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Re: Music Glossary - 1.64 Concert Pitch (2.12.2)

From: Paul Scott
Subject: Re: Music Glossary - 1.64 Concert Pitch (2.12.2)
Date: Fri, 3 Apr 2009 21:01:45 -0700

On Apr 3, 2009, at 3:49 PM, Anthony W. Youngman wrote:

In message <address@hidden>, Neil Puttock <address@hidden> writes
2009/4/3 Anthony W. Youngman <address@hidden>:
In message <address@hidden>, Anthony W. Youngman
<address@hidden> writes


Sorry, reading this was painful (I play the trombone, as many of you know

Replying to myself ... Just in case anyone didn't realise (and I certainly didn't make myself clear :-) these are my revised versions that I think
should replace the existing entries. Feel free to edit and improve.

For example Concert A is 440Hz, the speed of sound in air is 343m/s, therefore an A clarinet (or any other A wind instrument) will have a length
of 343/440 = 78cm. (Or be a power of 2 longer or shorter.)

Concert A is definitely not the fundamental for an A clarinet: it's a
cylindrical tube stopped at one end, so the wavelength of the
fundamental is four times the length.  Since the lowest note on a
clarinet is usually the E below middle C unless it has an extension,
the fundamental would be C sharp (D on a B flat).

Ummm ... I think I might be getting physics fundamentals confused with musical fundamentals. But I'm COMPLETELY puzzled at your statement that the wavelength of the fundamental is FOUR times the length. I would guess the trombone is also "a cylindrical tube stopped at one end", and the wavelength of any note played must be an integral number of half-wavelengths. So we have 1/2-wavelength giving me a pedal Bb, 2/2 giving me the fundamental Bb, and 3/2 giving me an F.

I don't see how the physics would work to give you a quarter- wavelength as you claim.

I just did some quick online research and he is right. A tube closed on one end like a clarinet or trumpet has a wavelength that is four times the length of the tube. A flute is open on both ends so it has a wavelength of double the length of the tube.

Concert A would be either the first (B flat clarinet) or second (A
clarinet) overblown note, i.e., third harmonic of  E or F.

Mmmm... I think that explains a lot. Most notes played by brass instruments are "overblown" in the wind sense - do most wind instruments mostly not overblow?

Sure! anything above the first octave of a conical instrument (flute, saxophone) or the first 12th of a cylindrical bore instrument (clarinet) is overblown or uses a vent key to give the same effect.


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