The physics of musical saws

Someone I know has just been given a musical saw as a Christmas present. A few years back, a colleague mentioned that musical saws are scientifically really interesting. So I’ve spent a little time this morning reading scientific papers with exciting titles such as “Vibration of an Elastic Strip with Varying Curvature” [1]. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmft674XPC0&hl=en_GB&fs=1&] As… Continue reading The physics of musical saws

Navigating by chimes – Where the doors go Ping!

On the Ning Nang Nong Where the Platforms go Bong! And the Escalators all say Boo! There’s a Nong Nang Ning Where the doors go Ping! And the lift doors Jibber Jabber Joo … * A few years back I was lucky enough to visit Japan. One of my lasting sound memories was the strange… Continue reading Navigating by chimes – Where the doors go Ping!

Tone deafness

At my saxophone lesson this weekend, my teacher asked me to sing what I was meant to be playing. It was pretty excrutiating and it took me a few attempts to hit the notes correctly. Fortunately, I’m not completely tone deaf, just a little out of practice. It’s estimated that tone deafness (congenital amusia) affects… Continue reading Tone deafness

Laughing Rats

Heard a great radio programme which included the sound of laughing rats. Some scientists are claiming that if you tickle a rat it giggles. Before you rush to tickle a pet rat, it’s worth knowing that the sounds aren’t audible to humans. (Unless you have a bat detector or some other piece of specialist measurement… Continue reading Laughing Rats

Fingernails and blackboards

Why is the sound of fingernails dragging down a chalk board so horrible? This question just won’t go away. Ever since I ran an experiment into the worst sound in the World (www.sound101.org), a lack of a good answer has been bothering me. I’ve been doing some science shows for sixth formers in London recently,… Continue reading Fingernails and blackboards