Login | Signup now       


 Click to see how  


Share  Title: Guitar Harmonics and Chords

iConnect (Beta)   |  Like   |    Sponsor  |   Comment   |    Report  

Related Profiles

If you are an author or an inventor or an individual related to the work displayed in this video, you can click on the 'add me as' button to link your researchusa profile to this entry. Doing so automatically puts you on the iConnect network bringing great visibility to all your related work.


View Cross Ref (Beta)

Your Edit is Valuable. Editor's names show on Edit pannel.Edit this article  


In acoustics and telecommunication, a harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency. For example, if the fundamental frequency is f, the harmonics have frequencies f, 2f, 3f, 4f, etc. The harmonics have the property that they are all periodic at the fundamental frequency, therefore the sum of harmonics is also periodic at that frequency. Harmonic frequencies are equally spaced by the width of the fundamental frequency and can be found by repeatedly adding that frequency. For example, if the fundamental frequency is 25 Hz, the frequencies of the harmonics are: 25 Hz, 50 Hz, 75 Hz, 100 Hz, etc. 

Many oscillators, including the human voice, a bowed violin string, or a Cepheid variable star, are more-or-less periodic, and thus can be decomposed into harmonics.

Most passive oscillators, such as a plucked guitar string or a struck drum head or struck bell, naturally oscillate at several frequencies known as partials. When the oscillator is long and thin, such as a guitar string, a trumpet, or a chime, the partials are practically integer multiples of the fundamental frequency. Hence, these devices can mimic the sound of singing and are often incorporated into music. Partials whose frequencies are not integer multiples of the fundamental are called inharmonic and are sometimes perceived as unpleasant.

The untrained human ear typically does not perceive harmonics as separate notes. Instead, they are perceived as the timbre of the tone. Bells have more clearly perceptible partials than most instruments. Antique singing bowls are well known for their unique quality of producing multiple harmonic partials or multiphonics.

Harmonics in music are notes which are produced in a special way. They are notes which are produced as part of the "harmonic series".

In physics a harmonic is a wave which is added to the basic fundamental wave. In this article we are talking about sound waves, and we can understand it clearly by looking at the strings of a musical instrument.

When a violinist plays a note on a violin string the string starts to vibrate very fast. This vibration makes the air vibrate and the sound waves travel to our ear so that we can hear it. If the note was absolutely pure the string would move like a sine wave. Sine waves can only be made electronically and they sound very boring to us. The note played on the violin string makes the string vibrate in a very complicated way. There is the basic note (the fundamental), but added to that are lots of other little notes that all add up to a sound in a special way that tells us that it is a violin playing and not a clarinet or a human voice.

The higher the note the faster the string vibrates. An A above middle C (the violinist's A string) vibrates at 440Hz (440 times per second). This is the "fundamental" or "first harmonic". The second harmonic is vibrating twice as fast (ratio 2:1): 880Hz. This gives an A an octave higher. The third harmonic will give a ratio 3:2. This will be an E (an octave and a fifth above the fundamental). The higher the harmonic the quieter it is, but the ratio is always a whole number (not a fraction).

Every note that we hear on an instrument is really a combination of several notes or "harmonics", even although we may not realize that we are hearing more than one note at a time. Play the lowest C on the piano. Now find the next C which is an octave higher. Press this key very slowly so that it does not sound and hold it down. While holding it down play the bottom C again making it loud and very short. The C that is being held silently will now sound. This is because the strings of that C are vibrating a little because it is a harmonic of the low C (they can vibrate because the damper is off the string while the note is being held down). The same can be done holding the next G down, then the next C, then the E. The higher the note the fainter (quieter) the harmonics become. The musical example below shows the notes of a harmonic series in musical notation.


Related Documents
Member Documents

Guitar  Harmonics  and  Chords  
 About This Video
 Subject Physics
 Category Demonstration
 Duration 00:02:33
 Views 3561
 Added 12-02-09
 Contributor    justin
 Add to Favourites
 Report Abuse
 Related Videos
 See More


 RunTime  00:01:46
 Uploaded  27-12-07
 Views  3399
 Piano string harmonics an...


 RunTime  00:02:33
 Uploaded  12-02-09
 Views  3562
 Guitar Harmonics and Chor...


 RunTime  00:10:32
 Uploaded  26-08-09
 Views  3529
 The Overtone Series


 RunTime  moderate
 Uploaded  30-05-13
 Views  1575
 GRASP Lab UPenn


 RunTime  00:06:01
 Uploaded  27-08-09
 Views  3307
 Standing waves in a Strin...


 RunTime  00:07:51
 Uploaded  26-08-09
 Views  3199
 Standing Sound Waves


 RunTime  00:08:00
 Uploaded  12-11-09
 Views  3498
 Vocal Formants


 RunTime  00:08:48
 Uploaded  03-09-09
 Views  3698
 Chladni Plates

 Member Videos
 See More


 RunTime  00:00:30
 Uploaded  28-12-07
 Views  4941
 Smoke flow visualization ...


 RunTime  00:03:24
 Uploaded  27-12-07
 Views  4632
 Lockheed Morphing UAV


 RunTime  00:00:20
 Uploaded  28-12-07
 Views  4403
 Smoke flow visualization ...


 RunTime  00:00:20
 Uploaded  28-12-07
 Views  4288
 Smoke flow visualization ...


 RunTime  00:00:09
 Uploaded  13-02-09
 Views  4178
 High voltage disconnect s...


 RunTime  00:04:45
 Uploaded  27-12-07
 Views  4125
 Flow Visualization: Aerod...


 RunTime  00:01:33
 Uploaded  17-01-10
 Views  4037
 Cavitation driven weapon ...


 RunTime  00:00:35
 Uploaded  28-12-07
 Views  3980
 Boeing 747 Wing Tip Vorte...


 RunTime  00:06:21
 Uploaded  29-03-09
 Views  3823
 Electric Eel


 RunTime  00:01:07
 Uploaded  16-01-10
 Views  3740
 Circular bubbles produced...


 RunTime  00:04:12
 Uploaded  28-12-07
 Views  3642
 Structural Collapse: the ...


 RunTime  00:09:07
 Uploaded  14-02-09
 Views  3569
 DAC Lab - Data Acquisitio...



Comments | Queries | Clarifications