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Interactive video lesson plan for: 5 Basic Connections Between Physics and Music | What the Stuff?!

Activity overview:

Human beings can intuitively recognize the physics of music. Check out these basic connections between music and physics that explain what we’re hearing!

10 Connections Between Physics and Music

Video Attribution:

Guns N Roses November Rain Sungha Jung

Bourgade Bell Choir plays Eye of the Tiger

Eye of the Tiger on piano

Fife Player on the Streets of Boston at Night

Guns n Roses - November Rain - Piano Cover

Guns n Roses - November Rain

Guns n Roses - November Rain - David Wong - Violin Cover

High speed longitudinal wave on a slinky spring

Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight LIVE HD

Instrument: Tuba

Life in the Fast Lane (A Blues Shuffle)

Longitudinal Wave Propagation on a Slinky

Paint on a Speaker at 2500fps - The Slow Mo Guys


PS22 Chorus "EYE OF THE TIGER" Survivor

River Surfing - Surfing a standing wave on the Eisbach

Standing Waves Part I Demonstration

Transverse and Longitudinal Waves

Wine glass resonance in slow motion

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* Okay, so that speaker? For a moment during its vibration it has a greater than normal concentration of air molecules in the region next to it. This is a region of compression, that moves outward as the energy from those molecules is transferred to others farther and farther away from it. These regions are naturally louder spots near the speaker, while the spots where the music is softer are regions of rarefactions. And when regions of compression and rarefactions come together there is almost no sound at all. Dead spots like these can actually be designed into buildings by architects, especially when they use materials like wall padding that absorbs sound waves. Each compression and the following rarefaction makes up what we call one “cycle.”
* These cycles are important because by measuring how many occur in a single second, we can determine the soundwave’s frequency. This indicate how rapidly or slowly the medium is vibrating as the wave passes through it. “Hertz” is the unit of measurement we use for frequency. For instance, a single vibration per second is 1 Hertz. Human ears are constructed so that they’re really good at hearing fluctuations in frequency, detecting sounds as low as 15 hertz and as high as 20,000 Hertz. We refer to these high and low ends as “pitch,” and when you play specific frequencies together they can create appealing sounds. For instance if there’s two waves and the second has twice the frequency of the first, we denote this as a ratio of 2:1, also known as an octave. With instruments you can create all kinds of different ratios, blending together the sound waves to make music!
* What’s also important about frequency is that every material (whether it’s wood, glass or even steel) has a natural frequency that it vibrates at in resonance. Putting energy into any substance at its resonant frequency will force it to vibrate. When we’re making music with instruments, the shape, size and material determine what sounds it can create. The sound waves that fit inside, subsequently resonate and get louder. That’s why tubas resonate at low frequencies, while something like a piccolo resonates at high, piercing frequencies.

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