Friday, July 15, 2016

Why Don't All Instruments Sound The Same?

This week we got to talk about the harmonic series, or at least we got to start. There's plenty more to say about it, so let's dive in! As always, answers can go in the comments below or on the main video.

1) Let's start by just building the harmonic series again. Pick a starting note (Besides Bb!) and try to figure out the first couple octaves worth of harmonics for that note. Try not to just transpose the notes: Instead, look at the intervals we made with our various ratios and work it out that way.

2) As we mentioned, it's no coincidence that the ratios 2:1, 3:2, and 4:3 are three of the most consonant intervals in modern music. But let's take a look at other intervals that appear in the series. For instance, 5:3 is a major sixth, 5:4 is a major third, 6:5 is a minor third, and 7:5 is a tritone. What do you think that means? Look at the list again: What other intervals occur fairly low in the series?

3) While overtones are certainly an important part of why instruments sound different, they're not the only one. Can you think of others?

And that's that! See you next week!

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