Whys Guys: Confining sound waves

The Morning Show

We experience waves all the time, in the form sound and light waves, just to name a few.

In general, these can have any frequency (the pitch for sound) and wavelength. But if we, in some way, confine or constrain the medium producing that wave — such as by fixing the length of a guitar string or setting the length of flute — then only certain wavelengths (and therefore frequencies) are resonant.

For example, when a flute is fingered to produce a ‘C’ note, you cannot blow into it and get a ‘G’ note — although you can blow into it and get a ‘C’ and a octave higher.

In today’s Whys Guys on the WCIA Morning Show, U. of I Professor Paul Kwiat explains more about the phenomenon of confined waves.

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