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Longitudinal vibration—Columns of air—Resonance of columns of air—Length and tone—The open pipe—The overtones of an open pipe—Where overtones are used—The arrangement of the pipes and pedals—Separate sound-boards—Varieties of stops—Tuning pipes and reeds—The bellows—Electric and pneumatic actions—The largest organ in the world—Human reeds. LONGITUDINAL VIBRATION. IN stringed instruments we are concerned only with the transverse vibrations of a string—that is, its movements in a direction at right angles to the axis of the string. A string can also vibrate longitudinally—that is, in the direction of its axis—as may be proved by drawing a piece of resined leather along a violin string. In this case the harmonics "step up" at the same rate as when the movements were transverse. Let us substitute for a wire a stout bar of metal fixed at one end only. The longitudinal vibrations of this rod contain overtones of a different ratio. The first harmonic is not an octave, but a twelfth. While a tensioned string is divided by nodes into two, three, four, five, six, etc., parts, a rod fixed at one end only is capable of producing only those harmonics which correspond to division into three, five, seven, nine, etc., parts. Therefore a free-end rod and a wire of the same fundamental note would not have the same timbre, or quality, owing to the difference in the harmonics. COLUMNS OF AIR. In wind instruments we employ, instead of rods or wires, columns of air as the vibrating medium. The note of the column depends on its length. In the "penny whistle," flute, clarionet, and piccolo the length of the column is altered by closing or opening apertures in the substance encircling the column.
featured image - WIND INSTRUMENTS.
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Archibald Williams

Archibald Williams was a prolific British author and journalist who lived from 1871 to 1934.

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