Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

uncompounded undulations, having a single pitch—like 
those of tuning-forks—can only arouse a sympathetic vibra¬ 
tion in a single one of Corti’s organs : and we find, as 
might be expected, that such undulations produce a tone 
not used in Music, and characterised by its poverty and 
dullness. On the other hand, the tones produced by wave- 
systems compounded of many individual sets of undula¬ 
tions, each having its own frequency—like those of violin- 
strings—ought naturally to excite sympathetically many of 
Corti’s organs, with their connected fibres, and to be cog¬ 
nised as a mass of sounds, differing in pitch : and we find 
that these are the wave-systems most employed in Music, as 
yielding tones noted for their richness and fullness—expres¬ 
sions which well describe the actual physiological effect. 
This result is only interfered with by the singular pheno¬ 
menon of dissonance, to which we must next proceed. 
Up to this point we have treated of air-waves as though 
a number of systems could be propagated side by side with 
each other through the atmosphere without mutual inter¬ 
ference. But this is not really the case. If two series of 
simple undulations are produced upon the siren, it is found 
that in certain cases the waves mutually interfere in such 
a manner that they at one time reinforce and at another 
cancel one another. The reason of this is that the crests 
and troughs of the waves are alternated in such an order 
that occasionally (at fixed intervals) two crests or two 
troughs coincide, wdien of course the resulting undulation is 
of greater amplitude, and at others a crest and a trough 
coincide, in which case they neutralise one another. Now


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