The Sitar: Exploring the Vibrations and Acoustics of a Historical Instrument

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Angel Valencia
F. Richard Moore
Music 170
December 01, 2009
Exploring the Vibrations and Acoustics of a Historical Instrument Now that we have gone through a process of understanding the Sitar’s history, mechanics, and a bit about the string functions, we can really dig deep and find out how the instrument functions harmonically. Typically when we refer to the harmonics of the instrument we are specifically talking about the modes of vibration. The modes of vibration are what we use to identify the characteristics of an occurring vibration. In other words, we identify notes based on what their sine waves mode is, in comparison to the fundamental frequency. Another common term used to associate with the modes of vibration is partials; however the word is typically used to describe the overtones or complex tones. Understanding partials is vital to understanding how sound works and how sound is created. Violin and cello players understand partials quite well, for the reason that their instruments are fretless and the playing of specific tones and pitches are dependent on the accuracy of the player. “Partial” specifically refers to complex tones, or anything that is not the fundamental frequency. For example, the first string on a guitar is typically E, and the opened string plucked or strummed is considered the fundamental frequency. Now if we place our finger in the middle fret Work Cited

Benade, A. H. “Sitar Spectrum Properties ” April 1982: S83- Acoustical Society of Americ. 2009 < &id=JASMAN0000710000S1000S83000001&idtype=cvips&gifs=yes>. “Brief History of the Sitar.” Acoustic Musical Instruments. 11 November 2009. Blog Copyright. 2008-2009 Burridge, Robert. Kappraff, Jay. Moreshedi, Christine. SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics. Vol. 42, No. 6. Society for Industrial and Applied. (Dec. 1982),...
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