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2

Timbre—Why Each Instrument Sounds Different

Lecture no. 2 from the course: How Music and Mathematics Relate

Timbre—Why Each Instrument Sounds Different

Taught by Professor David Kung | 46 min | Categories: The Great Courses Plus Online Mathematics Courses

After hearing the opening measures of Bach’s “Air on the G String,” investigate why this piece is conventionally played on a single string of the violin. The reason has to do with timbre, which determines why a flute sounds different from a violin and why a melody played on the G string sounds not just lower, but altered. The study of timbre introduces you to a mathematical idea called the Fourier transform—and how it relates to the anatomy of your inner ear.

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