### Re: Explain how you can change the pitch of a stringed instrument.

Date: Thu May 27 12:00:49 1999
Posted By: Nick Steph, Faculty, Physics, Franklin College
Area of science: Physics
ID: 926567315.Ph
Message:
```
The wavelength of the fundamental wave on a stringed instrument is twice
the length of the string.  The frequency of the fundamental wave on the
string is controlled by the mass of the string and the tension in the
string.  The frequency of the string is what determines the pitch.  The
relation may be expressed as an equation:

frequency = sqrt{Tension/(4*Mass*Length)}

Thus, if you increase the tension by turning a tuning peg, the frequency
increases.  In addition, if you shorten the string by pushing it onto a
fret, then the length decreases and again the frequency increases.

On an instrument like a washtub bass, you change the tension in the string
to change the frequency.  On an instrument like a guitar, you shorten the
string by pushing it onto a fret.

```

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