Strings, standing waves and harmonics


Introduction: vibrations, strings, pipes, percussion....

Travelling waves in strings

Plucked strings

A bowed string behaves rather differently

Travelling waves and standing waves

Harmonics and modes

Harmonics in music

Complications with harmonic tuning

Some technical information for string players

scale position touched fraction of string length harmonic number interval above open string
octave 1/2 2 octave
fifth 1/3 3 twelfth
fourth 1/4 4 double octave
major third 1/5 5 seventeenth
minor third 1/6 6 nineteenth
augmented fourth 2/7 7 halfsharp 20th
minor sixth 3/8 8 triple octave
major second 1/9 9 twenty third

Harp acoustics

More information

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