Because of a general lack of…imagination , we shall once more explore the mysteries of the violin! After playing around with natural harmonics on Friday’s lab with Adeline, I decided to do a little bit of research.

By using Sound Sensor and playing the open A string, you can view the frequency spectrum. You can see the fundamental frequency and its multiples following it(2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, 8x, 9x…).

When you play the 2nd harmonic/1st overtone on the A string (by lightly placing your finger at the middle of the string), you create a node and force that point on the string to remain stationary. This eliminates some of the frequencies present earlier: only the even multiples (2x, 4x, 6x, 8x…) can exist.

Likewise, when playing the third harmonic with a finger placed at 1/3 of the string length, only certain multiples of the fundamental frequency (3x, 6x, 9x…) are present. And so on…

Another item of interest is how the bowing arm can influence timbre/harmonic content. By playing closer to the fingerboard of the violin (the black strip of wood under the strings), you emphasize the fundamental frequency. By playing closer to the bridge of the violin (the little wooden part supporting the strings), you emphasize the higher harmonic multiples. Imagine the conductor of an orchestra saying “Bring out the fundamental frequency!” xD