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Why do different strings on instruments make high and low pitched sounds?
- C. George (age 14)
San Angelo, TX
There are three parameters that effect the pitch or frequency f, that a string makes:
the tension T, the length L, and the mass per unit length of the string, lambda. There is a formula that gives the frequency: f = sqrt(T/lambda) / (2*pi*L). So when you tighten the string or shorten the length, the frequency goes up. The fatter the string, i.e. bigger lambda, the smaller the frequency.
(published on 10/22/2007)
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