How Music Works

How Music Works



Frequency Hertz Amplitude Wavelength Speed (1.4) Musical Instrument Tone

There is a huge variety of musical instruments and sounds, as you would already know from your experience with music. Even two instruments playing the same note can sound very different.

This is because a musical instrument produces a sound wave which is a combination of different but related frequencies (known as harmonics) which all mix together to create the distinctive tone or voice of the instrument.

The lowest frequency is usually dominant, and you perceive this one as the pitch. The combination of the other harmonics provides the distinctive shape of the waveform, and thereby the distinctive tone of the instrument.

String instrument frequency determined by the length of the string. Guitar MusicalNoteFrequencies

Mathematics of Music

MIT Music21 project

Music21 is a set of tools for helping scholars and other active listeners answer questions about music quickly and simply. If you’ve ever asked yourself a question like, “I wonder how often Bach does that” or “I wish I knew which band was the first to use these chords in this order,” or “I’ll bet we’d know more about Renaissance counterpoint (or Indian ragas or post-tonal pitch structures or the form of minuets) if I could write a program to automatically write more of them,” then music21 can help you with your work.

Music Theory

Piano key frequencies

Web Audio API