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10 Connections Between Physics and Music


6
Amp Up Your Amplitude, Dude
Most rock gods probably don’t credit their performances to physics, but without amplified sound waves, they couldn’t be heard by large crowds.  ©Creatas/Thinkstock
Most rock gods probably don’t credit their performances to physics, but without amplified sound waves, they couldn’t be heard by large crowds. ©Creatas/Thinkstock

Let's assume you enjoy the occasional fiery guitar solo. As such, it's probably safe to assume that when said solo hits its peak, you crank up the volume to get the full effect.

To create a louder (or more intense) sound, it helps to start with a louder vibration. Tapping a drum kit makes soft sounds; pounding on it like a crazed Dave Grohl makes louder sounds. In short, the more work you put into creating the drumming sound, the greater the vibration and the greater the amplitude that moves into the surrounding air particles, radiating outwards toward adoring fans.

Of course, in a large concert hall filled with loud, drunken fans, that drum kit would hardly be audible. So many performers use electronic amplifiers, which take sound waves and increase the intensity and loudness so that they fill a stadium (and likely deafen people standing too close to the speakers).