Hearing and Seeing
Many instruments produce sound by vibrating a string, or a column of air inside a tube. This activity will show you how instruments vibrate in fractions called the harmonic series. You will see and hear these harmonics on a string (i.e., violin), an open-end tube (i.e., my trumpet), and a closed-end tube (i.e., panpipes). There are also four of my favorite bugle calls for you to play!
How to play the Harmonic Series: Scroll down until to see the buttons marked 1 through 6 – they're near the bottom of the page. Click on each button to see and hear the 1st through the 6th harmonics. Notice how the string or tube divides into fractions (if you're taking a high school or college-level Physics course, press the "Physics" button to display the physical properties for each harmonic). Before you leave, make sure you play the bugle calls!
Technical Note: You must have Macromedia Flash Player 7 for this activity to work. If you don't have it, you may obtain this free download from Macromedia at: http://sdc.shockwave.com/shockwave/download/alternates/.