Re: Pitch & fundamental frequency

Subject: Re: Pitch & fundamental frequency
From: miriam clinton (iriXx) (
Date: Fri Sep 09 2005 - 14:49:24 EDT

Kenneth Newby wrote:

> 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!

hehe yep if i remember rightly from my tuning days (harpsichord) on
piano one is required to bend the pitch up and down at the high and low

bells... i had an interesting experience in Holland where the church
next door to the Utrechts Conservatorium would ring its bells at 6pm -
if one stood in the Early Music dept. one could hear varying partials
depending on the room that one was in. A particular room was quite
fascinating - if only I'd carried a minidisc recorder at the time, but
it would resonate at many different pitches, quite randomly; enough to
distract me from my composing to sit and listen to the bells tolling
until the church service began.


> Kenneth.
> 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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