Why Musicians and Engineers Need Sound Engineering Knowledge (Part IV)

This is the last part of our 4 part discussion on the importance of sound engineering knowledge to the musician. This is by no means an exhaustive study of the subject but I hope I have stirred you up enough to be interested in this aspect of music. Make sure you read the previous parts before coming to this one to enable fully appreciate this series


Sound is produced when there is interference in stable air. If you blow air from your mouth you are likely to hear a sound because you have interfered with the air around. The force of the interference will generate a sound. Imagine you are swinging around a medium length rope very fast. What do you hear? You are likely to experience changes in the sound if you swing it harder or faster. In addition to the way the rope is swung, its length, weight, thickness and material composition determines what sound is heard. Here’s more info in regards to Zv6 subs take a look at our own web site.
When the broad flat surface of a board is swung through the air you hear a sound much different from that made by the rope.

The basic difference is caused by the amount of air the broader surface pushes away and at what force, speed or velocity. If there are holes on the broader surface it will change the nature of the sound significantly as it will move through the air with less resistance.

Let us look at how the sound of the guitar is created when strummed, plucked or picked.

Firstly when the string on a guitar is played, it vibrates. This means the string moves upwards, downwards, forwards and backwards at a particular speed which is calculated as “vibration per-second”. In simple terms it is a calculation of how many movements it makes away from its original position and back to the same in one second. The vibrations per-second are dependent on various factors.
Firstly, how intense or hard the strings were plucked or strummed. (amplitude, dynamics)
How long it was strummed or plucked (duration)
The compositional material of the sound-box, the strings, and how tight or loose it had been tuned or strung on the guitar. (tone, timbre, color)
The thickness of the strings and their length over the sound-box to the place where it is pegged for tuning. (pitch, high and low frequencies)
When the string vibrates, it compresses and releases layers of air particles. It pushes or moves the air particles so fast that we cannot see or even feel it most of the time. When filmed with a speed camera with a real time slow motion facility and powerful lens, it may be possible to see this with the naked eye. The speed and the size of the string vibrating, cutting forwards and backwards through the air creates the initial sound. This sound is captured by the sound-box of the guitar.

As this sound continues to fill the sound-box without having any outlet to escape, it uses the same entry point as its exit. The sound-box becomes the amplifying mechanism for the initial sound created by the vibrating strings. Thinner and tighter strings will vibrate faster than thicker ones and will produce higher pitches in sound. Thicker strings produce the bass sounds we hear on the guitar. Let’s not forget that the intensity of the strumming or picking creates a longer duration for the sound. Finally the size of the box and the material it was made from would determine the volume of sound and its texture.

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