The musical scale used in western music originated with the ancient Greeks. Originally there were seven primary notes to a scale. This is called a diatonic scale and even non-musicians are familiar with it as do-re-me-fa-so-la-ti-do. This scale can be played with the white keys on a piano keyboard, starting with C. As you go though a diatonic scale it is eight steps from do back to do again. For this reason, this range of notes is called an octave.
Over time, five more notes were added to the western musical scale. This 12-note scale is called a chromatic scale. For a scale starting with C, the five extra notes are played on a piano keyboard by pressing the black keys.
Musical scales are tied closely to mathematics. You will use a computer-interfaced Microphone to record the waveform of the sound that is produced. The computer will also perform a mathematical analysis of the waveform called an FFT to determine the fundamental frequency of the sound. Your challenge is to measure the frequencies of all the notes of a chromatic scale and then to determine a mathematical pattern.
Determine the frequencies of the notes of a musical scale.
Examine the differences and ratio between these notes.
Determine the mathematical patterns used in musical scales.
Sensors and Equipment
This experiment requires each of the following Vernier sensors and equipment (unless otherwise noted):
Step-by-step instructions for computer-based data collection
List of materials and equipment
Note: The experiment preview of the computer edition does not include essential teacher information, safety tips, or sample data. Instructions for Logger Pro and other software (such as LabQuest App or TI handheld software, where available) are on the CD that accompanies the book. We strongly recommend that you purchase the book before performing experiments.