Timbre—Why Each Instrument Sounds Different
Lecture no. 2 from the course: How Music and Mathematics Relate
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.