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PHONOGRAPH

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 177 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PHONOGRAPH.) The following is an instructive analysis by Boeke - of the curves representing the tones of a cornet, and it illustrates the laws that govern the production of quality in such an instrument: Note . I 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 To Partials. J =170 vibs. . I I.05 1'22 1'15 I-01 0.80 0.53 0.28 0.13 0.10 C' =256 ,. 1 0.92 o.81 0.53 0 39 0.20 0.07 0.04 0.06 0.04 g' =384 „ . I 0.76 0.46 0.14 0.09 0.06 0'07 0.22 001 0.01 C” =512 „ . 1 0'92 0.30 0.14 0.15 0.09 0.07 0.06 0.03 0.02 These figures represent the relative intensities of the partials enter- ing into the formation of the note, and it will be observed that the intensity gradually diminishes. This analysis may be contrasted with that of the vowel dd sung by Boeke (act. 5o) on the notes f and. c', and the same vowel sung on the notes g' and e” by his son (aet. I2). Man, act. 5o, singing dd. Pitch . I 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Partials. f =170.6 vibs. I o•86 0.46 1'74 1'90 1'55 051 0'54 0'43 0'44 C'=256 „ I 0'49 1'96 1.25 o.6o 0.56 0.23 0.05 0.06 see Boy, act. 12, singing dd. - Pitch . I 2 3 5 6 Partials. g' =384 vibs. . I 1'22 2.67 0'45 0'17 0'06 e' =640 ,, . I 8.09 1.45 0'53 .. .. „ It will be observed that in both these cases the intensity of the partials does not fade away gradually as we proceed from the lower to the higher partials, as with the cornet, but that certain partials are intensified more than others, namely, those printed in black. In other words, the form of the resonating cavity develops particular partials, and these modify the quality of the tone. If we multiply the vibrational number of the fundamental tone by the number of the partial we obtain the pitch of the resonance cavity; or if we take the mean of the partials reinforced we obtain the pitch of the mean resonance. Lloyd applies this method to the foregoing figures as follows: P artials. Mean Pitch in Reinforced. Partial. Complete Vibration. Man's aa. 4-6 4.96 846 f =170.6 vibs. c' =256 3-4 3'39 868 Boy's dd. 2-4 2.82 1084 g' =384 vibs. c°=64o „ 1-3 2.04 1307 This analysis shows: (1) that the man's resonance rises slightly (half-semitone) in ascending seven semitones in the middle of his register; (2) that the boy's resonance rises three semitones in ascending nine semitones in the upper half of his register; and (3) in the mid-register the boy's resonance is to the man's as 5:4. Thus, as we sing a vowel in an ascending scale the pitch of the oral cavity slightly changes, or, in other words, the pitch of the resonating cavity for a given vowel may be slightly altered. It would appear that both theories are partially true; they are not mutually exclusive. The view of Donders that each vowel has an oral cavity of unchangeable and fixed pitch is too exclusive, and, on the other hand, it cannot be denied that each vowel has a predominant partial or predominant partials which give it a definite character, and which must be produced by the oral cavity as a whole, or by the double resonance of portions of the cavity, as suggested by Lloyd. As we sing a vowel in an ascending scale the form of the resonance cavity may slightly change, but not sufficiently to alter the quality of the vowel. Thus we still detect the vowel tone. A singer almost instinctively chooses such vowels as best suit the resonating arrangements of his or her voice, and avoids vowels or words containing vowels that would lead to the production of notes of inferior quality.
End of Article: PHONOGRAPH
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