Did you know that fractions can help create different musical tones? First, let's think about sound. Sound travels through air in waves with unique frequencies, which are measured in Hertz (Hz). Human ears generally can hear sounds in a frequency range from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Each musical note has a unique pitch, which is determined by the frequency of its sound wave. Tones can be made up of one frequency or a combination of frequencies.
Why It Matters
Each note in a musical scale can be determined by multiplying fractions. When each pitch is multiplied by a fraction, the next tone in the scale is created. To create a major scale, start at any note. Then, multiply the frequency of that note by
The C major scale is pictured above. "Middle C" on the left has a frequency of 264 Hz. How can we use fractions to build the C major scale?
Multiplying 297 by
And so on—we could keep multiplying and multiplying until all of the notes of the scale have been created!
Hear the C major scale for yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C_major
Follow the instructions at the following link to create your very own "shoebox guitar" to help you learn more about sound and music.