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3/6/2017 Resonance

Resonance
Resonance
GuitarStrings
OpenEndAirColumns
ClosedEndAirColumns

ThegoalofUnit11ofThePhysicsClassroomTutorialistodevelopanunderstandingofthenature,
properties,behavior,andmathematicsofsoundandtoapplythisunderstandingtotheanalysisofmusic
andmusicalinstruments.Thusfarinthisunit,applicationsofsoundwaveprincipleshavebeenmade
towardsadiscussionofbeats,musicalintervals,concerthallacoustics,thedistinctionsbetweennoise
andmusic,andsoundproductionbymusicalinstruments.InLesson5,thefocuswillbeuponthe
applicationofmathematicalrelationshipsandstandingwaveconceptstomusicalinstruments.Three
generalcategoriesofinstrumentswillbeinvestigated:instrumentswithvibratingstrings(whichwould
includeguitarstrings,violinstrings,andpianostrings),openendaircolumninstruments(whichwould
includethebrassinstrumentssuchasthetromboneandwoodwindssuchasthefluteandtherecorder),
andclosedendaircolumninstruments(whichwouldincludesomeorganpipeandthebottlesofa pop
bottleorchestra ).Afourthcategoryvibratingmechanicalsystems(whichincludesallthepercussion
instruments)willnotbediscussed.Theseinstrumentcategoriesmaybeunusualtosometheyare
baseduponthecommonalitiesamongtheirstandingwavepatternsandthemathematicalrelationships
betweenthefrequenciesthattheinstrumentsproduce.


Resonance
AswasmentionedinLesson4,musicalinstrumentsaresetintovibrationalmotionattheirnatural
frequencywhenapersonhits,strikes,strums,plucksorsomehowdisturbstheobject.Eachnatural
frequencyoftheobjectisassociatedwithoneofthemanystandingwavepatternsbywhichthatobject
couldvibrate.Thenaturalfrequenciesofamusicalinstrumentaresometimesreferredtoas
theharmonicsoftheinstrument.Aninstrumentcanbeforcedintovibratingatoneofitsharmonics
(withoneofitsstandingwavepatterns)ifanotherinterconnected objectpushesitwithoneofthose
frequencies.Thisisknownasresonancewhenoneobjectvibratingatthesamenaturalfrequencyof
asecondobjectforcesthatsecondobjectintovibrationalmotion.
ThewordresonancecomesfromLatinandmeansto"resound"tosoundouttogetherwithaloud
sound.Resonanceisacommoncauseofsoundproductioninmusicalinstruments.Oneofourbest
modelsofresonanceinamusicalinstrumentisaresonancetube(ahollow
cylindricaltube)partiallyfilledwithwaterandforcedintovibrationbya
tuningfork.Thetuningforkistheobjectthatforcedtheairinsideofthe
resonancetubeintoresonance.Asthetinesofthetuningforkvibrateat
theirownnaturalfrequency,theycreatedsoundwavesthatimpingeupon
theopeningoftheresonancetube.Theseimpingingsoundwaves
producedbythetuningforkforceairinsideoftheresonancetubeto
vibrateatthesamefrequency.Yet,intheabsenceofresonance,the
soundofthesevibrationsisnotloudenoughtodiscern.Resonanceonly
occurswhenthefirstobjectisvibratingatthenaturalfrequencyofthe
secondobject.Soifthefrequencyatwhichthetuningforkvibratesisnot
identicaltooneofthenaturalfrequenciesoftheaircolumninsidethe
resonancetube,resonancewillnotoccurandthetwoobjectswillnot
soundouttogetherwithaloudsound.Butthelocationofthewaterlevel
canbealteredbyraisingandloweringareservoirofwater,thus
decreasingorincreasingthelengthoftheaircolumn.Aswehavelearned
earlier,anincreaseinthelengthofavibrationalsystem(here,theairin
thetube)increasesthewavelengthanddecreasesthenaturalfrequencyofthatsystem.Conversely,a
decreaseinthelengthofavibrationalsystemdecreasesthewavelengthandincreasesthenatural
frequency.Sobyraisingandloweringthewaterlevel,thenaturalfrequencyoftheairinthetubecould
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bematchedtothefrequencyatwhichthetuningforkvibrates.Whenthematchisachieved,thetuning
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forkforcestheaircolumninsideoftheresonancetubetovibrateatitsownnaturalfrequencyand
resonanceisachieved.Theresultofresonanceisalwaysabigvibrationthatis,aloudsound.
Anothercommonphysicsdemonstrationthatservesasanexcellentmodelofresonanceisthefamous
"singingrod"demonstration.Alonghollowaluminumrodisheldatitscenter.Beingatrainedmusician,
teacherreachesinarosinbagtopreparefortheevent.Thenwithgreatenthusiasm,he/sheslowly
slidesherhandacrossthelengthofthealuminumrod,causingittosoundoutwithaloudsound.Thisis
anexampleofresonance.Asthehandslidesacrossthesurfaceofthealuminumrod,slipstick
frictionbetweenthehandandtherodproducesvibrationsofthealuminum.Thevibrationsofthe
aluminumforcetheaircolumninsideoftherodtovibrateatitsnaturalfrequency.Thematchbetween
thevibrationsoftheaircolumnandoneofthenaturalfrequenciesofthesingingrodcauses
resonance.Theresultofresonanceisalwaysabigvibrationthatis,aloudsound.


soundofthesea
Thefamiliar thatisheardwhenaseashellisplaceduptoyourearisalsoexplainedby
resonance.Eveninanapparentlyquietroom,therearesoundwaveswitharangeoffrequencies.These
soundsaremostlyinaudibleduetotheirlowintensity.Thissocalledbackgroundnoisefillstheseashell,
causingvibrationswithintheseashell.Buttheseashellhasasetofnaturalfrequenciesatwhichitwill
vibrate.Ifoneofthefrequenciesintheroomforcesairwithintheseashelltovibrateatitsnatural
frequency,aresonancesituationiscreated.Andalways,theresultofresonanceisabigvibrationthat
is,aloudsound.Infact,thesoundisloudenoughtohear.Sothenexttimeyouhearthe soundofthe
sea inaseashell,rememberthatallthatyouarehearingistheamplificationofoneofthemany
backgroundfrequenciesintheroom.


ResonanceandMusicalInstruments
Musicalinstrumentsproducetheirselectedsoundsinthesamemanner.
Brassinstrumentstypicallyconsistofamouthpieceattachedtoalongtube
filledwithair.Thetubeisoftencurledinordertoreducethesizeofthe
instrument.Themetaltubemerelyservesasacontainerforacolumnofair.
Itisthevibrationsofthiscolumnthatproducesthesoundsthatwehear.
Thelengthofthevibratingaircolumninsidethetubecanbeadjustedeitherbyslidingthetubeto
increaseanddecreaseitslengthorbyopeningandclosingholeslocatedalongthetubeinorderto
controlwheretheairentersandexitsthetube.Brassinstrumentsinvolvetheblowingofairintoa
mouthpiece.Thevibrationsofthelipsagainstthemouthpieceproducearangeoffrequencies.Oneof
thefrequenciesintherangeoffrequenciesmatchesoneofthenaturalfrequenciesoftheaircolumn
insideofthebrassinstrument.Thisforcestheairinsideofthecolumnintoresonancevibrations.The
resultofresonanceisalwaysabigvibrationthatis,aloudsound.
Woodwindinstrumentsoperateinasimilarmanner.Only,thesourceofvibrationsisnotthelipsofthe
musicianagainstamouthpiece,butratherthevibrationofareedorwoodenstrip.Theoperationofa
woodwindinstrumentisoftenmodeledinaPhysicsclassusingaplasticstraw.
Theendsofthestrawarecutwithascissors,formingatapered reed .Whenair
isblownthroughthereed,thereedvibratesproducingturbulencewitharange
ofvibrationalfrequencies.Whenthefrequencyofvibrationofthereedmatches
thefrequencyofvibrationoftheaircolumninthestraw,resonanceoccurs.And
oncemore,theresultofresonanceisabigvibrationthereedandaircolumn
soundouttogethertoproducealoudsound.Asifthisweren'tsillyenough,thelengthofthestrawis
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typicallyshortenedbycuttingsmallpiecesoffitsoppositeend.Asthestraw(andtheaircolumnthatit
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contained)isshortened,thewavelengthdecreasesandthefrequencywasincreases.Higherandhigher
pitchesareobservedasthestrawisshortened.Woodwindinstrumentsproducetheirsoundsina
mannersimilartothestrawdemonstration.Avibratingreedforcesanaircolumntovibrateatoneofits
naturalfrequencies.Onlyforwindinstruments,thelengthoftheaircolumniscontrolledbyopeningand
closingholeswithinthemetaltube(sincethetubesarealittledifficulttocutandatooexpensiveto
replaceeverytimetheyarecut).

Resonanceisthecauseofsoundproductioninmusicalinstruments.IntheremainderofLesson5,the
mathematicsofstandingwaveswillbeappliedtounderstandinghowresonatingstringsandaircolumns
producetheirspecificfrequencies.

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