Beyond the Basics: Harmonic Motion and the Root of All Music

Vibrating String

Music is a rare kind of art form that is made entirely out of vibration. It’s at once both ephemeral and yet inherently physical. We will never be able to reach out and grab it in our hands, but it certainly touches us in the most literal sense of that word. If you’re feeling poetic, you might even compare hearing itself to a specialized, hyper-sensitive form of touching; one that works across great distances.

Most of us already have some cursory understanding of how sound works. If you’ve gotten through most of high school, you probably know that sound travels as waves through air, liquids and solids. But it’s rare that we stop and think about exactly what that means, and what it implies. That’s unfortunate, because only by understanding this concept fully can we unlock the knowledge that’s key to clearing up some of the most pervasive questions and misunderstandings around sampling ratesroom acoustics, equalizers – even about where music comes from and why it can be so mesmerizing.

If there’s a basic building block of all music and sound, it’s harmonic motionAcoustician Dr. Dan Russel of Penn State  has created dozens of free educational animations that help explain these concepts, and makes them available to the public on his site. I use them regularly in teaching my college courses on audio. One of my favorites is among his simplest…

Read more about the building blocks of music and sound at SonicScoop.

This entry was posted in Beyond The Basics, May 2013, Most Popular, SonicScoop, Sub-Feature 4. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
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