the Musical Sounds

The sounds that a musical instrument makes  when a professional is playing is always melodious. When a person who is first time touching the instrument would  not be able to play the instrument so as to get a melodious tune. The professional uses techniques so that the sound he produces is soothing. He also  applies some techniques because he knows the physics behind the sounds produced by the musical instrument. Not to forget he/she also plays the instrument with passion and love, which is something to be admired, but for now lets learn the how does a bunch of strings on a guitar  or a tight diaphragm on a tabla produces such tuneful music.

Sound waves

Sound is a longitudinal wave which require material medium to propagate, for many instruments this medium is the air. When we apply a vibrational force in the medium, the pressure increases at that point and it propagates in all the direction, that is the pressure is being transported. What actually produces sound is that  the disturbance we have created in the medium and  forms  standing waves these waves interfere constructively in order to produce sound waves.   Lets see in details how is this disturbance produced in some of the popular musical instruments.

1. Flute

A flute is made up of wood, circular cylindrical shaped and with holes in between. There are columns of air present inside the instrument. When a person blows air through one of the holes, it makes the air column inside vibrate. This disturbance such that it creates high pressure inside, and pushes the air near the hole outside. As this happens the pressure inside decreases which sucks air back inside.  This produces waves and makes the air near the hole go back and forth which produces the sound. Different tunes of sound can be created by shutting different holes and the pitch can be changed by altering the volume of air being pushed inside.

This same principle can be applied for instruments such as  clarinet, saxophone etc.


2. Guitar

This is the most popular instrument, the speciality of guitar is that it is relatively easy to learn. It has rows of strings, which is tightly roped in two edges of the guitar( we can loosen or tighten it as the tune we want to produce). The disturbance in the medium is produced by strumming or strucking these strings. Guitar uses the principle of resonance to amplify the sound. The different strings produces various pitches as the vibrating length of each string is different. The sound produced in various instruments such as sitar, violin and piano has the same principle. 


3. Drums

 This instrument has a stretched  diaphragm, which creates disturbance in the medium while patting on it by hands or using sticks. The disturbances makes the air molecules just above it vibrate and this is transmitted to the audience.  The pitch of the instrument can be changed by changing the tightness of  the diaphragm, but its not easy to change this as we see for the guitar string. The other instruments that functions with the same theory is Tabla, Xylophones  etc.

As one can see, how dynamically different each instrument is. Learning the physics can make one interpret how the instrument works to produce sound. It is always good to learn a musical instrument because It increases your patience level as playing an instrument requires  vey much attention and sincerity. It also provides calmness to the body and  the soul. Playing a musical instrument is as relieving as doing yoga ,it clears your mind with all the tensions and helps solve all the problems. One can also compose music for self, it would be like a treasure, something they enjoy to do without seeking for its benefits. Lets start doing something for ourselves so that we can enjoy every bit of our lives.