a vibration or sound wave can excite another object into vibrating the second object is said to resonate This phenomenon is called resonance The vibrating and resonating parts of musical instruments and almost everything else that makes sounds dont produce sound waves of just one frequency This is because the vibrating body eg string or air column does not just vibrate
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