Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The science of musical sounds
Miller, Dayton Clarence
When a fork is driven by this method, the prong is inter¬ 
mittently urged forward by the magnetic pull. The prong 
itself is always a very little behind the pull, that is, it lags 
more or less ; this forcing of the vibration causes the period 
to be slightly different from that of the same fork vibrating 
A fork retains its pitch with great constancy; ordinary 
careless handling causes little change, and even rust, as it 
slowly proceeds over a period of years, produces but slight 
effect, rarely exceeding one vibration in two hundred and 
fifty; the change usually flattens the pitch, since rust near 
the yoke affects the fork more than that near the end of 
the prong. The ordinary wear on a fork is usually greater 
at the ends which are unprotected, and this causes the pitch 
to sharpen; rust and wear, thenj in some degree produce 
opposite effects and tend to maintain the original pitch. 
An account of the tone quality of the tuning fork is given 
in Lecture VI, while many illustrations of its usefulness will 
be found throughout the lectures. 
Determination of Pitch by the Method of Beats 
A simple comparison by the ear will enable one who is 
musically trained to tune certain intervals, such as unisons, 
octaves, thirds, fourths, and fifths. Two tones nearly in 
unison produce heats, the number of which per second is 
equal to the difference in pitch (see page 183). Beats often 
occur between the overtones of sounds which are not simple, 
and under other conditions which need not be considered 
here. Comparison by ear, based on the method of beats, is 
the principal means employed in tuning pianos and organs 
and such stringed instruments as the violin and the guitar. 
The comparison of a standard tuning fork with an un- 


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