Re: Pitch & fundamental frequency

Subject: Re: Pitch & fundamental frequency
From: Kenneth Newby (
Date: Tue Sep 06 2005 - 11:31:32 EDT

In the case of non-harmonic timbres, bells for instance, the lowest
frequency often does not correspond to the perceived pitch. Also,
depending on the physical nature of a harmonically vibrating medium,
such as the relatively stiff lowest strings of the piano, the harmonic
series is not the textbook fundamental + 2xf + 3xf + 4Xf... due to the
non-linearity in the vibrating medium. This makes for interesting work
for piano tuners who are required to alter the fundamental pitch of the
lowest strings so that the upper harmonics of those strings align with
the upper pitches of the instrument and the whole thing sounds in tune!


On 6-Sep-05, at 8:08 AM, Greg Eustace wrote:

> I have heard of cases where the pitch of a pitched sound is not
> characterized
> by
> the fundamental frequency. To reiterate, I am concerned only with
> those sounds
> having a discernable pitch which is not in obvious one-to-one
> correspondence
> with the fundamental. Can anyone elaborate on this, as it seems
> counterintuitive
> to me? It is quite possible that I misunderstood the statement being
> made.
> Thanks for any insights.
Kenneth Newby, Assistant Professor
Computational Poetics
School for Interactive Art & Technology, SFU Surrey
Integrated Media, ECI Vancouver

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