Acoustics and Musical Theory

  • Richard Mark French

Pythagoras appears to have been the first to notice that the pitch of strings varies according to their length and that certain combinations of string lengths produced notes that sounded good when combined [13]. He divided a vibrating string into two parts so that each part could vibrate and produce its own frequency. He also found that, if the lengths of the two parts were related by simple ratios like 2:1 and 3:2, the resulting combination was pleasing. Modern terminology labels these combinations consonant.

Some of the most familiar features of the modern guitar are dictated by the structure of music and by the fact that the frequencies of strings vary according to length. The foundations of western music were in place certainly by the end of the Renaissance [14], so the ideas and the terminology are very old. They have an ancient and solid feel about them that contrasts with the cool, technical descriptions of the underlying concepts.

Music, at its most fundamental level, is just a...


Fundamental Frequency Sound Pressure Level Frequency Ratio Sound Level Octave Band 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Mark French
    • 1
  1. 1.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

Personalised recommendations