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ACOUSTICS
DONKIN

Honbon

HENRY FROWDE

OXFORD UNIVEBSITY PRESS WAREHOUSE


AMEN CORNER

ACOUSTICS
THEORETICAL
PABT

W.

F.

DONKIN,

M.A.,

F.R.S.,

F.R.A.S.

LATE SAVILIAN PROFESSOR OF ASTRONOMY, OXFORD

SECOND EDITION,

AT, THE CLARENDON PRESS


MDCCCLXXXIV

^// rights reserved

'\

ADVERTISEMENT.
As

this

is

the only portion of a treatise

on Acoustics,

in-

tended to comprise the practical as well as the theoretical parts


of the subject, which

will

proceed from the pen of

its

Author,

a few words are required to explain the circumstances under

which

The

it

now

appears.

Author, the late Professor Donkin, has passed away

prematurely from the work.

was a work he was

It

peculiarly

qualified to undertake, being a mathematician of great attain-

ments and rare


investigation

and taking an

taste,

especial interest in the

and application of the higher theorems of

which are necessary

for

He

these subjects.

analysis

was, moreover,

an accomplished musician, and had a profound theoretical

knowledge of the Science of Music.

He

began

work

this

early in the year

continually interrupted

by severe

by the

in

and

difficulty,

illness,

many

1867;

but he was

and was much hindered

instances the impossibility, of

obtaining accurate experimental results at the places wherein


his delicate health

compelled him to spend the winter months

He

of that and the following years.

an

interest in the subject, that

took, however, so great

he continued working

at

it

to

within two or three days of his death.

The

part

now

tions of Strings

published contains an inquiry into the Vibra-

and Rods, together with an explanation of the

more elementary theorems of the


of

its

Author, complete in

itself;

subject,
his

and

is,

in the opinion

wish was that

it

should be

published as soon as possible ; and he was pleased at knowing


that

the last pages of

it

were passing through the Press im-

mediately before the time of his death.


of the theoretical part.

It is

the

first

portion

;;

ADVERTISEMENT.

VI

It

was intended

that the second portion should contain the

investigation into the Vibrations of Stretched

Plates

and

Motion of the Molecules of an

into the

live

Body

Elastic

Mathematical Theory of Sound. Professor Donkin

into the

did not

Membranes and

long enough to complete any part of this section of

the work.

The

third portion

was intended

to contain the practical part

of the subject; and the theory and practice of Music would

have been most

fully considered.

It is

exceedingly to be re-

gretted that the Professor did not live to complete this portion
for the

met

combination of the

even a sketch or an outline

had formed the plan


with pleasure.
written

qualities necessary for

and he possessed them

with,

it

is

seldom

remarkable degree.

found amongst his papers.

is

in his

in a

own mind and

Not

He

often talked of

it

can now never be written as he would have

It

it.

BARTHOLOMEW
II, St, Giles',

Feb.

1 6,

PRICE.

Oxford,
1870.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.


Little alteration

edition.

corrected

has been

made

few slight errors

and

have added an

article

on Compound Harmonic Curves.


work remains

exactly as

it

in

(chiefly

left its

In

preparing
misprints)

(68
all

a),

Rugby,
6,

1884.

second

have

been

with diagrams,

other respects

Author's hands.

A. E.

July

the

DONKIN.

the

CONTENTS.
PAGE

CHAP.

I.

II.

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

III.

COMPOSITION OF VIBRATIONS

IV.

THE HARMONIC CURVE

V.

VI.

VII.

IX.

.13
.

29

47

VIBRATIONS OF AN ELASTIC STRING

72

VIBRATIONS OF A STRING

90

ON THE TRANSVERSE VIBRATIONS


OF AN ELASTIC STRING (DYNA.

.Ill

ON THE LONGITUDINAL VIBRATIONS


OF AN ELASTIC ROD

I49

ON THE LATERAL VIBRATIONS OF


A THIN ELASTIC ROD

165

...

MICAL theory)
VIII.

MISCELLANEOUS DEFINITIONS AND


PROPOSITIONS

CHAPTER

I.

GENERAL INTRODUCTION.
1.

The

sensation of sounds like that of light,

may

be pro-

and extraordinary ways. But the first step


the usual process consists in the communication of a vibra-

duced
in

in exceptional

tory motion to the tympanic

and rapid changes

slight

membrane of

the

in the pressure of the air

through

ear,

on

its

outer

surface.

The

ear

parts, of

may

external world,
2.

be considered as consisting essentially of two

which one

the

is

organ of communication with the

and the other of communication with the

The former

part

brain.

a tube of irregular form, divided into

is

two portions of nearly equal length by the tympanic membrane,

which

stretched across

is

The

it

somewhat obliquely

as a transverse

and wider part of the tube is outside


the tympanic membrane, and ends at the orifice of the external

diaphragm.

ear.

This part

The
brane

is

shorter

called the Meatus.

part of the tube immediately within the tympanic

is

called the

Tympanum, and the remainder

mem-

the Eustachian

Tube.

The

Eustachian tube leads into the pharynx, that

cavity behind the tonsils

But the

open.

orifice

of being opened,

is

and uvula,

which the

of swallowing, and

a muscular

eff"ort

It is

opened involuntarily

not easily described but easily

is

the meatus

on

the

can be opened voluntarily by

accompanied by a slight sensation


a temporary change in the pressure of the air

TKus

is,

nostrils also

of the Eustachian tube, though capable

usually closed.

in the act

opening

into

the

made

and the

in the ear,

one hand, and the

due to

tympanum.
tympanum and

in the

Structure of the Ear.

Eustachian tube on the other, always contain


different

The

conditions.

directly affected

air

the meatus

by every change, however

the pressure of the external

communication

in

air,

air,

and

slight

with which

it

is

but under

be

to

liable

is

rapid, in

always in free

but that within the tympanic membrane, being

only occasionally put into communication with the external

air

by the opening of the Eustachian

be

part in

not liable

The

second,

slight

or

interior,

within a cavity which

places.

looking into

part

of the

ear

is

to

takes

it

contained

called the bony labyrinth, because

is

of a complicated form, and

two

is

and rapid changes, though


the slower fluctuations shewn by the barometer.

directly affected

3.

by

tube,

is

it

is

surrounded by bone except in

These two places may be compared to windows,


the tympanum, but completely closed by mem-

branes, so that neither air nor fluid can pass through them.

One of these is called the oval and the other


The interior of this bony labyrinth is

the round window.

with

filled

fluid,

in

which are suspended membranous bags, following nearly the


same form, and themselves containing fluid.

The

terminal fibres of the auditory nerve are distributed over

the surfaces (or parts


bags,

and there are

of the

surfaces) of these

special arrangements

appears to be the communication to these

any
4.

membranous

of which the object

nervous fibres of

agitation affecting the fluid.

The tympanic membrane

connected with that which

is

window' by a link-work of small bones con^


tained i^ the open space of the tympanum, in such a manner
that when the former membrane. is bulged inwards or outwards
by an increase or diminution of the pressure on its external
surface, a similar movement is impressed on the latter; and
closes the 'oval

although the fluid within


(of

which

it

window' allows
of the oval

Thus

is

probably as incompressible as water

chiefly consists), the


it

window

to yield
is

labyrinth,

is

and from

of the

'

round
that

forced inwards, and vice versd.

the motion impressed

the external air

membrane

by expanding outwards when

on the tympanic membrane by

communicated

to the fluid contained in the

that to the fibres of the auditory nerve,

by

Ctirve of Pressttre.
means of

the apparatus

mentioned above, which need not be

further described at present^.


It is

probable also that motion

is

tympanic membrane through the

membrane
5. The

pressure

mean, as

to

tympanum

of the round window, and so to the


'

'

by

to the

fluid.

of the air at any point must be understood

usual, the pressure

unit of surface

from the

partly propagated

air in the

which would be exerted on a

of the same density and temperature as

air

at the point in question.

When
variation

the pressure at

may

any point

of pressure,' in which the abscissa


portional

to

the

time, the
'

OM of any point P

the time elapsed since a given

MP to the

ordinate

varies with

be graphically represented by means of a

instant,

is

curve

pro-

and the

excess of pressure above a standard value,

which may be taken

arbitrarily.

negative ordinate (as at jP')

represents of course a defect of pressure below the standard


value.

As we

shall chiefly

the average (or

have occasion to consider cases in which

mean) pressure remains

unaltered,

it

will

be

convenient to assume that average as the standard value represented by the axis of abscissae

OX.

Changes of density may evidently be represented in the same


way by a curve of density,' in which positive ordinates repre'

sent condensation,

and negative ordinates

of pressure and of density


*

A full description,
known

with

dilatation.

will differ slightly in

The

curves

form, because

illustrations, of the structure of the ear, so far

be found in Helmholtz, p. 198, &c., and in


Huxley's Lessons in Elementary Physiology,' p. 204, &c., and other recent
works on Anatomy and Physiology. But the reader is recommended to
study the subject, if possible, with the help of anatomical preparations or
models. For the purposes of this treatise, however, nothing is absolutely
necessary to be known beyond what is stated here or hereafter in the text.
as

it is

at present, will

'

B 2

and

Noises

4
pressure

is

not in general

strictly

reasons and consequences of this

Notes.
proportional to density

fact,

the

however, do not concern

us at present.

Although

it

is

convenient to use the word 'curve,'

it

must

be understood that the lines representing changes of pressure


or density are not necessarily curved in the ordinary sense, but

may

consist either wholly or in part of straight portions.

Those

6.

slight

and rapid changes

in contact with the tympanic

the sensation of sound, do not

pressure

in the pressure of the air

membrane, which cause


in

general

alter

(Art. 1)

the average

so that they would be represented by a wavy curve


the whole equal areas above and below the

upon

including

axis of abscissae.

A wavy

curve

may

or

may

not be periodic.

consists of repetitions of a single portion, thus

Fig.

The

-2.

period or wave-lengih of such a curve

AB

tance

words,

which

is

it

is

at its extremities

the projection,

on

the smallest dis-

always equal

into

two

classes

namely, unnotes.

regards sensation, the distinction between these two classes

of sounds
not

in other

repeated.

musical sounds, orjwises ; and. musical sounds, or

As

the axis, of the smallest portion

Sounds are usually divided

7.

is

which, measured from any arbitrary point along the

has the ordinates

axis,

A periodic curve
:

said to be that notes have pilch

is

and, as regards the

curve of pressure (Art. 6)

mode
is

and noises have

of their production, that the

periodic in the case of a musical

sound, and non-periodic in the case of a noise.

But these

statements require more explanation and correction than might


at first sight

In the
few,

if

be expected.

first

place,

it

is

obvious to

common

observation that

any, noises are perfectly unmusical, that

without pitch.

Two

noises of the

is,

absolutely

same general character

often

Generation of Musical Notes,

differ from one another in a way which we describe by calling


one of them more acute or sharp, and the other more grave or
flat

for

On
that

example, the reports of a pistol and of a cannon.

the other hand, few,

is,

absolutely

Hence

if

any, sounds are perfectly musical,

unmixed with

noise.

the question presents itself whether there

after all

is

a real distinction in kind between noises and notes, and


in

what

8.

Before attempting to answer this question,

is,

two

it

facts of

The
and

first

if

there

consists.

we must

notice

fundamental importance.

any sound whatever,

that

is,

sufficiently short

intervals

repeated at equal

if

of time, generates

note,

of

which the pitch depends upon the frequency of repetition of


the original or elementary sound.

This

For instance,

simple experiments.

if

easily verified

is

by

the point of a quill pen,

or the edge of a card, be held against the teeth of a wheel

which

is

turned slowly, the passage of each tooth produces a

sharp noise or

'

But

click.'

if

the velocity of rotation of the

wheel be gradually increased, the clicks gradually cease to be


heard separately, and are replaced by a sound which gradually
acquires a continuous character, and a pitch which rises as the

The

velocity increases.

connection between the frequency of

repetition of the elementary sound,

and the pitch of the

resultant

note, will be considered afterwards.

The second
once.

at

fact

This

considerations will

that

is,

more than one sound can be heard

familiar to every one.

is

shew

that

it is

But the following

very remarkable.

9. In the case above supposed, each passage of a tooth of

the wheel across the quill or card produces a disturbance in the


air,

which

is

propagated in

all

directions (unless

some

obstacle

intervene) in the form of a wave.

The
after.

nature of sound-waves in air will be considered here-

At present

it

is

essentially different in

sufficient to say that

water, they have one important property in


that different sets of
either in the

waves can be propagated

same or

though they are

most respects from ordinary waves

in

common, namely,
at the

same

time,

in different directions, without destroying

Composition

and

Resolution

one another. And it results from the mechanical theory that


the waves are very small, the different sets are simply

when

is, the disturbance produced at any point, and


any given time, by the combined action of waves belonging

superposed; that
at

sum

to different sets, is the

of the disturbances which would

have been produced by the waves of each


In

this proposition the

word sum

is

set separately.

be understood, accord-

to

ing to circumstances, either in the ordinary algebraical sense,

or in the extended sense in which the diagonal of a parallelo-

gram

called (in symbolical geometry) the

is

sum of two con-

tiguous sides.

Thus,

sound-waves in

in the case of

any point may be considered


ticles,

And

the

either of pressure or density, is the algebraical

of the changes which would have been produced by waves

of each set separately


is

the disturbance at

or as an alteration ot pressure and density.

whole change,

sum

air,

either as a displacement of par-

the

sum of

the

while the displacement of any particle

separate displacements

in

the

sense just

explained.

Thus, suppose

is

the undisturbed position of a particle

which, at a given instant, would be


displaced in

by the action of a

w^ave belonging to one set,

another

set.

placement
be to R,
Fig.

3-

and

to

by that of a wave belonging to


at

AR

Then
the

the actual dis-

same

instant will

being the diagonal of

the parallelogram constructed

upon

AP,AQ.
This law of the composition of displacements, which is idenform wqth that of the composition of forces in Mechanics,

tical in

may be
Each
causes ;

The

stated in another

manner thus

separate cause

of displacement acts independently of other


a proposition which is to be understood as follows
:

AR\?^

same as if the particle


were first displaced by one cause along A P, and then by the
other along a line PR, equal and parallel to the displacement
actual displacement

the

of Disturbances.

Qy which the latter cause would have produced

if

acting

alone.
It is

important to recollect that this law of the

of displacements

'

is

superposition

not a universal law in the same sense as

that of the composition of forces.

It

depends, in

upon

fact,

the condition that the force which tends to restore a displaced


particle to its undisturbed position is directly proportional to

the displacement;
it

subsists at

all,

and

most cases

this condition, in

subsists rigorously only for

in

which

infinitely

small

displacements.

The law, however, is sensibly true, so far as most of the


phaenomena of sound are concerned, in the case of the greatest
disturbances produced by ordinary causes.
10. This being premised,

let

us consider a continuous noise,

lasting say for a small fraction of a second, in

can recognise no

definite

And

pitch.

which the ear

suppose the curve of

Fig. 4.

pressure (that

is,

the curve representing in the

way above ex-

plained (Art. 5) the changes of pressure close to the tympanic

membrane) to be the black line A B C D, Fig. 4.


Suppose a different noise, of the same duration, to have for its
Then, if
curve of pressure the dotted line in the same figure.

Fig-

5-

the causes producing such noises both act


variation of pressure

will

at once, the resultant

be represented, as

in Fig. 5,

by a

Power of Resokition

which the ordinates are the algebraical sums of the

curve, of

corresponding ordinates in Fig.

Now

in

coalesce

only

It is

similar, that

but are heard

one,

into

taneously.

4.

such a case the two noises do not in general

is,

when

when

the

though

distinctly,

two curves of

simul-

Fig. 4 are nearly

the two noises are very like one another,

that the ear does not easily resolve the resultant

sound

into

its

two components.

On

the other hand, there

which can suggest


which
of

its

it

was generated.

components

ig

nothing

in the

curve of Fig. 5

to the eye the process of composition

It

and although

it

might be

arbitrarily

solved into two in an infinite variety of ways, there


in

by

looks quite as simple as either

is

re-

nothing

appearance to indicate one way as more natural than

its

any other ^
It is evident

then that the ear has a power of resolution

which the eye has not ; or


ing to

some law

not resolve at

rather, that the ear resolves accord-

all,

peculiar to

itself,

whereas the eye either does

or resolves arbitrarily.

11. This phaenomenon is still more remarkable when the


component curves are periodic. Let A B C
G, Fig. 6,

D EF

Fig. 6.

represent two periods of a periodic change of pressure;

curve consisting of repetitions of the portion


larly let

abcdefg

A B C D.

the

Simi-

represent three periods of another periodic

change, occupying the same time as two periods of the former.

The

curves in the above figures are represented as made up of straight


merely for convenience of drawing. Whether their forms be or be
not such as could really occur, is quite immaterial to the argument. The
point essential to be understood is this
that whatever be the forms of
the component curves, the eye cannot in general distinguish them in the
*

lines,

resultant curve.

peculiar to the Ear,

The

P Q,

curve consists of repetitions of the portion

resultant

Fig. 7,

and

is

therefore also periodic.

Fig-

be

If the periods

7-

sufficiently short,

each of the curves in

and the curve

Fig. 6 will correspond to a musical note;

in

7 represents the variation of pressure which takes place

Fig.

when

Now,

two notes are heard simultaneously.

the

it

is

a well-known fact that in such a case the ear in general distinguishes both notes
Fig. 7 into the

that

is, it

resolves the resultant curve of

two components of Fig.

But the eye sees

6.

nothing more in Fig. 7 than a curve having a period represented by the abscissa

P Q,

different periods of the

we

and entirely fails to distinguish the


component curves. Here again, then,

find that the ear resolves according to a law of

12.

PQ

But a new question now presents


is

its

resolved by the ear into two components,

each component similarly resolved ?

own.

If a curve like

itself.

why

represents two simultaneous but distinguishable notes,

not the repetition oi

A B CD

is

If the repetition of

why may
same

represent two notes in the

way; and why may not each component oi

not

PQ

A B CD

be

itself

again resolved, and so on ad infinitum ?

The answer
and

is,

that

all

this

does in general really happen

that a perfectly simple musical tone, that

the ear cannot resolve,

by means

Thus
forte

is

is,

rarely heard except

a tone such as

when produced

specially contrived for the purpose.

the

sound produced by a vibrating

or violin

for

instance,

is

in

string, of

general

a piano-

compounded of

simple tones, theoretically unlimited in number.

Only a few

of them, however, are loud enough to be actually heard.

few constitute a combination which

same

string

is

These

always heard from the

under the same circumstances

hence

we

acquire

What

lo

a Noise?

is

a habit of associating them together and perceiving them as


a single note of a special character ; and
of attention, which
unassisted

to

ear,

analyse the

case of a string this difficulty

it

requires an effort

when first attempted by


compound sensation. In

difficult

is

the
the

increased by the circumstance

is

component tones form in general an agreeable


When, however, two strings, not in unison,
once, we distinguish their notes perfectly; partly

that the audible

consonance.
vibrate at

because there

is

in this case

no habit of

association,

and

partly

because the component tones of one dp not in general form


a consonant combination with those of the other.

of a large bell is compounded of many simple


some of which combine agreeably and some produce

The sound
tones,

In this case every one perceives easily the


complex character. of the sound. Still the habit of association
prevents us from mistaking the sound of one bell for the sound
of two and on the other hand, when two bells are struck at

harsh dissonances.

we

once,

distinguish the

two compound sounds more or

less

notwithstanding the very confused combination of

perfectly;

simple tones.
13.

//
\

We

can now give

What

tion.

a partial answer to the ques-

at least

a noise ?l

is

It

general

in

is

number of musical tones too near

be distinguished by the unassisted

to

The

effect

produced by ringing

once, or striking
forte

at

tends to
the

how

once, shews

become

ear. ^

a noise.

in pitch

the bells of a peal at

all

an octave on a piano-

the twelve keys of

all

a combination of

one another

to

confused combination of tones

And

may

it

be easily conceived that

change would be much more complete

twelve notes intermediate between

C and

if,

Cjf

for

example,

were heard

at

once.
It

appears, then, that a noise

cases of sound.

The former

powers of the ear

fail

to

of resolution by reason of

14. It

is

evident

is

and a simple tone are extreme


so complex that the ordinary

resolve
its

it.

The

latter is

incapable

absolute simplicity

therefore that the

absolutely simple tone ? or rather,

What

question,
is

What

is

an

the character of the

Notes and Tones,

ii

sound-waves which produce such tones, and of the corresponding curves of pressure
It

is

evident also that

is

of fundamental importance.

some correction

required to the

is

statement referred to above (Art. 7), that musical notes have


speaking, only an absolutely simple tone has

Strictly

__piich.

a single determinate pitch.

When we

speak of the pitch of the

note produced by a string or an organ-pipe,

we mean

in fact

This

the pitch of the gravest simple tone in the combination.

component is in general louder than any of the


The others
others, and is that on which attention is fixed.
become associated with it by habit, and seem only to modify
particular

character, without destroying the unity of

its

As

15.

be necessary to

often

will

it

its

and compound musical sounds, we

simple

(as in the preceding articles) the

words

pitch.

between

distinguish

tone

always use

shall

and

note for this

purposfe.

may

Objections
the

word

tone

is

easily

be made to both these terms.

complexity which

it

here intended to exclude

is

say that the tone of a violin

is

different

mark which

properly signifies the written


is

But
tinsio7t,

it

indicates

be played or sung, and not the sound

to

may

and the

be answered that tone (Gr.


effect

of tension

Hence

is

string.

sound with reference only to

fore, in particular, to

and has

what musical

itself.

roi/os)

word may

sound of a

the

clarinet,

Again, note

really

means

to determine the pitch of the

to denote a

^ pitch,

fact

when we

as

from that of a

or that any instrument has a good or bad tone.

sound

In

often used with express reference to that very

its

naturally be used

pitch

and there-

denote a simple sound which has a single

(as will

be seen hereafter) no other distinctive

quality except loudness or softness.


I

And
ition

with respect to

note,

it

from the written mark

habitually

may be answered
to the

that the trans-

thing signified

is

in fact

made, as when we say that a person sings wrong


.

notes.

Again, the written note

is

a direction to sing or play, not

a simple sound, but that particular complex sound which

produced by the voice or by the instrument intended

to

is

be

Notes and Tones.

12
and the

used;

or characteristic

we speak of
16.

particular

sound produced

mark of the kind of

in

is

instrument.

fact

In

this

note

sense

the note of the blackbird or of the nightingale.

For these reasons we

musical sound by the word

shall henceforth
io7ie,

denote a simple

and the elementary sound

of any instrument, such as that of a violin string, an organ-pipe,

human voice, by the word note.


Thus a note will be in general a complex sound, though

or the

may

it

accidentally,

through the peculiarity of a particular

instrument, be simple, or nearly so*.

'

Helmholtz uses the words Klang and Ton to signify compound and

simple musical sounds. We have followed him in adopting the latter


term. But such a sound as that of the human voice could hardly be called
in English a clang, without doing too much violence to established usage.

CHAPTER

II.

MISCELLANEOUS DEFINITIONS AND PROPOSITIONS.

The

Chapter

of this

contents

and statements of

finitions

fact,

chiefly of de-

consist

will

which may conveniently be

introduced here, though partly belonging to a later stage of


the subject.

The word

17.

vihration

may

be used to denote any periodic

change of condition ; especially when, relatively to appropriate


standards of comparison, the change is small, and the period
short.

When

a change

that a period

is

an

is

called periodic,

it

in general implied

is

and

interval of time of constant length,

whatever condition exists at any instant,

is

that

restored after the

lapse of a period.

Thus

the series of changes which

instants separated

by a

happen between any

period, constitute a cycle which

tw(?

con

is

tinually repeated.

The

particular stage of

change which has been reached

any

instant is called the phase of the vibration.

tion

is

said to

The

go through

period

is

all its

And

phases in one period.

also called the time of

vibration.

and frequently does happen, that the changes


periods

grow successively

less,

It

to

a string

itself,

the

the

same

all.

On

is

though remaining similar in

Thus

put into a state of vibration and the^

sound gradually

pitch

may,

in successive

character, while the period continues sensibly unaltered.

when

at

the vibra-

left

dies away, but retains sensibly both

and the same character as long as

the other hand, the period

may

it is

change, as

heard at

when

the

Pitch Dependent on Period.

14
of a

tension

string

diminished while

is

increased

is

said to the contrary,

or

it

is

vibrating.

But when nothing

be understood that the period

When

18.

way, the
ear

is

that

ear

is

always to

heard in the ordinary

But

membrane

of the

has been already seen

it

general resolves a series of vibrations into

in

component

several

which

is

contact with the tympanic

in a state of vibration.

the

The

a musical note (Art. 16)

air in

it

supposed to be constant.

is

produces

having different periods, each of

series

a simple

with

tone

determinate

pitch.

tone produced by the component vibrations of longest


lowest in pitch, and also

period, being the

fundamental

loudest, is called the

tone^

and

its

in

general the

pitch

is

usually

spoken of as the pitch of the note.

We

however, suppose at present that the vibrations are

shall,

of that kind which the ear does not resolve, so that only one
tone

is

heard; and proceed to

state

certain facts relative to

the connection between the pitch of the tone and the period

of the vibrations.

To

we may

avoid circumlocution,

which

call the vibrations

produce any particular tone the vibrations of the tone ; and the
period of the vibrations may be called the period of the tone.
19. If the period of the vibrations be too long,
is

no tone

perceived, but only a succession of distinct impulses which

a peculiar sensation different both from

the ear with

affect

noise and tone.

no sensation

short,

on

If,

at

the other

all

is

hand, the period be too

produced; the sound

is

simply

inaudible.

Different observers have

made

various statements as to the

But

period of the slowest vibrations which produce a tone.


it

is

certain that to

begins

when

the

all

ordinary ears the perception of pitch

number of

vibrations in

where between eight and thirty-two.


point there
the

is

is

somethis

an uncertainty arising from the doubt whether

tone heard

is

really

fundamental,

component tones having a

compound

a second

In experiments on

vibration.

For

it

or only

shorter period
is

one of

the'

than that of the

certainly difficult

and perhaps

Comparison of Intervals.

15

impossible so to arrange the experiment as to be quite sure that


the vibration is of that kind which the ear does not resolve^

The extreme Hmit

in

the contrary direction

In general

different to different ears^

be

no tone

is

known

probable

is

it

to

that^

heard when the number of vibrations in a second

is

exceeds 40,000.

20. Difference of period causes a difference of pitch which

we

by calling

describe

more

tones of shorter period higher, or

and those of longer period lower, or more grave.


The change of pitch which takes place when the period
gradually altered, strikes us as having an analogy to the

acute,

is

Hence we say

gradual change of position of a moving point.


that there

is

an interval between tones of

Suppose P, Q,

are three tones, taken in order of pitch.

Then we

say that the interval from

intervals

from

different pitch.

to

P to i?
to R

and from

the

is

sum

of the

or briefly, that

FR = PQ+QR.
So

we might go

far as this

many

in

the interval between two pains of the

and

ferent intensities,

But

in the

call

one

interval

same kind, but of difthe sum of two others.

we can make

comparison of tones

which we cannot make

other cases of con-

For instance, we might speak of

tinuously varying sensation.

a further step

For we

in the comparison of pains.

can compare with precision the magnitudes of two intervals.

The

decides whether any interval

ear

equal

any other

or less than

to,

of comparing

faculty

intervals

P^

interval
is

21.

But however

made

is

interval

and

P^

is

is

it

which

this

will

may

be,

greater than,

How

far

this

an absolutely simple and

ultimate property of the sense of hearing,


to decide^ for reasons

is

RS.
it

is

not very easy

appear hereafter,
it is

certain that the

judgment

a fact ascertained by experiment that any

judged to be equal to another interval

whenever the periods

(Art. 18) of the

R S,

two tones, F, Q, are to

See his
first observed by WoUaston.
inaudible by certain Ears,' Pkit. Trans, for 1820,
On the audibility of high tones, see Savart in Ann. de Chim. et
p. 306.
de Phys., t. 44, p. 337 ; on low tones, Helmholtz, p. 263.
^

This appears to have been

memoir 'On sounds

16

Measure of

one another

The same

same

in the

ratio as the periods

may

proposition

Intervals,
of the tones

i?,

-S*.

of course be expressed by saying

that the intervals are equal

when

vibrations in a given time

are equal; for the periods are in-

numbers of

the ratios of the

to the numbers of vibrations.


Thus, if
be produced by 200 and 300 vibrations in a second, and
by 600 and 900, then the intervals
are equal,
Q,

versely proportional

Q
S

P,
i?,

300

600

22. In general,

900.

a tone

if

be produced hy

a second, and another tone

by ^

from the proposition of Art. 21 that no

PQ

the

unless

same

the

numbers of

Suppose
higher than

we

PR

higher than P, and

is

is

the

sum

any number taken as a measure

Now

a
the ratios

P Q, Q R, PR,

he

third tone

2.

Then

the

rule as the

measures of

which determine the three

do not

this

fulfil

condition,

for

IS

cannot be

shew.

P Q, QR ; and thereo? P R ought to be the

numbers taken by the same

PQy QR.

let

it

now

shall

of the intervals

of the

follows

tones have

Q^ having r vibrations in a second.

sum

r
?

it

can be equal

its

this ratio determines the interval,

fore

<7

for

interval

of

ratio -

the

ratio.

But although

intervals

vibrations in

P Q]

vibrations

taken as a measure of the interval, as

interval

vibrations,

determines the magnitude of the interval

to

RS

200

for

to -
not equal
^

But

if

we

take for the measure of an interval, not the ratio

of the numbers of vibrations, but the logarithm of that ratio,

r
the required condition

fore

is satisfied

the logarithm of -

is

the

for -

= Q-

sum

r
>c
"^

and there-

of the logarithms

of -

,r-

and

23. If then

/>,

q be the numbers of vibrations, in a given

time, of two tones

P, Q, the logarithm of

taken as a numerical measure of the interval

may

properly be

P Q.

And

in

Names of

Symbolical

Intervals.

17

order to compare the magnitudes of different intervals

compare, not the corresponding

The

those ratios.

base of the system

interval

shall

be

since the logarithm of the base

Thus,

if

we took

(or

is

be

in every system.

we should have log

for the base,

would be the measure of the

for the

f)

may

numerically by

represented

unity,

has

of logarithms

In fact the choice of the base merely de-

any whatever.
termines what

and therefore

we must

but the logarithms of

ratios,

of the vibrations of

ratio

= 1;

which

interval

In

tones.

its

other words, the octave (see Art. 33) would then be the unit-

There would be some advantage

interval.
tically

the base

- cannot be used

the ratio

often convenient to use

is

When
thus,

'

is

it

so used

The

interval

we

it

interval

the

interval

P Q.

interval

not

is

remind
but

->

between two tones P, Q, may, like the


line, be reckoned in two

henceforth

will

P to

Q, or from

to

P; and

this

be indicated by calling the same

P Q or QP accordingly.
if

we

introduce the signs

modern elementary Geometry,


the addition and subtraction of

direction)

may

and

it

is

in the

same way

evident that the rules

straight lines (in the

same

be applied at once to the addition and sub-

traction of intervals.
if

it

the fraction in brackets

measure of the interval

as in

And

name of the

as the

shall inclose

opposite ways, namely, from

for

as a measure,

between two points in a

difference

And

but prac-

the interval (-);' the brackets being intended to

the reader that

25.

in this;

logarithms, of which

10.

is

Though

24.

common

convenient to use the

it is

PyQ,P

Thus,

QP

PQ,otPQ-\-QP

o.

he any three tones whatever, then

PQ+QR= QP-QP;
PQ+QP + PP = &c.

PjR =

o,

26. In designating any interval by the corresponding ratio


as a

name, we

shall put that

number

in the

denominator which

Addition and Subtraction.

is

proportional to the

from which

Thus, 'the

(^)'

interval

f-V

P Q^

mean

will

- being taken

also log

P
will

vibrations producing the tone

reckoned.

is

while 'the interval

mean QP,

will

Then

number of

the interval

measure of

P Qy log p ^

QP

be the measure oi

as the

with

its

proper sign

for log

- =
'

-logf.
P
The equations

PR ^ PQ+QR, PR
and

- =

T
Q
-=-x-j

P
'--^
q

QR-QP,

compared

shew

addition

that

subtraction of intervals correspond to multiplication

division of ratios

the

with

and

words addition and subtraction being no

longer restricted to their arithmetical sense, but used in the

same way

geometry of a straight

as in the

In fact

only another

this is

of the ratio

way

line.

of saying that the logarithm

a proper measure (both as to magnitude and

is

sign) of the interval.

from the conventions above made, that those

follows,

It

intervals are to

be considered positive which are reckoned from

a lower to a higher tone

than unity

is

be

27. It will

the expression

The

tones

is

incident

A
some
for

interval the

in itself

theoretically

is

call

the

ratio of the interval,'

ratio

though

unmeaning.

capable of unlimited subdivision by the

of intermediate

to the

'

between the lowest and highest audible

power of the ear

as there

is

interval

interposition
to the

since the logarithm of a ratio greater

convenient abridgment to

which determines an
28.

positive.

tones,

though

there

is

a limit

to distinguish nearly coincident tones,

power of the eye

to distinguish nearly co-

tints.

series

of tones at

finite

definite law, is usually

intervals,

selected

and appropriately

according to

called a scale

the selected tones are the steps of a ladder

by which we

ascend from a lower to a higher pitch.

scale

formed by taking an unlimited succession of tones,

Harmonic

Scale.

19

produced by vibrations of which the numbers


are proportional to

We

Harmonics.

i, 2, 3, 4, &c., is called

shall

henceforward

a given time)

(in

the scale of

refer to

it

Natural

simply as 'the

harmonic scale/

The

different notes

which can be produced from a simple

tube, used as a trumpet, belong to a scale of this kind.

each note of the trumpet, of the

human

And

voice, of a vibrating

string, in short

every musical note produced in any of the most

usual ways,

compounded of simple tones

is

a harmonic
chanical
state

The

scale.

be given afterwards;

principles will

them

facts
at

on me-

present

we

as a reason for giving here a general view of this

primary and fundamental


29.

also belonging to

explanation of these

The

scale.

absolute pitch of the lowest or fundamental tone

may be any
as the lowest

of a

we choose

If

whatever.

a second for the period of

this tone,

modern

it

the thirty-third part of


will

have the same pitch

pianoforte, according to a standard

now very commonly adopted^. (If we chose a different period


we should of course merely transpose the scale without altering
the intervals.)

The

series of tones

wiU then begin as follows

128456

2s:

^
=:

89

J?^

-^

^^

er

Pb

c'

^
d'

C,

g
i

32

11

10

13

^-Tj^

The numbers

14

16

15

^^=^

.&c.

tf

g'

written

above the notes

a'

c"

b'

l7b'

are

the

numbers of

vibrations in the thirty-third part of a second.

This

is

the

German

pitch.

In England there

standard.

C 2

is at

present no uniform

Names and

20

Those notes which

Ratios

marked with an

are

asterisk

do not

exactly represent the corresponding tones, but are the nearest

which the modern notation

representatives

The

30.

below the notes

letters

German

those used by

writers.

are,

In

supplies.

with a slight alteration,

this

system of notation, C,

D, E, F, G, A, B, represent the seven notes beginning with the

second

(reckoning upwards) of a modern pianoforte, or the

lowest note of a violoncello.

The

octaves above these notes are represented by the small

letters c, d, e,

f,

g, a, b.

Thus, c

is

the lowest note of a viola,

and the lowest c of a tenor voice; and g

the lowest note of

is

a violin.

Higher notes than b are represented by putting


the small letters

below the

and lower notes than

capitals.

tone by an octave

acc^^its

above

by putting accents

Each accent above a small letter raises the


and each accent below a capital lowers the

tone by an octave.

Thus, g"

is

the lowest
3 2 -foot

fortes is

from

the highest

g of an ordinary soprano

of a modern pianoforte, and C,,

of an organ.

to

a'''',

The compass

is

of the newest piano-

future,

b,

the reader

is

and b instead of

b.)

t?

31.
scale

voice, C,

the so-called

&c.

As we shall use this notation for the


recommended to become familiar with it.
(German writers use h instead of our
our

is

The

intervals

between the several tones of the harmonic

have in a few cases received names

derived from the

places of the tones in the diatonic scale (Art. 35).

The most

important of these intervals, with their

Octave

C,

Fifth

Fourth

Major

third

Minor

third

g
bb*

G
c
e

g
t?b*
c'

ratios, are

of Important Intervals.
Major second

c'

Minor second

d'

Diatonic semitone

The two

b'

The major and minor second


but

tones ;

is

it

tone in two senses.

c"

y
yf

often called major

are

by

restricted to a finite

desirable to avoid the use of the

Other intervals (such as the

and
word

sixth, &c.),

in the

above

list,

be omitted for the present.

32.

The second and

scale are

The second

harmonics* of the

tone

or funda-

first

the first harmonic^ the third

is

and so on.
If we take any tone of the harmonic
is

harmonic

following tones of the

all

often called the

mental tone.
tone

e'

often used both

formed by addition and subtraction of those

may

d'

not formally recognized in

intervals (J), (f) are

modern music, though they are probably


singers and by players on instruments not
number of notes.
minor

%\

the second harmonic,

mental tone, the whole series of

scale as a

harmonics

its

will

new fundabe found

in

the original scale.

Thus

the series 3, 6, 9,

the third tone

and

, in,

gives the

harmonic

....

distinguishes the

affected

scale of the th tone.

we may here
first

When we compare

gives the harmonic scale of

^n, 4n,

33. Omitting for the present

of other intervals,

in general the series

any discussion of the character


notice a peculiar property which

interval in the

two tones which

harmonic
differ

by a certain sense of sameness, which we do not

supposed explanation of

cussed hereafter

but,

whether

it

are

feel in

it

be a multiple of an

this

property will be dis-

the case of any other interval unless


octave.

scale, the octave.

by an octave, we

be explicable or not,

it

entitles

the octave to be regarded as a natural unit (see Art. 23) with

which other

intervals

may be compared.

gives a periodic character to the scale

At

the

same time

it

every tone which has

occurred once seems to occur again and again at equal intervals.

Bisection of Intervals,

22
34. If

we compare

the intervals into which any two succes-

harmonic scale are divided, we see that

sive octaves of the

every interval between consecutive tones in one octave


into

two

The law

of this subdivision

is

divided

n-\- 1

now

words (see

Art.

two mtervals

26) the

interval (

j,

and

2n
is

),

2+2

2n

it

in the next higher octave;

ratio

always of the form

is

2+I

2n

two

into these

2+2

The

worth observing.

of the interval between consecutive tones


-f-I

is

intervals in the next higher octave.

-{-

the

is

other

sum

of the

in tact divided

for in that octave

occur three consecutive tones corresponding to the numbers

2+i, 2+25

2,

Thus, the
octave,

first

c, is

of vibrations.
octave, C,

divided into a

In the third octave the

and a minor

C,

fifth,

f=f

third,

undivided.

is

fifth

The second

and a

fourth,

g, is

divided into a major

=fXf

>

divided into two intervals, (J), (f),


which have not received names. In the fourth octave the major

whilst the fourth,

third, c'

e', is

c',

is

divided into a major and a minor second.

Thus every interval is


the word half may be

T = F ^-E ^ s
divided into a major and minor half

be called the law of natural

the major

bisection^

(if

may

so used), according to a law which

half being

always the lower.


35.
but

it

The
will

theory of

artificial scales

be useful to

state,

actual construction of the

modern

diatonic major scale.

take two tones at an interval of a

tone which bisects the


c,

e,

g^

we

triads

fifth,

common

chord.

one above another, so

the lowest of the second,

If

we

and the intermediate

naturally (Art. 34), for example,

fifth

obtain three tones which

produce a triad or

is

cannot be discussed here

without reference to theory, the

when sounded together


if we take three such

And

that the highest tone of the

first

and the highest of the second the

Diatonic Scale.
we

lowest of the third,

i%

obtain seven tones, rising one

above

another by alternate major and minor thirds, thus

e
6

T
Lastly,

we

if

5"

5^

r
6

"5

take the lowest tone (c) of the middle triad as

the so-called ionic or

first

tone of the scale, and bring

all

the

other tones within the compass of an octave by substituting


a,

d, for F,

scale, to

A,

we

d',

which an eighth

usually added, thus

(viz.

c, d, e,

f,

obtain the seven tones of the diatonic


the octave of the tonic)

c',

is

g, a, b, c'.

f,

Returning, however, to the above system of triads,

let

us find

the ratios of the intervals from the lowest tone, F, to each of

This

the other tones.

be done by successive multiplication

will

we

of the ratios f 4, &c. (Art. 26), and thus


lowing ratios for the intervals
,

Here
If

A,

T>

T>

2>

e,

c,

g,
9

1_5

b,

d'.

45

2_7

T' iF'

the ratio written under each tone

is

from

F,

obtain the

fol-

that of the interval

to that tone.

we reduce

denominator,

all

viz.

these fractions to the least possible


i6, the

numbers proportional

numerators

to the

will

numbers of

common

be the smallest whole


vibrations of the cor-

responding tones, thus


F,

A,

c,

e,

g,

b,

d'.

i6,

2o,

24,

30,

36,

45,

54.

Recollecting
that of F, &c.,

now that the number of vibrations of f is double


we obtain the following series for the diatonic

scale

The

36.

c,

d,

e,

f,

g,

a,

b,

c'.

24,

27,

30,

32,

36,

40

45,

48.

tones of the diatonic scale have

names, of which
or

first

it

is

sufficient to

tone of the scale, the dominant or

subdominant or fourth tone.


tonic,

all

mention

the dominant,

and

received technical

three, viz. the tonic


fifth

tone,

and the

Thus, in the above scale c

f the

subdominant.

is

the

of Diato7iic

Relatiofi

24
37.

The

tones of a diatonic scale, having for their actual

numbers of

vibrations those given at the

end of Art 35, belong


which the funda-

evidently to the harmonic scale (Art. 28), of

This fundamental tone

mental tone has one vibration.

is

five

octaves below the subdominant, for ^^ = (f )^.


Hence, neglecting the difference between tones which differ

by a whole number of octaves, we may say


scale is selectedfrom the

This proposition

is

that the diatonic

harmonic scale of its subdominant.

to be understood merely as the statement

and not as involving any theory of the

of a mathematical fact,

actual derivation of the scale.

The
bers

diatonic scale can only be represented in whole

when

by 3 and

number of

the

no

tonic

is divisible

numboth

any harmonic scale contains the

that

of the

octaves)

their

(or

amongst

its

8.

Hence we may say


tones

vibrations of

diatonic

of

scales

tones which correspond to multiples of

its

all

those

and of

3,

others.

The

series of multiples of 3, viz. 3, 6, 9, 12,

harmonic scale which has

for

....

gives a

fundamental tone the third

its

tone of the original scale.

may

Thus, every harmonic scale


diatonic scales of

third

its

be said to contain the

and of

tone,

all

the harmonics of

that tone.

38. Returning

now

to

the series of whole

represent the diatonic scale (Art. 35),

we

numbers which

find for the intervals

between successive tones of the scale the following


c

d.
e

f ..

ga

b.
39. In

..d,
.

e.

..f,

-g.
a.

..b,

c,

this

tetrachords,

scale

c, d, e, f;

II = 1
f? =

ratios

(major second),

(minor second),

M H

(diatonic semitone),

If = 1

(major second),

40

(minor second),

t* = 1
It =

(major second),

the octave
g,^a, b, c',

(diatonic semitone).
is

divided into two so-called

separated by the major second

Harmonic

to
f

These tetrachords are

g.

Scale.

25

nearly, but not exactly, alike

and upper tetrachords are

for the intervals in the lower

(lower) major second, minor second, semitone;

(upper) minor second, major second, semitone.

Hence, the upper tetrachord of the scale of c

in the latter scale

is

not exactly

is

identical with the lower tetrachord of the scale of

for the

a major second above g, and in the former

a minor second only.

The

a of the scale of c

therefore

is

than that of the scale of g by the difference between

flatter

a major

and a minor second.

comma ; and

comma

the ratio of a

9.10
"8

A comma

9"

nearly equal to the

is

tone ; for (f J)^

These

This difference

is

details

is

called

is

26)

(Art.

81
8"0-

part of a diatonic semi-

fifth

nearly equal to ^|.

belong more properly to another chapter; but

they have been given here in order to shew at once, by a simple

example, the imperfection of the ordinary musical notatibn for


but practical purposes.

all

made

are

The

to serve for the scales

say nothing of other scales;


ordinarily used,

a and the note

letter

both of c and

whereas in

and the notes on the

fact

stave,

'(^^

..

g, to

the letters, as
are capable of

representing accurately one diatonic scale and no more.

The whole
on

structure, however, of

modern music

the possibility of educating the ear not merely

ignore,

but even in

deviations

relation

between

intervals

founded

to tolerate or

pleasure

in,

slight

and numerical

ratios

scale.

be illustrated by the curve called the logarithmic (or equi,

This curve (see Fig.

angular) spiral.
tions,

i) consists

of convolu-

of which the number reckoned from any point, either

inwards or outwards,

is infinite.

continually nearer to a point


actually reaches.
limit.

take

to

from the perfection of the diatonic

40. The

may

some degree

is

Outwards,

Inwards, the curve approaches


(called the pole),

it

These two properties are

But the curve

in question

straight lines be

which

it

never

recedes from the pole without

common

to

many

spirals.

has this particular property, that

drawn from the pole

to

if

any two points on the

Graphic Representation

26

curve, the logarithm of the ratio of their lengths


to the angle

between them.

It follows

lengths of any two such lines, as

proportional

is

(Art. 23),

that

OA, OB, be taken

if

the

to repre-

AOB

sent

numbers of

may

be taken as a measure of the interval between the tones

produced by those

vibrations in

a given time, the angle

vibrations.

\a

J''

Fig.

The

I.

curve can be so drawn, and

is

so

drawn

that a complete revolution doubles the distance

Thus,

Oa

is

point, starting
its

double of

from

distance from

OA, and

Od

in the figure,

from the

of Oa, &c.;

pole.

so that a

and following the curve outwards, doubles

whenever

it

crosses the line

OA

produced,

Scale.

of
that

is,

whenever

it

27
But,

completes a revolution.

when

the

number of vibrations is doubled, the tone is raised an octave.


Hence the angle described in a complete revolution, that is,
and any fracfour right angles or 360, represents an octave
tion or multiple of four right angles represents the same fraction
;

or multiple of an octave.

We

may,

consider

therefore,

point, following

curve

the

and
drawn

outwards, to represent a tone continually rising in pitch;


successive passages of the point through any given line

from the pole

will represent

Thus

cessive octaves.

passages of the tone through suc-

the geometrical periodicity of the curve

presents to the eye a sort of picture of the periodicity perceived

by the ear

The
scale

in a continuously rising tone.

representing the intervals used in the diatonic

angles

cannot (with the exception of the octave) be exactly

expressed in degrees, minutes, and seconds


.second, they are as follows^:

but, to the nearest

360 o o
210 35 II

Octave
Fifth

Fourth

Major

third

Minor

third

149 24 49
115 53 38

94 41 33
61 10 22

Major second
Minor second
Diatonic semitone

54 43 16
33 31

(Comma)

6 27

' The equation to the curve


is r =
tores in the ratio oi m:n, we have

2 2

m
=2

hence,

if r,

r\ be two radii vec-

27r

hence

$ =

211

^
,

log 2
which gives the angular measure of the corresponding interval.
the

fifth,

hence the angle

Thus, for

(in degrees) is

log
6^0 ^

3- log

log 2
angles being known for the fifth and the fourth, the rest of those which
occur in the diatonic scale can be found by addition and subtraction.

The

Division of Octave into Atoms.

28

41. In Fig.

the letters represent the tones of three octaves

of the diatonic

scale.

It

may

be observed that the same figure

might be used to represent a descending instead of an ascend-

The

ing scale.
portional

to

would then be pro-

distances from the pole

the periods^ of the tones,

or (as will be shewn

hereafter) to the lengths of the strings, of given kind

The

which produce them.

tension,

and given

angles would then have to

be taken in the reverse order.


42.
is

more usual mode of representing

by parts of a

straight line, of

represent an octave.

When

intervals graphically

which the whole

this

method

is

is

assumed

adopted

it

is

to

con-

venient to divide the octave line into equal parts, of which the

number

is

approximately the product of some power of lo by

the logarithm of

being 10^
the

Thus,

if

measured by n

interval

..

2.

we

Conversely, the

of that interval.

divisions will

number of

Thus, a

comma

1000 X logf^ = 5
division

it

into

301 parts (301

be,

approximately,

divisions representing

any

be 1000, multiplied by the logarithm of the ratio

interval will

divide

log 2 nearly) the logarithm of the ratio defining

on

this

will

be represented by

divisions nearly.

scale corresponds to

something more than

a degree on the scale described in Art. 40.

Dr.

Young

divided

and Mr. De Morgan has proposed


An atom would be very
to call each of these parts an atom.'
(See De Morgan,
nearly equal to 43'' on the scale of Art. 40.

the octave into 30,103 parts,

'

On

the Beats of Imperfect Consonances,'

vol. X. p. 4.)

Camb. Phil. Trans.

CHAPTER

III,

COMPOSITION OF VIBRATIONS.
43.

The

simplest type of periodic motion

afforded by a

is

point describing a circle with a constant velocity.

For

this is

and the change

the only kind of motion in which the velocity

of direction are both uniform.

Such a motion may be considered as the simplest possible


vibration of a point (Art. 17).

We

shall call

it,

for the present,

a simple circular vibration.


44. The vibration of a point, in its most general form, may
be defined as motion in a curve which returns into itself, with

a velocity which

is

always the same at the same point of the

curve.

Suppose the curve

to

be plane, such,

for instance,

as in

Draw arbitrarily any


two axes, OX, OF. (It is imFig.

I.

material whether they

meet

From P,

the curve or not.)

the position of the

moving

point at any time, draw

PM,

OF, OX.
AsP moves round and round

PN,

parallel

to

the curve, the point

will

move backwards and forwards


in the line

OX

riodic rectilinear
is,

will

vibrations.

tions in

with a pe-

motion; that

perform

In the same way

O V,

Fig.

I.

rectilinear

will

perform

rectilinear vibra-

Composition and Resolution

30

The

curvilinear vibration of

rectilinear vibrations of

In

fact, if

we

placement

O N,

is

M and N.

said to be compounded of the

consider /* as a point displaced from 0, the disis

compounded of

M,

the two displacements

in the sense explained in Art. 9.

It is evident that

any

may in this manner be


component rectilinear vibrations, in an infinite
and the character of each component depends

given vibration of a point in a plane


resolved into two

ways

variety of
in general

When

upon

the directions of both the axes.

nothing

is

said to the contrary,

axes are rectangular.

OX
is

and the

In

vibration of

this

case

it

PM

is

assumed

is

that the

perpendicular to

(the orthogonal projection of

P)

then called absolutely ihe rectilinear component, in the direction

O X,

of the vibration of P.

Any

45.

may

be

rectilinear vibrations

by

vibration of a point, whether plane or not,

similarly resolved into three

component

OX, OF, O Z. The point AT, in


O X, is then determined by drawing P parallel to the plane
Y O Z. The projections of P on OY, O Z, are to be found in
taking three arbitrary axes,

same way, mutatis mutandis.

the

We

46.

will

now

when

return to the case of a simple circular

Such a

vibration (Art. 43).

vibration

is

completely determined

four things are given

(i)

(2)
(3)

The period, or time of describing the whole circle.


The radius of the circle.
The position of the moving point at some one

given

instant.

(4)

The

direction

of motion (whether right-handed

^ ^,

or

left-handed ^t:^"^.

The
an

any

is defined by the angle between


and the radius of the moving point at

phase of the vibration

arbitrary fixed radius


time.

Hence, the

third of the

saying that the phase

is

above data

may be

given at a given instant.

datum will seldom have to be referred to.


Through the centre of the circle (Fig.

2)

expressed by

The

fourth

draw any two

of Circular Vibrations,

31

OX, OF, and from P, the position of the


moving point at any time, draw P M, P N, perpendicular to
(The origin is taken at the centre for convenience,
the axes.
rectangular axes,

but

it

where.)

might

be any-

P de-

Then, as

scribes the circle with a

uniform motion,

vi-

A',

brates in the line

and iV in
evident

B B",

and

it is

two

these

that

rectilinear vibrations are

perfectly similar.

Vibrations of the kind

performed by
that

is,

N,
com-

or

rectilinear

ponents of simple

cir-

cular vibrations, are dis-

tinguished by

many

re-

markable properties, and

may

properly be considered as the

This

simplest kind of rectilinear vibrations.


clearly as

we

by

from which

OP, and

to

circle,

and a

for the angle

Suppose the time,

taken as a fixed direc-

measure the angle 6 {pi

ON =
sage of

K,hQ

K O P) described

suppose the direction of the motion to be such

that d increases with the time.

of the

appear more
,

47. Let an arbitrary radius,


tion

will

proceed.

/,

is

through K, and

Then, putting a

for the radius

KO A, we have

^sin(^

a).

reckoned from the instant of a paslet

r be the period of the vibration,

Then the time


or time of describing the whole circumference.
a
t, and when the moving point
of describing the arc

KP
'\?>

is

at

the value of

must be

t
2

whole number;

whence we have Q

\-nTj

n being some

71

27r/

znn.

Intro-

Rectilinear Vibrations.

3
ducing

O JV

this value

^yj'we

ill

like

fact,

M=

we should

^,

= acQ)?>(

<z

sm

at

the

find

a);

f-

27r/
(

{2)

77

ha):
^

and y take the same values

the value of

at time / is the

so that the first vibration


)
4
of a period behind the second.
H

(i)

seen that both (i) and (2) represent vibrations of the same

kind, but that

h a\

the latter equation be put in the form

if

In

asmy

manner, putting

it is

putting-

/.

In

and,

N, and

the above value of

which determines the position of TV

as the equation

time

of Q

find

same as

may be

at different times.

that of j/ at time

said to be a quarter

48. Vibrations of the kind considered in the

last

article,

namely, rectilinear vibrations in which the displacement of the

moving point

at the time /

can be represented by an expression

of the form
2T;t

sm (^'

a),

(3)

may be conveniently called rectilinear harmonic vibrations.


The constant a is called the amplitude, because its value

is

that of the greatest displacement.

The

2 Tit

angle

j-

is

called

the phase of the vibration.

The

constant a

is

therefore

known

if

the phase at any given

time be given.

49.

rectilinear

harmonic vibration can be resolved into

two others of the same kind

in

an

infinite

variety of ways.

Usually the directions of the two components are taken at right


angles to

one another.

In

this

case the component of (3)

Composition of Vibrations,
(Art. 48), in a direction

of

making

the angle

33

with the direction

(3), is evidently

/2'nt

a cos

a>

V o-y

sin

^^

Composition of Vibrations,
50.

harmonic vibrations

Rectilinear

may

be compounded

according to the general law of the superposition of displace-

ments explained in Art.


are those in which the
(i) in tne

same

The two

9.

cases of most importance

two vibrations
in

direction, (2)

be compounded are,

to

directions at right angles to

one another.
First,

then,

let

the vibrations be in the

case the resultant displacement

this

sum of the component


tions be represented

is

displacements.

If the

the resultant displacement will be represented

asm(^

This expression

component

t./Stt/
^smf 7- +

mensurable; for

direction

is

be increased by any

in

vibra-

aj

periodic

^\
/3jj

by the sum

+ 3sm^y- + &y
if

the periods r

and

t'

be com-

value will then evidently be unaltered

its

by the expressions

\
(21:1 1-aj,

CL-^

same

simply the algebraical

common

multiple of t

and /.

But

if /

does

it

not in general admit of any useful reduction.


If,

however, the periods

equals the resultant

the

same

period.

r, r',

motion

For

of the

is itself

component

vibrations be

a harmonic vibration having

in this case the

may

above expression

be written in the form


(a cos a-\-h cos ^) sin

and

this is identical

provided

and

1-

( sin a

-f-

3 sin ^) cos

with

B be so taken that
cos B = a cos a-\-h cos ^,
sin a -H ^ sin
sin B =

A
A

fl

/3,

~
r

Composition of Vibrations

34

which equations are

= Va^

-,

^^'^

a^ cos

(a

^),

+ 3 sin 3
-J
+ ocosp

a sin a

= tan~^

a cos a

may suppose

where we

by

satisfied

be

square root to

the

taken posi-

tively.

The

value of A^ the

amplitude of the resultant vibration,

depends both on the amplitudes

and

tions,

also

on the angle

of the component vibra-

a, b,

which

a-*^j3,

is

the difference

of their

phases.
If

= o, the component vibrations

same phase, and


is

the
If

= a

always in the

sum of the amplitudes of the components.


a^^^ = IT, one of the component vibrations

period behind the other, and


the resultant

In

are

^ / or the amplitude of the resultant

is

a =

then

b,

vibrations completely destroy


51. Next, let the

one another, and

T =
X

half a

the difference of amplitudes of the components.

this latter case, \^

nience

is

= a-^b; or the amplitude of

component

',

o,

and the component

vibrations be at right a^igles to

be

their periods

let

A.

one another.

r, t';

putting for conve-

we may represent them by

the equations

sin (/

+ a),

and these are the co-ordinates,

at

= b

sin

(7 -j-

the time

/,

^),

of the moving

point (see Art. 48).

The

equation to the locus of the point would be found by

eliminating / between

two equations.

these

The

elimination

can, theoretically, be performed so as to lead to an algebraical

equation between
surable,

and y, whenever r and r aye commen-

though the process

impracticable except in simple

is

cases.

The

simplest case of

component
/

all

is

that in

which the periods of the

We

have, then, to eliminate

vibrations are equal.

between the two equations

^ a sin

{ni

-j-

a),

=--

b sin {ni

0)

(4)

at Right Angles.

^^

from them we have

and

if

cos a

sm nt

+ sm a cos ni

cos

sin /

j3

j8

cos / =

-^

;'^

the values of sin/, cosnt, be found from these equa-

and the sum of

tions,

sin

= ->
a

be equated to

squares

their

i,

the

result is

^ + y.-'^i^^(<'-|3)-^ri^a-p) =

o.

(5)

52. This equation always represents an ellipse, which

however degenerate into a

(when the axes are

circle

a straight line (when the length of one axis

The dimensions and


the amplitudes {a, b)

component

the

is o).

position of the ellipse

and the

depend only on

difference of phases (a-^^/S) of

component vibrations are


a ^ = o, the equation

If the

vibrations.

may

equal), or

always in the same phase, that

if

is,

becomes
'X

j/>2

(1-1)='
and

the ellipse degenerates into a straight line, or,

into

two coincident

Again,

straight lines.

if

more

a^^i3 =

strictly,
77,

that

one of the component vibrations be half a period behind


the other, the equation becomes

is,

if

/X
i-a

and the locus


If a -*-

/3

is

y^

+V

again a straight

= - or
,

that

"'
.

line.

is, if

one component be a quarter

of a period behind the other, the equation becomes

I
b^

and the axes of the ellipse coincide with the


component vibrations.
63.

It is

directions of the

evident from equations (4) that the ellipse described

Case of Equal Periods,

3^

by the vibrating point is always inscribed in a rectangle, of


which the sides are 2 a, 2 b, since the extreme values of x and

_y are

a,

+3

from equation

(see Fig. 3).

(5)

for if in

may

This

be formally proved

that equation

we put

-=

b,

the

result is

/X

(shewing that the

- cos (a -

s}
i3)

=0,

meets the line^ - ^ in two coincident

ellipse

points (as at Q), of which the abscissa


larly,

by putting

j?

we

find

is

a cos (a ^).

^cos(a /3)

Simi-

for the ordinate

of the point of contact R.

When

a = p,

and i? coincide

nerates into the diagonal


rates in like

An
mined
if

manner

into the diagonal

ellipse inscribed in
if

at C,

/3

ellipse
tt, it

dege-

degene-

DI/.

a given rectangle

one point of contact be given.

the angle a

and the

CC"; and when a^^fi =


is

completely deter-

Hence,

varied continuously from o to

it

follows that

-tt,

the ellipse

would pass continuously through every form capable of being


inscribed in the rectangle

D CU C

including the two dia-

gonals as extreme cases.


54. Let us
cylinder, of

now suppose

which

DC,

B B"

C U are

(Fig. 3) to

be the axis of a

the circular ends seen edge-

wise by an eye placed at a distance in a line through

per-

General Case,

Suppose also the cylinder

pendicular to the plane of the paper.

and

to be transparent,

have marked on

to

made by

of a section

surface the trace

its

a plane touching the circular edge of

This section would be an

each end.

3X

ellipse,

which, as seen by

the eye, would be orthogonally projected into another ellipse


inscribed in the rectangle

D C If C

turned uniformly about

its

axis,

its

possible forms in such a

evidently

go through

that the distance

BQ

all

And

if

the cylinder were

inscribed

this

would be equal

would

ellipse

manner

a multiplied by the

to

cosine of a uniformly varying angle*

Comparing
that

when

a perfect representation

gives

change undergone by the

which

ellipse

harmonic vibrations

rectilinear

component

one another,

vibrations varies

the angular velocity of the rotating cylinder being

equal to the rate of variation of the difference of phase.

BQ

^ acos{a

55.

see

of the

the resultant of two

is

at right angles to

the difference of phase of the

uniformly;

we

these results with those of the last article,

construction

this

(For

&)).

similar construction

may

more general case of any two

be employed in the

much

vibrations of

which

rectilinear

the periods are commensurable, and of which one, at least,

harmonic

is

a case which could rarely be treated algebraically

'{Art. 50).

For the sake of


harmonic vibration

clearness, let us suppose the direction of the


to

be horizontal, or in the axis of x.

vibration will therefore be represented


tion of the

This

47) by an equa-

form

= asin (

Lety denote any periodic


and such that/" (2) = f{z +
may

(Art.

f-

function,
2

7r).

a)

(6)

which

Then

is

always

finite,

the vertical vibration

be represented by an equation of the form

y-fQf^^\
Let us also suppose the ratio of the periods

nr = MTy

Now

let

and n being

(7)
r,

to be

such that

integers.

a curve be drawn in which the abscissa of any point

Representation by

^S
is

proportional

the time

to

and the ordinate

/,

sponding value of J/ given by equation

AB

= T,

curve.)

the corre-

is

which

(Fig. 4, in

(7).

may be taken to represent two periods


And suppose the unit-line to have been

of such a

chosen

so

Fig. 4.

that a line equal

AB

n x

to

shall

a rectangular

be equal to

circumference of a circle of which the radius

times the

a.

is

then,

If,

of paper were cut out, containing exactly

slip

n periods of the curve,


cylinder of radius a.

could be rolled

it

We

times round a

should thus obtain a complicated

Suppose the whole to

curve on the surface of the cylinder.

manner explained
53 then if a point P were to describe the curve in
such a manner that the projection of P on the base of the
become

transparent,

in Art.

and

to be viewed in the

cylinder should describe

the circumference of the circle uni-

would

formly, the horizontal motion of

Py

as seen

by the

be a harmonic vibration, while

its

vertical

motion would be

by equation

identical with that defined

zontal vibrations

(7).

would be completed

in

eye,

Moreover,
the

hori-

same time as n

vertical vibrations.

Hence
tical

the apparent co-ordinates of

with the values of

and

vided the cylinder were turned

such a position as to give

one instant

P would

be always iden-

in equations (6)

and

necessary) about

(if

its

(7),

and j/ corresponding values

and thus we should

get, as before,

pro-

axis into
at

any

a perfect repre-

sentation of the resultant vibration.

56.

An

alteration in the value of either of the angles

a or ^

(equations (6), (7)) would alter the time at which the corresponding vibration passes through a given phase, and cause
different values of

x and^

to

become contemporaneous.

And

transparent Cylinder,
same

the

effect

cylinder about

would be produced

its

new

axis into a

39

to the eye

by turning the

position.

Thus,

if

a were changed into a

same as

if

the cylinder were turned backwards (that

e,

the effect

would be the
is,

with a

motion contrary to that of the projection of F) through an


angle

since in either case the passage of the horizontal vibra-

6,

would be accelerated by a time

tion through a given phase

r,

277

would have the same


an equal acceleration of the horizontal vibration ; now,

retardation of the vertical vibration

effect as
if j3

were changed into

and

this

/3

e',

the retardation would be

1\
277

or

would be equal

to the former acceleration, if

cY = e t,

-,e.

Hence, a change of ^ into

iS

e'

is

equivalent to a change

J-

of a into a \

',

that

is,

to a turning of the cylinder

backwards

through an angle

',

or

e'.

57. Since the curve rolled on the cylinder


similar

portions,

the angular distance between

pomts on two consecutive portions


Hence,

if

pro-

would go continuously through

possible forms during a rotation of the cylinder through

the angle

We

277

the cylinder were turned continuously, the

jected curve seen by the eye


all its

is

consists of

corresponding

see also that a uniform variation either of a, or of

would have the

same

effect

as

a uniform

rotation

/S,

of the

cylinder^.

58.

The

to the eye.

results obtained in Arts.

52-55 may be

exhibited

But before explaining the mode of doing

so,

we

* This mode of representing stereoscopically the composition of vibrations


due to M. Lissajous. See his memoir * Sur I'Etude optique des Mouvements vibratoires,' Ann. de Ch. et de Phys., t. 51, p. 147.

is

Case in which the Periods

40

consider the case in which the ratio of the periods of the

will

two vibrations

by a given

nearly, but not exactly, expressed

is

numerical fraction.

Suppose then, as

And

terms).

befofe, that r, t' are given constant

quan-

lowest

= /

such that m';

tities,

(the ratio

suppose that the

n being

in

vibration

is

vertical

its

same

the

as before (see equation (7), Art. 55), but that the horizontal

(harmonic) vibration

so that

its

is

period

is

now

asm

defined by the equation


277

+ ^)/ + a);

(i

no longer

r,

but

slightly

from

now we

If

r, if

put a

= a\ the above equation becomes

a, that

quantity.
still

/27r/

may,

describes the

disturbed

a u

between

equation and

this last

before, except that a

would be changed

into a uniformly varying instead of a constant

is,

We

.\

\-

result of eliminating /

would be the same as

into

will differ

277/^

(7)

^ be a small quantity, positive or negative.

X = asm
and the

which

,i

by the

therefore, consider that the vibrating point

same curve

as before, but that the curve

we

variation of a', just as

describe an ellipse disturbed by the variation of one or

of

is

consider a planet to

more

elements.

its

69.

It

has been

of a would have the

seen (Art.

same

57) that a uniform variation


uniform rotation of the

effect as a

cylinder with an angular velocity equal to the rate of variation

of

case

a, that is, in the

now supposed,

2 Tik

to

and

also that

T
the curve, as seen by the eye, would

go through

all

its

forms

while the cylinder turned through an angle

curve would go through

a time equal to

2 IT

2 "TT

2 TT/v
\

all

its

yOx ~T
nk

'

Suppose
that
^^

Hence

forms

in

M. N.

are the actual

the

num-

are not exactly Equal,


bers, in a unit of time, of the horizontal

then

M=

Now

and JV =

the

in the unit

-,

number of
of time

is

and

41

vertical vibrations

mr

cotnplete cycles of change of the curve

>

and

equal to

this is

nM mN.
This expression

is

(8)

worthy of remark, especially in connection

with the theory of the so-called beats of imperfect consonances,


as will appear afterwards.

The

sign of

nM mN,

being the same as that of

positive or negative according as the ratio


less
is

than

\s>

^,

is

greater or

In the former case, the rotation of the cylinder

n.

backwards ;

M N

in the latter, forwards.

In the particular case in which the periods of the vibrations


are nearly equal, or

simply
of time

60.

M N.
is

Or

m
the

= n =

i,

the

number of

expression (8) becomes

cycles of change in a unit

the difference of the actual numbers of vibrations.

The two

vibrations are

Figures, 5, 6, illustrate the case in which both

harmonic and have the same amplitude, while

Fig. 5.

Fig. 6.

the periods are such that two horizontal vibrations

same time as three

vertical.

periods ; then the curve in Fig.

= a%\n

271/
J

3T

occupy the

Suppose 37, 2r, are the two


5 is defined by the equations

= sm

>

Particular Case discussed.

4^

while in Fig. 6 the

first

equation

is

changed

27r/

= sin

into

-V

(The origin is in each case at the centre of the square.)


These two curves are particular cases of the appearance
presented to the eye by a transparent cylinder having a curve
traced upon its surface in the manner above described, that is,
in the present case, as follows.

periods of the curve j/ = a sin

Let three complete 'waves,' or

2
slip

of paper, so that the axis of

rectangle;

them

will

be drawn upon a rectangular

CL

is

a side of the

parallel to

the length of a rectangle which will just contain

be

477^7,

and such a rectangle can therefore be

twice round a cylinder of radius a.

and the whole

to

become

Suppose

transparent.

Then,

this to
if

rolled

be done,

the cylinder be

held vertically at a distance from the .eye, and turned about


axis, the

curve

will

appear to go through a

which two are represented


into Fig. 6

by a

Fig.

its

of forms of

is

changed

rotation through .30; a second rotation through

30 brings back Fig.


the cylinder

in the figures.

series

5,

with those parts of the curve in front of

which were

at the back,

and

vice versd ;

similar rotation produces Fig. 6 reversed right

fourth reproduces the original Fig. 5.

and

a third

left,

Thus a whole

and a

cycle of

2 TT

forms

is

completed in a rotation through 120, or

(see

A greater number of the forms belonging to this


57).
and other cases of composition of vibrations may be seen
Art.

They were
p. 319.
memoir of Lissajous above cited.
periods of the component vibrations were nearly,

figured in Tyndall's

Lectures on Sound,'

originally given in the

61. If the

but not exactly, in the ratio of 3 to

2,

then (as in Art. 58) the

locus of the vibrating point might be represented by the equations

where

a'

the time.

= a

is

an angle which

sm

Ha)'

y = a sm

varies slowly

and uniformly with

Wheatstones Kalddophone,
In

43

case the path of the point never actually coincides

this

with any curve corresponding to a constant value of


the path of a disturbed planet
if

a',

just as

never actually an ellipse; but

is

the variation of a' be sufficiently slow, the path during one or

more repetitions of the period 3 r will be sensibly the same


if a
were constant, and during a longer time will appear
undergo a continuous change through

all

sponding to constant values of

through

that

a',

is,

as
to

forms corre-

the

all

the forms

presented by the curve on the rotating cylinder.

may

62. These phaenomena


of which

trivances,

be exhibited by various con-

simplest

the

holtz, consists

and improved by Helm-

of two thin and narrow rectangular slips of

same

central axes are in the

their longitudinal

elastic

one

vibrate in

rod

and the other part

The whole

right angles to the former.

position

Thus

formed, of which one part can easily

is

direction,

that

straight line,

while their planes are at right angles to one another.

compound

steel,

manner

or other elastic material, joined together in such a

This

kaleidophone.

the

is

instrument, invented by Wheatstone

by clamping one of the

is

slips in

bright object (such as a silvered bead)

in a direction at

fixed in

an upright

a stand, and a small


attached to the top

is

of the other.
If

now

the rod be disturbed in

parts are bent,

end

will'

tion

is

and then

left

its

the motion of the free

be compounded of vibrations which (when the deflec-

at right angles to

certain limits

period of one component

component may be

by clamping the lower part

altered within

at different points.

two periods are commensurable, suppose them to be

If the
2T, fiT,

The

one another.

depending on the length of the upper part of the rod;

but the period of the other

where the

(the least

ratio

common

resultant vibration,

smaU,

any manner, so that both


itself,

not too great) are sensibly rectilinear and harmonic, and

is fixed,

curve,

to

multiple of

is

and the path of the

described in this period.


e.g.

impression

Then mnr

in lowest terms.

wt and

nr)

is

free

If then

the period of the

end

mnr

is

be

a re-entrant
sufficiently

not greater than about one-tenth of a second, the

on the

retina

made by

the

bright

bead in any

Vibration Microscope.

44

away before the bead comes into


same position again, and the eye sees a continuous bright
curve, more or less complicated according as the numbers m
position has not time to fade

the

and n are greater or

smaller.

If the periods of the


surable, or

component

then the real path of the bead


very complicated
ratio

only by high numbers,

a non-re-entrant curve, or a

is

re-entrant one.

But, in

case, if the

either

approximately expressible by low numbers, the actual

is

appearance to the eye

through

mate

incommen-

vibrations are

their ratio is expressible

if

all

ratio

will

be that of a curve gradually going

the forms which

would be possible

if

the approxi-

were exact, in the manner already explained

(Arts.

56-59).
63. Another method, due to

M.

upon a screen a beam of

ceiving

sively reflected

Lissajous, consists in re-

light

which has been succes-

by two small mirrors fixed

to the ends of

two

tuning-forks vibrating in planes at right angles to one another.

must be observed that the effect in this case depends, not


the motion of translation of the mirrors, but upon their

It

on

angular motion, which, though small, impresses on the reflected

beam a

sufficient deviation to

ment of

the spot of light

64.

The methods

for illustration;

produce a considerable displace-

distant screen.

described in the last two articles are useful

but, for the

following, also devised

The

on a

purpose of exact observation, the

by M. Lissajous,

object-glass of a microscope

is

a tuning-fork, so as to vibrate with


counterpoised

is

much

it,

the other prong being

the axis of the object-glass

the plane of the

vibrations.

The

better adapted.

attached to one prong of

is at

eye-piece

is

right angles to
fixed.

When

the fork vibrates, the image of any stationary luminous point,

formed by the

object-glass, performs also vibrations

very approximately linear and harmonic;


is

image

viewed through the fixed eye-piece, and (the vibrations being

sufficiently rapid)
if

which are

this vibrating

appears as a continuous straight

the luminous point

itself,

line.

rectilinear vibrations at right angles to those of the fork,

the

same

plane, the

image

But,

instead of being stationary, performs

will

and

in

appear as a curve, either inva-

Imaginary Unrolling.

45

form, or changing according to the conditions ex-

liable in

Let us suppose, for clearness, that

plained in Arts. 55, &c.

the vibrations of the object-glass are horizontal, and those of

Then

the luminous point vertical.


vibration of the

depend upon the character of the

the form of the curve will


vertical

the

component, and upon the

horizontal component

hence,

known, the character of the


vibrations

component

the horizontal

image being harmonic, and of given period,


ratio
if

of

its

period to that of

the ratio of the periods be

vertical vibrations

(i.

e.

the actual

of the luminous point) can be inferred from the

observed form of the curve.

In

has been seen that in order that the curve

fact, it

distinctly observable, the periods of th^

must be

tions

some simple

one another

to

ratio.

The

curve

either exactly, or very nearly, in

may

then be supposed to have

been formed by rolling on a transparent

vertical

plane curve in which the (horizontal) abscissa


to the time,

and the

may be

two component vibra-

(vertical)

ordinate

is

is

cylinder a

proportional

equal to the actual

displacement of the vibrating point, at the given time, from

We

its

mean

position.

curve,

which completely defines the actual vibration of the point,


It has been re-

have, therefore, to reproduce this plane

by imagining the cylinder to be unrolled.

marked by Helmholtz that it is easier to see what the result of


would be, when the ratio of the periods is not
because then the cylinder appears
quite exact, than when it is

this unrolling

to turn about
to see

it,

its

axis (Art. 57) so that the observer

so to speak,

on

all sides,

and

is

to disentangle

enabled

from one

another those parts of the curve which are on the front from
those which are at the back^ through the contrary du-ections of
their motion.

65. In reference to this subject, the student will find the


following a useful exercise.

Draw on

slip

of paper two

com-

(Art. 66),

choosing the wave-

length so that the double wave can just be

wound once round

plete

waves of a harmonic curve

a glass cylinder

(e. g.

common

lamp-chimney).

along the curve, so as to obtain a

slip

Cut the paper

of which one edge has

the form of the curve; and then, having rolled this

on

the glass

Experiment

4^
cylinder,
glazier's

mark the glass along the edge of the paper with a


diamond pencil. This is very easily done, and the

curve on the glass


back.

If

now

is

distinctly visible

will

both in fiont and at the

the cylinder be held vertically at a moderate

distance from the eye,

forms

described,

and turned about

its

be seen which would be produced

axis, the series of


if,

tion of the kind described in the last article, the

in

an observa-

luminous point

performed simple harmonic vibrations with a period nearly


equal to half that of the vibrations of the microscope.

Then

vary the experiment by substituting for the harmonic

curve on the paper either one or more waves of any other kind,

and
lines,

particularly of a

zigzag formed

by portions of

straight

thus

Fig.

The same

thing

may

7-

be done with a wave-length so chosen

go two, three, or more times round the


cylinder.
The curve on the glass then becomes more and
more complicated, and the marking with the diamond pencil is

that the paper will

not so easy, on account of the over-lapping of the paper.

The

object

of the exercise

imaginary unrolling, which

is

is

to

practise the

form of the plane curve on the paper from


as seen

on the

cylinder.

eye in the

necessary in order to infer the


that of the curve

(See Helmholtz, p. 139.)

CHAPTER

IV.

THE HARMONIC CURVE.


compounded of

66. If the motion of a point be

harmonic

and of uniform motion

vibrations,

direction of those vibrations, the point

at right angles to the


will describe

a plane curve which

Let the straight

is

called the harmonic curve.

be taken for axis of x^ and

line

of the motion along

velocity

it;

then

nate^

/ shall

will

let

v be the

we may suppose

origin to be so taken that the abscissa of the

any time

rectilinear

in a straight line

be given by the equation

the

moving point at
= vt. The ordi-

be given (Art. 47) by the equation

=^

a sm

/2'n-/

J,

where a and r are the amplitude and period of the harmonic


vibrations.

Eliminating

VT =

A,

we

between these two equations, and then putting

obtain

= a%\Xi\~-

for the equation of the

monly

called the

harmonic curve.

curve of

(i)

J
(It

was formerly com-

sines.')

If a wheel were to turn uniformly about a horizontal axis,

and

at the

same time

to slide uniformly along

it,

the projection

of any point in the wheel upon a horizontal plane would describe such a curve.

Or

end by an oblique plane


and then

if

a wooden cylinder, terminated at one

section,

were smeared with

printer's ink,

rolled over a sheet of white paper, the line

bounding


Harmonic Curve,

48

the blackened part of the paper would be a harmonic curve.

(The proof of

which has

this proposition,

may be left to the


(i) we put x + i\

implied (Art. 53),


If in equation
integer),

of

the value

consists of

an

is

in fact

been already

reader.)

instead of

The

unaltered.

(z

being any

curve, therefore,

of similar waves, thus,

infinite series

Fig.

I.

which are divided symmetrically into upper and under portions


by the axis of x. The distance between corresponding points
of two consecutive waves

is

A,

and the constant

is

the greatest value of the ordinate,

is

which

a,

which

is

called the wave-length ;

called, as before, the amplitude.

The

value of a has

determines

its

no

effect

on

position ; so that a

the form of the curve, but

change

in

a would

shift

the

whole curve along the axis of x.


67.

harmonic curve

is

most

easily

drawn

in practice

by

determining a number of points and drawing the curve through

them by hand.

The

points

may

at (arbitrary) equal distances,

ordinates of points

the

The

on a

circumference into
radius of the

distance

between

circle

an arbitrary number of equal

circle

two

be found by erecting ordinates


and making them equal to the
of arbitrary radius, which divide
parts.

determines the amplitude, and the

consecutive

ordinates

of

the

curve.

Harmonic

Composition of
multiplied

by the number of parts

divided,

the wave-length.

is

into

Curves,

49

which the

circle

is

Compositio7i of Har^nonic Curves.

68. The formation of a resultant curve, in which the ordinate of any point
ordinates of the

The

(Art. 10, &c.).

harmonic

Two

is

sum

the algebraical

component

of the corresponding

curves, has been already explained

case in which the

component curves

are

specially important.

is

harmonic curves which have equal wave-lengths can

always be compounded into another harmonic curve with the

same wave-length.
For

let

the

component curves be

+ay

= a^m{^2i:~

the value of

= ^ sinr2 7r-

in the resultant curve

is

the

sum

^)}

of the values

given by these two equations, and this can be put in the form

y
if

sm(

and y be determined

77-

-f-

(see Art.

yj>

50) so as

to

satisfy the

equations
c cos
f

The

r sin

#
value of

c,

the amplitude of the resultant curve,

^d^
which
a

jS,

y = a cos a-\-b cos j3,


y = sin a -I- <5 sin /3.

may

+ ^' -H

vary from a

ab cos (a

\- b to

which determines the

/3),

a^^b, according

relative

is

to the value

position of the

compo-

nents.

In the particular case in which the amplitudes of the components are equal, and one of them
the other, so that cos(a

/3)

is

i,

half a wave-length before

the value of ^

is

o; or

the resultant curve degenerates into a straight line coinciding

Composition of Harmonic Curves.

50

with the axis of x^ the components completely neutralizing one


another.

68 ^. By means
draw any

of a mechanical contrivance

resultant curve of this kind,

is

it

possible to

formed, as above

i.e.

by compounding two simple harmonic curves. The


components may be chosen in various ways as regards amplitude and wave-length, and the number of compound curves
that can be drawn will be limited only by the mechanical
described,

conditions of the apparatus \

Thus,

the

if

component curves be

y^a^miii:
we can vary

at

f-

y = hm{2'n

a)j

pleasure

the

amplitudes a and

p\^
h,

and the

which the phases of the two curves,


relatively to one another, depend.
We can also give different
values to the ratio m n, and it is on this ratio that the form of

quantities

a and

^ on
:

the resultant chiefly depends, though

an

alteration in the values of

a and

it

should be observed that


or a and

fi,

d,

modifies

it

in

one way or another.


In the accompanying diagrams some of these resultant curves
are shewn.
ticular

No.

gives the simple harmonic curve of a par-

wave-length and amplitude, and No.


of half the

we choose

look upon No.

to

one of the same

Now

wave-length.

amplitude but

(Art.

79),

if

as the 'curve of pressure'

(Art. 5) corresponding to a simple

tone of any given pitch,

then No. 2 will be the curve of pressure for a simple tone

This

an octave above.

will

be so whatever the amplitude

be, for this affects the intensity of the

may

sound only, and not the

pitch.

If

we now compound

these two simple harmonic curves

we

obtain the curve of pressure for the consonance of two simple

tones an octave apart, as shewn in No.

of the resultant

is,

as

we have

The

3.

already said, the

general form

same whatever

be the amplitudes and phases of the components, but (Art. 70)


^ For a description of the instrument the reader
No. 150, 1874.

is

referred to Proc. R. S.

Composition of

Harmonic

Curves.

51

ili^li

illl

10

11

12

M^^^^
I|JDM|||

13A'^f|||j

l0tMK
E

52

Composition of

\\

21'
\

V w

Harmonic

Cui'^ves,

Harmonic Curves,

Composition of
is

This

modified by alterations in the values of either.

is

shewn

any one of which may be

in the four forms given, Nos. 3-6,

when

taken as representing the effect on the ear


is

55

this interval

sounded.

In Nos. 7-10 are shewn the curves of pressure for some of

whose

the intervals

we have

the

fifth

ratios are given in Art. 31.

(3

the minor third (6

No. 8 the fourth

2), in

5), in

(4

Thus, in No. 7
3), in No. 9
:

No. 10 the minor second (10

9).

In these four curves we notice that the nearer the ratio approximates to unity, and therefore the corresponding interval to a

more the curve tends

unison, the
diminish.

No.

This

is

still

81

II the ratio is

better

to periodically enlarge

76 or almost exactly 16

exact the narrowest parts of the curve would


in

No. 12

it

is

the ratio of a

Now

it

nearly in
is

is

55

54, and

in

No. 13

it

is

81

be

all

similar),

80, or (Art.

in

were

(if it

15,

and

Thus

seen in Nos. 11-13.

39)

comma.
a well-known

fact that

when two

simple tones

unison are sounded together, a peculiar throbbing

heard, and the two notes are said to produce

'

These

beats.'

by these enlargements, each beat corwide, and each interval of comparative silence

beats are represented

responding to the
the

to

This

narrow, part of the curve.

is

seen to greatest

advantage perhaps in No. 13, where a single 'beat'

is

repre-

sented.

We

saw above

Nos. 3-6 were

in

that the wave-lengths of the

2:1;

the ratio

but

components

if this ratio

in

be slightly

we have a curve of pressure for the octave when thrown


somewhat out of time. Thus, changing the ratio to 19 9,
we get in No. 14 such a curve, and it is noticeable that it
altered

passes approximately through

and, of course, through

all

all

the forms given in Nos. 3-6,

the intermediate ones besides.

Nos. 15, 16, similar curves are shewn, but the


20 and 81
nearer that of the octave, viz. 39
:

ively,

the

periods

are correspondingly longer.

ratios

In

being

40 respectNo. 17 gives
:

same curve again, but with one component of very small


amplitude.
No. 18 shews the curve corresponding to the
interval of a twelfth thrown a little out of tune, and No.
the

Composition of Harmonic Curves.

54

19 the same, but with one component of half the amplitude

Nos. 20, 21 give the curves corresponding to

of the other.

the intervals 81

55 and 80

61, or nearly 3

and 4

respectively.

We may
marked

remark

in

that

these

all

cases (Nos.

14-21) a

difference exists between the curve of pressure for

interval (such as the octave)

somewhat out of

an imperfect unison such as

is

tune,

and

given in Nos. 12, 13.

an

that for

In the

would appear from the nature of the curve


(cf. No. 16) that no 'beats' would be noticed, i.e. crescendos
and diminuendos such as occur when two notes nearly in tune

former case

it

are sounded together, for the width of the curve remains practically constant, nevertheless

it

is

known

well

such are heard when any simple interval


or

fifth) is

The

thrown a

these curves are


as

little

explanation

is

that in

general

(e.g. twelfth, octave,

out of tune.

probably to be found in the

compounded of

fact that all

simple harmonic curves such

correspond (Art. 14) to simple tones.

Now,

it

is

almost

impossible to obtain such tones, for the sounds produced by


all

instruments are (Art. 12) more or less

when a

fifth is

played on a

violin, besides the

there are also heard the harmonics of each.


either
it

fundamental

is

are also changed,

and the beats

other with which

it

'

When,

therefore,

that ensue are caused

beating

'

thus,

two fundamentals

harmonics belonging to

slightly altered the

harmonic of the one string

compound;

by an

with an harmonic of the

had previously been

in unison.

If

we could

hear two absolutely simple tones nearly an octave apart played


together, there would,

no doubt, be heard a kind of undulation,

but probably of a different nature to the beats they would

produce

if

nearly in unison

^.

69.
68 that any number of
harmonic curves having equal wave-lengths may be compounded
It

evidently follows from Art.

into a single

harmonic curve with the same wave-length, and of

which the greatest possible amplitude

is

the

sum

of the ampli-

tudes of the component curves.


^ For a further discussion of this question the reader is
by Bosanquet. Phil, Mag., fifth series, xi, pp. 420, 492.

referred to a paper

Composition of Harmonic Curves.

r^^

70. If the component curves have different wave-lengths,


they can no longer be compounded into a single harmonic
curve; though,
sultant curve

Suppose

common

be the least

to

A.

the wave-lengths be commensurable, the re-

if

periodic.

is

lengths, so that their actual values are

are integers.

The

multiple of the wave-

>

equation to the resultant curve

asml2 it

\-

where

&C.5

+ osml2 7r-r~ +

is

(^

/,,...

then

which does not admit of reduction; but we see that the value
of J/

unaltered by putting

is

.a;

mon

for x, so that the period or

A.

wave-length of the resultant curve

is

A, that

is,

the least

com-

multiple of the wave-lengths of the components.

If the

have no

component wave-lengths

common

finite

resultant curve

is infinite

multiple,
:

are incommensurable, they

period of the

so that the

in other words, the resultant

is

non-

periodic.

The /brms of the component harmonic curves depend only


on their amplitudes and wave-lengths but their positions depend
upon the constants a, /S, &c. A variation in any one of these
;

shifts

the corresponding curve along the axis;

shifting will evidently alter the

the positions of
altering

its

its

and any such

form of the resultant curve, and

points of intersection with the axis, without

wave-length.

71. If the wave-length only of the resultant be given, the

may

wave-lengths of the components


of

it,

including

the

and the number of the

be

all

possible aliquot parts

one case of an aliquot part;

whole as

possible

components

is

therefore

un-

limited.

Thus every curve which could be

constructed in this manner,

so as to have a given wave-length A, would be found amongst


those produced by placing along the

number of harmonic curves

same

axis

an unlimited

as components, with wave-lengths

A, iA, lA, &c.


It is evident that

components, and

by varying

shifting

arbitrarily the

them

arbitrarily

amplitudes of the

along the

axis,

an

Enunciation of

^6
number of
same wave-length
infinite

resultants could be produced, having


A.

But

the

all

could not be assumed without

it

proof that every possible variety of periodic curve c6uld be so


produced.
This, however (with a limitation to be mentioned below),
true,

and

theorem of Fourier.

constitutes the celebrated

giving a formal enunciation of

we

it,

will

is

Before

define precisely the

meaning of the word axis as used above. Corresponding


points of a periodic curve lie upon a straight fine parallel
a fixed

to

rection

direction.

may

Any

straight line

curve

the

axis

j;

on

= asin(.r

opposite

its

of a

but

that di-

to
it

is

conve-

which cuts off equal areas from

nient to call the axis that line

the

parallel

be called an axis of the curve;

Thus, the axis of

sides.

is

harmonic curve, as defined by the equation


a).

This

being

premised,

we proceed

to

enunciate

Fourier's Theorem.
72. If any arbitrary periodic curve be drawn, having a given

may

wave-length A, the same curve

always be produced by

compounding harmonic curves (in general infinite in number)


having the same axis, and having A, J A, J A, .... for their
wave-lengths.

The

only

curve are,

limitations

first,

the

to

secondly, that the projection,

so as to describe the curve,

irregularity

of the

must be always

arbitrary

and
on the axis, of a point moving
must move always in the same

that the ordinate

finite;

direction.

These conditions being

satisfied,

a wave of the curve

may

have any form whatever, including any number of straight


portions.

may

Analytically the theorem


It

Op

possible

is

ttg,

to

&c., so that a

be expressed as follows

determine the constants C,

Q, Q,

&c.,

wave of the periodic curve defined by the

equation

C + CjSin(^^ +

i)

+ C2sin(2^^

-f-a^)^...

Fourier s Theorem.
or

j^

shall

C+

57

^ +

2;.^, C, sin (

a,)

have any proposed form, subject to the conditions men-

tioned above.

By

a change of notation,

JJ'

^0+

we may

write the above equation

more convenient form,

in the following

viz.

+ 2 2.^^ ^,sm^.

2-^^ ^iCOS-y-

(2)

(For a demonstration of the theorem, see the Appendix to


this chapter.)

The

73.
includes

demonstration

of

determination

of

But we may observe here


theorem,
once, by

theorem just enunciated

the

assuming

that,

constants.

the

of

values

the

the

truth

of the

we can obtain the expressions


means of the following simple propositions.

for these values

at

If ij, be integers, all the integrals

/2iT:X
cos cos

2117

X
.

I sm

dx^

sm

2it:x
sm 2Jt:x
ax,
.

2Z'7TX
2J7TX

cos
ax,
,

taken between the limits o and A, vanish unless j =


the third integral

common

vanishes, while the

still

-=^-

value -, or the several values

A.

first

and

o,

t.

IfJ = i

two have the


according as

equal

/ is different from, or

Hence,

if

2ii:X

dx,
A
.

cos

we

to, o.

multiply both
.

or by

between the above

sm

of the

sides

equation (2) by

2tTTX J
^
^
dx, ana mtegrate
-,

limits,

we

obtain,

cos

21'nx

dx,
A

for

cluding o,
^
J/

2Z1TX

y sm -A

dx.

all

m
.

each case

values of

i,

in-

Enunciation of Fourier s Theorem.

58

may

74. Thus, whatever the function fix)

be (the pro er

limitations being always supposed), the expression


I

C^jri

2 ^^=Qo

'

2,111

5'"

X 2,=i

C^

.,

2 ITl

-X" J/ W s-n -;^

-^-^

(3)

represents a periodic function of which the value coincides with


that oi /{x) for

all

values of

between o and

other values, unless the function /{x) be

have A for

its

A,

but not for

itself periodic,

and

/{x + A) = /{x) in which last


(3) may be taken without limitation

period, so that

case alone the expression

as equivalent iof{x).

75.

When

the actual values of the coefficients A^, Bi, are

required, they have to be found

by evaluating the

73) by which they are expressed.


Suppose, as in Art. 74, that y = /{x) from

definite in-

tegrals (Art.

This equation

may

subsist in

two

= o io

different senses,

which

X.

it

is

important to distinguish.
{I)

y may

be a given function of

braical sense;

that

is,

it

may

in the ordinary alge-

be possible to assign a rule by

which the value of j^ can be calculated for any assumed value

Or

of X.

may

using the word function in the same sense),

(still

be a given function from

function

from

values between o

= a to

and

ji;

= o

to

.;*:

&c., a,

b,

b,

another given

^,

&c.,

being given

A.

In these cases the ordinary methods of the integral calculus


are applicable to the evaluation of the definite integrals.
(2) J/

may

be a given function of

But

only in the more general

sense (including the former as a particular case) in which the

word function should always be understood


physics;

viz.

that for every value of

value oi y, though
calculating

it,

in

it

may

there

in
is

mathematical
a determinate

be impossible to assign any rule for

which case

it

is

only to be ascertained by

actual observation or measurement.

Thus,

if

we draw by hand upon paper an


many

between two points, we can measure as

arbitrary curve

ordinates as

we

Illustrations of Fourier s Theorem.

we can

please, but
for

no

give

59

rule for calculating the value oi

an assumed value of x.

In such a case the values of the definite integrals can only


be found approximately, by measuring a sufficient number of

We

and applying the method of quadratures.

values of ^,

thus obtain, by

means of equation

calculating the value of

any value of

for

The

exactly

known;

must be

in possession of such a rule to begin with.

would be exact

if

the coefficients A^, B^, were

order to calculate them exactly,

in

but,

for

between given

limits.

rule

can

an approximate rule

(2),

Since, however, the coefficients actually exist, though

we

we may

not be able to ascertain their values rigorously, the abstract

theorem

truth of the

is

in

value consists partly in

pression (within
it

no way

this, that

interfered with
it

an

furnishes

and

great

its

analytical ex-

any function whatever, whether

finite limits) for

be a function in the ordinary algebraical sense, or only in

the physical sense explained above.

When

the coefficients A^^ B^, are considered as having arbi-

trary values, the expression (2) (Art. 72) evidently represents

a completely arbitrary periodic function of x.

The

76.

following

is

a simple and useful example of the

application of the theorem.

>
Fig.

2.

Let OA, AB,\yQ two straight


the origin
It is

and

at a point

lines, cutting the

B, such

that

OB

axis of

at

A.

required to determine the coefficients so that the ex-

pression (3), Art. 74, shall give the value of the ordinate at any
point of the

Suppose
from

=-

'

curve

, h,

\.o

'

OAB^

from

jtr

= o

to

are the coordinates of A.

a,

and

is

A^ he

A.

Theny(.;t7)
A)

from

\'s>

= a

x
to

6q

Illustrations

= A.

jtr

(Art.

Hence, putting

of

the present

for

we have

n,

73)

KAi =

X cos nxdx +

n^Xa

The

value of
I

expression -

^^

r^

ix

X)smnxdx.

find, after

X) cos

nxdx

easy reductions,

a{i cosnX) X{i cosna)


X a
Xsmna asmnX
X a

n^Xa

(x

a-Xja^

Performing the integrations, we


~

XB, = - /C'^ xsmnxdx +


ajo

is

most simply obtained

directly

from the

r^
/"{x) dx, which gives at once

XJo
Aq = - X (2iTe2iOAB) = -.
But

it

may also

be found by evaluating in the usual way the above

expression for A^,

when /(and

be observed, that for

this

an integer before putting


course,

we

B^ =

If

o.

find, for values of

^ These
equation

from

A^ =

-^

^i^i:^

result

is

The same

o.

to oo

-tt;

to

to

be

r (

A2

41^17^

a(X^a)

-r )

Sm

A^ =-)

2 tTT

I )

are to be introduced in the

72, which then becomes the equation to a

wave

is

OAB.

easily reducible to the following

bX'^

is

process gives, of

a)^ COS 2 271 YX

periodic curve, of which one

The

it

introduce the value of ( =

a{X

expressions (with
(2), Art.

now we
t

Only

therefore n) = o.

purpose we must not assume

^z=Qo

= -^-^Tx
\^'n^a{Xd)^i=^
2
1

zira

^smsm
i^

form
2'

(4)'

Fourier s Theorem.
may

It

be observed that

of (4) vanish for

= -

on the

the periodic terms

all

and

6i

a -\-\

also for

right

from which

follows that every one of the harmonic curves represented

it

by the several terms passes through the two points C, D, which


bisect the lines

22

and

are - >

>

B, since the

abscissae of these points

both = -

their ordinates are

It

also

is

evident that the

by

A,

'

axis

(4) (consisting

'

whole locus represented

(Art. 71) of the

of repetitions

A B)

of

the

is

CD

line

indefinitely produced.

77.
is

The

following simpler example

also

is

instructive.

It

required to find a periodic function, of which the value shall

coincide with that of

mix

from

'

= o to

.r

A.

In

other words, to find the equation to a periodic curve consisting

Fig.

of repetitions of the straight

and tan
In

case

this

^i =

is

easily

mX
2nT

3), in

which

= \^

we have

-"^

7?

it

A B (Fig.

BMC = m.
A

and

line

.3.

{x

f\
.

Hence equation

A dx
;

2ZTTX

^\

found that A^
__

COS

==

dx.
for

all

values

(2), Art.

72, gives,

of

i,

while

6a

Illustrations of

mk ,^i=aa

- sin

Zt'lTX
)

or

y
-^

mX{l

2'JTX

<- sm-^-- + -sin

which

is

A.2

(l

77

277^*

277^1:
2- + -I sins
- +
^
k

...

that, if the

consisting of the detached lines

locus be considered

B, B' E,

undergoes a sudden alteration from

m~

to

the equation (5) gives_>^ = o, that


of the two values just mentioned (see

values of

On

chapter).

continuous,

as

&c., the value oi

when

passes through o or any multiple of A, while for these

is

(5)

the required equation.

Here we may observe

mean

>
)

y
x

critical

the arithmetic

is,

Appendix

to this

the other hand, since every term in the series (5)


is

it

impossible that the

sum

of the series can

undergo an absolutely sudden change of value, without passing


This subject cannot be

through the intermediate values.


discussed here;
varies

from a value

infinitely

near to a

to a value infinitely near, but greater,

through

all

fully

but 'the true view seems to be that while

values from

m-

to

~ m--

critical value,

but

less,

passes instantaneously

Or, geometrically, the

locus of the equation (5) ought to be considered as including


the portions

A^ A, BB^,

&c.,

which are inclined

at

an

infinitely

small angle to the true perpendiculars drawn through 0, C, &c.,

and cut them in those points.


Assuming that we may differentiate equation

AAA
2'7TX

2''7TX

'=-'"'{ cos -
Now,

h cos 2

(5)

2 IT

h COS 3

we

obtain

X
h

considering the series


I

(COS0

+ C0S2^ +

C0S3^

...)

(6)

as the limit of
2

(ccosO -{-c^cos 20
1

that

is,

of the fraction

becomes =

i,

we

see that

+
,

it

..),

c^

when

c (increasing)

must be taken as representing o

Fourier s Theorem,

6^^

for all values of Q except the critical values o, 2 tt, &c.,

give cos ^ =

I,

in

which case

it

becomes

before, the difficulty of attributing a

series of

that

all

to o, while

00

being

And we

which

avoid, as

sudden change of value to

by considering
and back again

the terms are continuous,

all

passes through

it

from

which

00

values from o to 00

varies

infinitely little greater

infinitely little less to

from being

than a

And

critical value.

it

fol-

lows that the series within brackets in the above expression

for -J- has in general

dx

while

J for

its

value, so that -j-

dx

but,

passes through the critical values o. A, &c., the value

of the series passes instantaneously through


to 00

= m\

and back again

Hence A\ A, B,

all

values from

^.

B", &c. in Fig.

3,

are to be considered as

which the tangent changes its direction, not with


So
absolute suddenness, but by turning round those points.

points

at

that if

we suppose a moveable

locus

A B B\

approaches

&c., the

infinitely

point

to

be describing the

tangent coincides with

P
AB

near to B, and, while

is

AB

until

passing through

B\ with
and
B^ turns through all directions between
which last it coincides as soon as P has passed through B.
In other words, the two lines AB, B B", are to be considered
not as making an angle at B, but as being connected by an
infinitely short

curved arc, of which the radius of curvature

all discussion of the legitimacy of differenlogical validity of reasoning founded upon the
properties of the series (6). What is certain is, that it is impossible to have
clear notions of the true nature of Fourier's series, especially in its application to the representation of discontinuous functions, without some such
For a view of the various methods which
illustrations as those in the text.
have been proposed in order to treat the subject with perfect rigour, and
of the theoretical questions connected with it, the reader is referred to
^

"We purposely avoid here

tiating

(5),

and of the

Stokes, On the Critical Values of the Sums of Periodic Series. {Camb.


Phil. Traits., vol. viii.)
De Morgan, Diff. and Int. Cal., p. 605, &c.
Price, Infinitesimal Calculus, vol. ii, 197.
Thomson and Tait, Nat. Phil., vol. i, 75.
Boole, On the Analysis of Discontinuous Functions. ( Trans, of P. LA..,
vol. xxi, pt. I.)

But Fourier's original work, Thiorie analytique de la Chaleur, which unfortunately is now rare, should be consulted by all students who can obtain
access to

it.

Illustrations of Fourier s Theorem.

64

at the extremities

is 00

remark

is

and

infinitely small at the middle.

This

of course equally applicable to the angular points in

the locus, Fig.

rem evades

In general, we

2.

may

say that Fourier's theo-

the difficulty of expressing analytically the abrupt

changes of value which may, and do, occur in nature, by sub-

them continuous, but

stituting for

78.
city,

Any

physical condition (such as density, pressure, velo-

&c.) which

which

changes.

infinitely rapid,

varies

measurable in magnitude or intensity, and

is

periodically with

function of the time by

the

means of

time,

is

expressible

For

Fourier's series.

case of actual physical changes, the conditions which

theorem applicable are necessarily

fulfilled.

as

in the

make

the

In other words,

every actual vibration can be resolved mathematically into har-

monic vibrations. \i y represent the magnitude in question,


and T the period of its vibration, then y is expressible by an
equation of the form

where y^
is

the mean^ value of _>/,

is

by

represents

itself

and each of the

an aliquot part of the whole period


79.

ticular

Thus every

variable terms

a harmonic vibration, of which the period


r.

periodic disturbance of the

and

air,

in par-

such vibrations as excite the sensation of sound, can be

so resolved.

Now we know

as a fact that a vibration of the

air excites in general the sensation

of a musical note, which

is

not a simple tone (Art. 12, &c.), but a combination of tones cor-

responding in general to vibrations of which the periods are


aliquot parts of the period of the original vibration.

(The ex-

ceptions to this statement are apparent rather than real.


so-called vibration of a tuning-fork, for example,
'

vibration

'

in the strict sense of the term, but

is
is

The

not a single

compounded
Hence

of vibrations of which the periods are incommensurable.

The value

oiy^, viz. -

has, at instants separated

the pariod t.

ydt,
by

is

the average of all the values which

infinitely

small equidistant intervals, during

Demonstration of Fourier
the whole

is not really periodic.


In this and other
component tones are heard which do not belong

harmonic scale of the fundamental tone.)

The
the

6^

motion

similar cases,

to the

Theorem.

a note into simple tones after

ear, therefore, resolves

same manner

tion into

in

which Fourier's theorem resolves a vibra-

harmonic vibrations ; and the question naturally

whether each simple tone perceived by the ear


exclusively

complex

We

really

is

arises

caused

by the corresponding harmonic component of the

vibration.

shall

soon be able to assign a conclusive reason for

believing that this

we

so; and

is

an answer

shall thus obtain

to the question suggested in Art. 14.

APPENDIX TO CHAPTER

IV.

FOURIERS THEOREM.
The

equation

i-c'
^

2C COS (x

a) -^

(0

c^

which may be also written

(i-r2)sec2-^^^^

(i-^y +
a and

I.

+r)nan22

being any constants, represents

which the ordinate


than

(i

is

always positive

In what follows

also that c

if

a periodic
c

this condition will

of

curve

be numerically

less

be supposed, and

is positive.

Then -^y will have

values, corresponding to

for

<r

j*;

+
= a
F

maximum and minimum

r
4: 2 ?V,

jt:

= a

{2 /

i)

tt,

Demonstration of

65
i

and the distance between the ordinates


on successive waves of the curve

being any integer;

corresponding points

of

is 2-77.

M A AT
Fig. 4.

Fig. 4 represents a portion of the curve in the case in which


H, are two of the maximum ordinates, and
^.
Q,

Pq M^ a minimum

ordinate.
It is evident that if the value of
be increased, tending towards i as a limit, the maximum
and minimum ordinates will tend towards 00 and o as limits.
At the same time if a fixed point M, or M' be taken, however
ox M' P' will tend to o as a
near to A^ the ordinate
c

MP

limit.

Hence, if the curve be considered as described by a point P,


motion of
tends, as the value of c approaches i, to
except when
become that of a point which moves along
infinitely near to one of the points A,B, &c., but passes those
points by going up the left side of the ordinate to an infinite
distance, and down again on the right side.

the

The

values (a

OX

sz'tt)

of

at

A^ B,

&c.,

will

be

called

critical values.

The area included between the curve, the axis of x, and two
consecutive corresponding ordinates (as
M, P" M'\ or AQ,
This is easily found by integrating directly the
is 2 77.
expression J/ ^jf/ but it is most simply obtained by first developing j/ in a series : thus,

BR)

J/

^ X-

2 (^

cos

(.;;

a) +

f^^ ^^^

'^u^

V-Ut.*7)}i

iT^

cos 2

(;i:

^chr

a) +
(if

. .

.),


Fourier s Theorem.

6y

from which, observing that

co^iix

a)dx

o,

JX
of

for ail values

except

we

o,

once

find at

ydx =2

77.

JX

The

Q A M^ P^,

obvious inferences

next following minimum


The following are
of course = n.

maximum and

area between a

ordinate, (as

is

MP, MP'

be any two fixed ordinates, including one


between them, the area
tends to 2 tt as a Hmit when the value of c approaches to i.
This is true however near either or both ordinates may be to
A Q, so long as neither of them coincides with A Q absolutely.
M' tends to become = -n.
Each of the areas
And if M'F, M'' F' be any two fixed ordinates, both included between two consecutive maximum ordinates, the area
And this is true
tends at the same time to o.
M' P' P"
P" may be to the maximum ordinates
P",
however near
AQ, BR, so long as there is not absolute coincidence with
If

maximum

MPQM'h--^
^'

AQ

ordinate

MPQA^AQF

M"

M'

M"

either.

And, however small the

may

be,

it

fixed quantities

A M, A M, M" B

possible to take c so nearly equal to

is

that the

MPQA, A QFM\ M'' P''RB, shall each differ from


and the area M' P" P'' M' from o, by quantities less than any

areas
-TT,

assigned quantity.
These conclusions may be expressed analytically as follows.
If Xq, x^, be two values of x, including between them only one
critical value (say a), with which neither of them absolutely
coincides, and if e, e^ be any positive constants such that a + e,
e^ are also both included between Xq and x^, then the
and a

four integrals

y^a-el

Ta +

pa.

ydx,

ydx,

J a e^

Xq

Px^

ydx,

ydx,
Ja+e
/

have for their limiting values 0,77, rrr, o, when c approaches to i,


however small e and e^ may be. The sum of the four integrals

ydx,
J Xq

is /

sible value (271), this is

for

its

x^

to

equal to 2

7r;

and, supposing

limit

when

c
/

middle integrals

is /

x^^

approaches to
a + e

ydx, and
F

this

have the greatest admis-

and
i.

in

any case has

The sum

has 2 7r for

2 it

of the two

its limit.

Demonstration of

68

now suppose

Let us

x^Xq
is

not

is

for

finite

(y having

all

that x^, x^ have any values such that


>27r; and lety*(^) be any function which
values of x from x^ to x^ inclusive.
Then

the value (i) as before) the integral

/{x)ydx,

(2)

f:
since J/
I

always positive,

is

ydx, by some

is

equal to the product of the integral

quantity intermediate between the (algebrai-

J Xq
cally) least and greatest values which/" (jp) takes while x varies
from Xq to Xy
There are three cases to be considered.
(1) There may be no critical value (a+ 2z'7r) from x - x^

to

= x^

In

inclusively.

this case the limiting value

of

ly dx,
J Xo

and therefore of the

integral (2),

There may be a

(2)

and x^, but not coinciding with


In

o when c approaches to i.
say x = a, between x^

is

critical value,

either of those limits.

may be

this case the integral (2)

considered as the

sum

of the three integrals

y'*a el
f{x)ydx,

ra +
/

J a

xq

of which the

first

and

Z^xi

f(x)ydx,

e^

/{x)ydx,
a

third have o for their limiting values (by

ra + e
the

second

case), while the

first

by some

quantity

is

equal to

ydx

multiplied

J a-e^
intermediate between the least and greatest

x varies from a e^ to a + e.
But e and e^ may be as small as we please they may therefore
(a).
shall differ infinitely little from
be taken so small that
ra + e
Also, the limiting value of/ ydx is 277, as was shewn above.

values which

/{x)

takes while

J a- el
Hence we infer that in
when c approaches to i,

this case the limit

of the integral (2),

is

2 7r/{a).

or both of the limits, Xq, x^, may coincide with a


Suppose, for instance, x^ = a, x^ = a
2 ir.
by considering the integral (2) as the sum of
px-i-el
rxQ + e
rxi

One

(3)

Then

J
it

will

value.

critical

/{x)ydx,
be

xq

seen without

'^/(^o) + V(-^i)

that

/{x)ydx,

XQ + e
difiiculty

is, 77

(/(a)

that

the

+/(a +

/(x)ydx,
xie^

limiting
tt) ).

value

is

Fourier's Theorem,

69

If only one of the limits x^, x^^ coincided with a critical


value a, the result would evidently be 'nf{a).
The above conclusions require modification in the case in
which the function /"(^) is such as to undergo a sudden finite
change of value when x passes through the critical value. If
a sudden change take place for any value of x not absolutely
coinciding with the critical value, however near to it, the rea-

soning

is

not affected, because

that the value

But suppose
nitely little less

question

in

we may

shall

not

take 6 and
lie

e^

between a

so small

and

= f{a) when x is infiand =f{h) when x is infinitely little greater

(in case (2)) \ki2Xf(x) is

than

a,

/{x)ydXj
a

sum of / /(x)ydx and / /{x)ydx, we


Ja
J a e^
these will have for

its

limit '7r/'{a),

the

as

el

see that the

and the second

first

Ti/il^)

of
so

that the limiting value of (2) will be

^(/(^)+/W),
that

half the

is,

sum

of the values given by the general rule for

the two values of/{x).

We may

enunciate these results in the form of the following

Theorem,

x^KaK

be two values of x such that


x^^ and
be not > 277, and i^ /{x) be any function which is
for all values of x from x = Xq to x = x^ inclusively, then

If x^y x^

x^Xq
finite

the value of the integral


^1

/ /{^)
^

when

c^
a)r-^c^ ^^f
5

2c cos {x

-[-

approximates indefinitely to i, has in general


But if y"(^) undergoes a sudden change
of value from a to d when the value of x passes through a, then
the limit is tt {/{a) -\-/{d)).
If either Xq = a, or x^ = a, while Xj^
Xq<2 7t, then the
for

c (increasing)

its

limit 2 17/(0).

limit is Ti/ip).

Xq =

But

\i

On

these last suppositions

a, x-^

a-\- 27:,

then

it is

'n[/{a)

we may provide

+/{a +

2Tr)J,

for the case

of

sudden changes of value of the function by understanding

(if

necessary) _/(a) to mean /{a


to mean
e), and /{a + 2 tt)
y"(a H- 2 TT
e), where e is an infinitely small positive quantity.

Demonstration of

70

Since the value of a must not transgress the limits .r^, x^, and
Xq must not be > 2 tt, we shall give the greatest possible
extent to the theorem by supposing x^
x^ = 2 tt.
The notation used above was convenient in the course of
demonstration ; but in actual applications it is better to change
it by writing a for x and x for a, so that a becomes the variable
in the integration.
The principal result may be then stated as

x^

follows

The

limit

of the integral
1

at

c^
a)

/:aofla)
J

-da,

-.

2CQ0S{X

-^ c-

a^

= 2 7r, and x has any value between a^ and a^, is


2'n/{x), when c approximates indefinitely to i.
The special cases are of course to be stated as before, mutatis
mutandis.

where

a^

general

in

If

now

in the

development,

|u^^TtC^.
7?

we

above integral we substitute

for the fraction its

viz.

a) + f'-cos2(.r a)

2(rcos(.r

+....),

(3)

obtain the series

f{a)da

+22

and we may therefore


the limit of this series

<^

/{^) cos i{x

affirm, that

is

a) da,

when

c approximates to i,
t:/{x) for any value of x
for a value of x correspond-

in general 2

between a^ and a^, but is it {a + b)


ing to a sudden change from d: to ^ in the value oi/{x\ and
'^(/K) +/(i)) for X = a^or X = a^.
Assuming, then, that when c=i the value of the series
becomes equal to its limit ^, we may write the result as follows
(excluding of course the exceptional cases)
:

2i:f{x) =
for values of
It

now we

^/2'7rx\

between

write

Qq = o, ! = 2

77,

a^,

A
r

/{a) cos i{x a) da,

and

a^.

for x,

and

A for
r

a,

assummg

becomes
r^./2 7ra\
2iTT(x' a^)

also

the above equation

/=

This assumption appears to be the only point in the demonstration


is open to objection.
But we cannot here discuss the proposition,
is true up to the limit is true in the limit.'
On the convergence of
the series (3), see the demonstrations of Tait and Thomson and of Stokes,
referred to above (Art. 77).
^

which
what

Fourier s Theorem,

71

omitting accents, and writingy*(:t:) instead

or,

/W = i%=_^J^/{(^)cos

of/"(7- )
'-da,

^^

x
which is
A.
This equation may, by an obvious transformation, be written
now

thus
y-/

between o and

true for values of

r^^/ \^

'

2Z'JTX r^

'2^i=a,

2Z7ra

+ X 5,=i sm ^J/{a) sin

^^

</,

(4)

most convenient.
A further transformation, which gives an expression for/'(j:i;)
by means of a double definite integration, and which is also
often referred to as Fourier's Theorem,' is not required for the
in

which form

it is

usually

'

purposes of this treatise.


tt, Oj =
If we had taken above a^, =
+7r, we should have
found in the same way a series only differing from (4) in having

-i

pose
is

for limits in the integrations, instead of o, A.

Sup-

made, and then suppose further thaty"(jt:)


that is, thsit/'( x) = /{x).
In this

this alteration

an odd

function,

'

/{^)

<^os

da

vanishes for all values of t] including z = o, since it may be


divided into pairs of equal elements, but with opposite signs.

But

y/ \
r^ /(a)
sm
.

2ZTTa

- da=

J_A
since the integral

on the

Jo

left

r^/{a)
w \ sm 2ZTTa.
da
.

may be

divided into pairs of equal

elements with the same sign.

Hence,

if

we

put

- =

/,

we

obtain instead of (4)

(5)
A^) =72,=! smj-J^/(a)sm -j-da,
=
=
function/"
any
/
is true from x
IXox + for

(;i:)
which
which is odd between those limits. And it will evidently be
true from x = o to ^ = / for any function.
Ify(^) besides being odd, is periodic, with period (or wavelength) 2 /, then (5) will be true without limitation.
The case in which/" (x) is an even function (/"(^r) =/"( jr))

may

be

left

to the reader.

CHAPTER

V.

VIBRATIONS OF AN ELASTIC STRING.

Of

80.

the various

modes

in

which musical sounds may be

produced, one of the most usual in practice, and simple in


theory, consists in the vibration of elastic strings.

The term

'elastic string'

is

be understood as implying

to

which do not belong absolutely to any actual

ideal qualities,

namely, non-resistance to flexure, and extensibility

string;

according to the law that extension

According to
(or

length

its

when

length

this law, if /

when not

it is

is

proportional to tension.

be the natural length of the string

subjected to any tension), and

by a force

stretched

7",

I'

the

then

where

i^

a constant, of which the value depends on the

nature of the string.

Since the homogeneity of the above equation requires that

T should be an
kind as T, that
gives

abstract number,
is,

a force.

JE= T,vfe see

would be required

that
to

And

jE" is

a quantity of the same

since the supposition

may be

stretch the

t =2

defined as the force which


string to twice

its

natural

length.

No
sible,

actual string

is

perfectly flexible, nor indefinitely exten-

according to the above law.

length are small,

it

is

sibly proportional to the

tension

is

But when the changes of

proved by experiment that they are sen-

changes of tension.

And when

the

considerable, and the thickness of the string very small

Vibrations of a String,
in

comparison with

73

length, the resistance to flexure

its

is

very

small in comparison with the resistance to extension.

Under

phaenomena with which we are

these conditions the

concerned are so nearly the same as they would be in the case

may be

of the ideal string, that for most purposes they

The

sidered identical.

be taken into account


at points

will

be considered apart.

two ends of an

81. Supposing the

elastic string to

of which the distance from one another

than the natural length of the string,


of equilibrium will be a straight

same

line,

librium,

if it

any point

at

is

be fixed
greater

form in the condition

its

and

tension will be the

its

which the string would

at all points^; namely, that with

have to be pulled

con-

case in which imperfect flexibility must

in order to maintain the equi-

were cut there.

Suppose now the

string to

be

by any forces

slightly disturbed

whatever, which, at a certain instant, cease to act.

The

sub-

sequent motion of the string will depend upon the positions

and

velocities of

its

theory shews that

it

particles at that instant


will vibrate^ that

is,

will

of periodic changes, which, theoretically,

and the mechanical


go through a
would never

series

cease.

The

vibration actually does cease because the string gradually

gives

up

its

motion to the surrounding

sustain the tension of

own molecules.
The condition
the

is

called

its initial

displacements of

initial

string are lateral^ that

and when the

air,

to the bodies

is,

which

ends, and, in a difl"erent form, to

of the string at the instant

ing forces cease to act

When

its

when

its

the disturb-

condition.

all

the particles of the

at right angles to its original direction,

initial velocities

the vibrations

are lateral also,

are sensibly lateral.

When

the

initial

displacements

and

of the string remains a straight

them

separately.

* The effect of gravity


kind here considered.

is

longitu-

and the form

line.

Vibrations of both kinds can coexist, but


sider

are

velocities

dinal, the vibrations are necessarily longitudinal,

it

is

best to con-

Longitudinal vibrations of a string are


neglected, being insensible in all cases of the

Vibrations of a String.

74

of the same kind as those of a straight rod, which

At

practically unimportant.

examine the

will

be

In the case of a string they are

treated of in another chapter.

we

present, therefore,

only

shall

lateral vibrations.

82. Lateral

displacements and velocities,

initial

not in one plane,

may be

arbitrary planes, at right angles to

components gives

rise to

they are

if

resolved into components in two

one another ; and each

vibrations in

its

own

and of which the actual vibration

coexist independently,

set of

plane, which
is

the.

resultant.

suppose that the

It is sufl5cient, therefore, to

ments and

velocities,

initial

and therefore the subsequent

displace-

vibrations,

are in one plane.

83.

The

true nature of the vibrations of a finite string

may

be best understood by considering them under that aspect

which
in

is

suggested by the dynamical theory (see Chap. VII)

which the string

is

regarded as

and out of

infinitely long,

the various possible forms of motion of an infinitely long string,

those are selected which are characterised by the existence of


nodes^ that

Any two

of motionless points.

is,

points of the string might evidently

turbing the motion;

and then

all

such motionless

become fixed without

dis-

the string not included be-

tween them might be removed, so as to leave a

finite

string,

with fixed ends, which would continue to have the same motion
as

it

would have had under the

We

original conditions.

shall

therefore begin with the case of an infinite string.

84.

It

must be always understood

though the following

that

propositions, in so far as they are merely geometrical, are true

without limitation,

it

is

only

when th& displacements

nitely small that they are rigorously true mechanically

are sensibly true within limits wide

enough

for the

are infi-

but they

most im-

portant practical applications.

85.

The

simplest form of motion of an infinitely long elastic

string consists in the transmission

of a single wave.

Let

AB

represent part of the string in

dition,

and

let

trary portion

C Z?

be a

line parallel to

its

undisturbed con-

B, of which any

QRh bent into an arbitrary curve.

Imagine

arbi-

CD

Transmission of Waves along a String.

velocity, in the direction of its

moving with a constant

to be

length, either towards the right or towards the

part of the string

AB

which

75

at

any time

is

and that

left,

opposite to

Q R,

to

D
Fig.

I.

be always bent into the same form by a


its

AB

will

lateral

being always straight.

particles, the rest

be fransmitiing

(f

wave.

When

displacement of

Then

transmitted, any particular particle of the string

during the passage of the wave, and

is

the string

a single wave

thus

is

disturbed

is

at rest at all times before

and afterwards.
86.

It is

necessary, however, to explain

how such

a wave

could originate.

Suppose a portion of the

string,

which we may

be bent into any arbitrary form, and a determinate


city to

to

call

P Q^

P Q, according

be then communicated to each particle of

any arbitrary law consistent with the continuity of the

The subsequent motion

will

on

of

these

Now

initial velocities

the form of

assign the

the form

way

P ^ being

initial velocities

P Q shall be

so that a similar

But

PQ

if

the

would

in

wave

given arbitrarily,

Any number

it is

one way so that a

shall

possible to

single

be transmitted to the

were assigned

travel to the right,

been such as to give

and

particles.

in general be resolved into

present, however,

string.

P Q^

wave of

transmitted to the right, and in another

initial velocities

which one would

At

depend on the form of

its

to

lateral velo-

we assume

rise to

left.

arbitrarily, the

wave

two components, of

and the other

to the

left.

that the initial velocities

have

a single wave.

of similar or dissimilar waves

may be

trans-

mitted at the same time, either in the same or in contrary

Transmission of Waves along a String.

76

directions.

It

convenient to

is

distinguish

them

of waves, by calling

transmission

according as they are transmitted from


right to

direction

left

of

or negative

to right, or

from

left,

The

87.

the

positive

velocity of transmission

and tension of the

string,

depends only on the nature

and not on the form or length of the

wave.

now suppose two waves

88. Let us

of equal length, but

of arbitrary forms, to be transmitted in

otherwise

directions so as to meet.

proceed in

contrary

After passing one another they will

But during the passage a part

their original forms.

of the string will be disturbed by both waves at once, and the


displacements of

its

particles at

any

instant will be the

the displacements due to the separate waves.


string will evidently have for

and

for

waves

Let

its

first

meet.

PQ, P'Qf
us

let

length the length of a wave,

middle point the point at which the ends of the

(Fig. 2) represent the positive

and

before meeting,

And

its

sums of

This part of the

now

and negative waves

the point at which they will

further suppose that

each wave

is

Y\g\ixQ) ^;jjversed cQpy .0/ tke QlJier, so that the figure

be altered by turning the paper upside down.

first

meet.

(as in the

would not

(We may

express

same condition by saying that every straight line through A


which cuts one wave, cuts the other also at a point equidistant
the

from A).

Two

such waves

Now

pm,

p'rrL

at the

The

opposite to

at that instant will


is

may be

called contrary waves.

be any two ordinates equidistant from A.


corresponding points p, p' of the two waves will arrive
let

zero,

since

same

instant,

and the displacement of A


sum oi pm and p'm\ that

be the algebraical

pm, p'm'

are equal in length, but

opposite

in

Nodes.

11

Hence, since the same thing

direction.

of corresponding points, the point

true for every pair

is

not

will

be displaced at all; in other words, the string


have a node at A.

will

Thus, when an

strin^transniits_Jtwo

infinite

contrary waves in oj)posite directions^_there js


""
a node at the pQint_at which they first meet.

^^\d^'^-

89. Let us now inquire what conditions are

may

necessary in order that there

Let

be the place of the

and suppose

the second;

PA, and

first

be two nodes.

node and

of

wave

that a positive

AQ, are just


The wave PA, pass-

a contrary negative wave

beginning to meet at A.

ing on to the right, will after a certain time arrive


at the position

B unless

turb

P' B, and

then begin to dis-

will

meets at that instant a contrary

it

wave BQ' moving towards the left. But this


when it arrives at the
new negative wave

BQ

position

AQ,

will

begin to disturb

meets a new positive wave.

same reasoning, we

the

an

infinite

series

infinite series

There
it

is

will

unless

must be
waves meeting an

see that there

of positive

then be nodes at

and

at

evident that there will be also an

string

infinite

at equal intervals.

B;

but

infinite

Hence

cannot have more than one

node without having an

The

it

of negative contrary waves.

number of other nodes


an

And, continuing

infinite

number.

distance between corresponding points of

consecutive positive (or negative) waves


dently twice

AB.

For when the

is

positive

evi-

wave

at any instant is at PA shall have arrived


P'B, the next following one will not be at

which
at

PA,

but so far behind that position as to meet

the negative

wave

2XAQ.
90. Let

BQ

when

the latter arrives

us,

however,

fix

our attention upon

,4

'.

*Y'

'-'

Reflection of Waves,

78

two consecutive nodes

the portion of string included between

A, B, supposing the
sider

of

rest

it

condition at the instant

its

waves have

then be

visible string will

when

one another

just passed

from view, and con-

to be hidden

and negative

the positive
at

A.

The form

of the

this,

Fig.- 4.

and the
will
It

which the left-hand end

positive wave, of

be transmitted unaltered

until

is

now

at

A,

right-hand end reaches B.

its

then begins to meet the negative wave coming from the

and

invisible part of the string,


this

to be

compounded with

composition the disturbed part of the

goes a change of form,


pletely out of sight,

until the positive

and

is

visible string

by

it;

under-

wate has passed comby the negative wave,

replaced

thus,

Fig. 5-

which

is

transmitted to A, where

and a converse
finitely.

series of

Thus, a wave

forwards between

Each

it

meets a new positive wave,

changes takes place ; and so on indewill

appear to pass backwards and

and B^ and

to be reflected at those points.

reflection consists in a shortening of the

length,

followed by

an equal lengthening;

shortening and lengthening

its

form

is

wave

to half

and during

changed

its

this

into that

of

the contrary wave.


91. During motion of this kind, both the whole string

the portion

AB

are in a state of vibration, that

is,

and

undergoing

a periodic change of condition; and the period of a vibration,

Nodes and Waves.

79

or the interval of time between the recurrence of similar conditions, is

evidently the time required for the transmission of

a wave through twice the distance

(AB) between

consecutive

nodes.

92. Hitherto we have considered a wave as consisting only


of the bent or curved portion of the string.
call the

But we

will

now

whole portion included between two consecutive similar

we have always done

points a wave^ as

periodic curves, so that a wave-length

In the preceding

between consecutive nodes.

have^Tupposed only a small portion of


in order to

make

before in treating of

now^twice

is

this

we

illustrations

wave

to be curved,

the process of reflection clearly intelligible;

but since the length attributed to the curved portion was arbitrary,

we may suppose

it

to occupy, as

it

generally does in

fact,

the whole wave-length.

Let
a

^C

series

be a wave-length, the figure representing part of

of positive waves, and also of the contrary negative

The

waves, in the position which they have at a given instant.

e\

r
Fig. 6.

actual

form of the

string at that instant (which

is

not drawn)

Thus

would be found by compounding the two curves.


middle point of any ordinate

Pp

the

would be a point on the

string.

The
at

this

as

instant,

equidistant from

of these

bisected at

A;

at

Now

through them.

points

A, B, C, D, &c. on the

nodes are the points


all

bisect

others,

suppose Pp,

any node
ordinates

A;
lie

it

P'f
is

upon a

the
are

axis,

ordinates

which
drawn

any two ordinates

evident that the middle


straight line

in other words, every straight line

which

a node at any instant and terminated both ways by the stringy


bisected by the node.

is

drawn through
is

Finite String.

8o

93. Hence, considering a whole wave-length of the resultant


curve, occupying

on one

Thus

intervals,
is

we

see that the half

wave

always contrary in form

to the other half.

88)

(Art.

two nodal

of the middle node

side

the whole infinite string will always have the form of

a series of similar waves divided into contrary halves by alternate nodes


after

and the two halves

will

have exchanged their forms

every half period.

The

string will therefore appear to oscillate, but there will be

in general
either

no

visible

direction,

the

appearance of transmission'^ of waves in

and negative

positive

series

completely

disguising each other except in the case in which a consider-

able portion of each

curved portions
tions; or,

if

will

wave

is

straight

in this case only, the

appear to be transmitted in contrary direc-

only a portion of string between two consecutive

nodes be looked

at,

to be reflected backwards

and forwards

from node to node in the manner explained in Art. 90.


94.

It

has been already explained

that, in

order to pass from

we must suppose two nodes to


become fixed. But these may, of course, include any number
of nodes between them. Hence the most general formjof the
an

infinite

to a finite string,

vibration of a finite string, fixed at both ends, consists in

"^^Z

\)

aliquot
a

y;

V\

V*'

with

oscillatory motion,

The form

parts.

an

nodes dividing the string into equal


of the part included between any

two consecutive nodes will always be contrary to that of the


adjacent intervals ; and any two adjacent intervals exchange
forms

The

after half a period.

wave-length

twice the dis-

is

tance between consecutive nodes; and the period of a vibration


"

is

by
Hence

the time occupied

double distance.

length of the string, the

wave over

the transmission of a
the period

is

known

if

number of nodes, and

we know

this

the

the velocity of

transmission.

When

there are

wave-length

is

no nodes between the extreme

the time of transmission over this double length.


\^

simply

'

the time of vibration


*

points, the

twice the length of the string, and the period

'

Hence such waves

This

of the string.
are often called stationajy.

is

is

called

'

Time of

Vibration,

8i

If / be the length of the (stretched) string,

the tension by which

same

unit as

gravity (that

is

W), and

end of a unit of
lateral

is

V^

fore 2

95.
is

wave

It

the so-called

accelerating

the velocity acquired by a falling

is,

force of

body

at the

time), then the velocity of transmission of a

vf IgT
W
%.,.

and the time of a

vibration

(see below, Art. 123).

^^^

may be

weight,

its

stretched (expressed in terms of the

it

here

said,

once

for

that the

all,

is

^^

there-

^,,^

'

always to be understood as implying a complete cycle of changes.

many of the most usual cases (as in that


may be divided into two parts, equal

In

vibration

converse in character;
(especially of

and

French) writers to

call

term vibration without

to use the

sense

to

it is

one

vibration to

direction, has

In

this

and

each half a single vibration^


or,

what

is

much worse,

distinctly explaining in

common pendulum

what

is

which

become

the habit of giving the

only half a cycle, namely, a swing in


inveterate.

work, however, the term

De Morgan

Prof.

in duration

be understood.

In the case of a

name

of a string) the

has been the practice of some

it

and the two together a douUe vibration ;

has proposed to

will

call

always

mean what

a swing-swang.

^^-^

Thus, the time of vibration of a so-called seconds' pendulum


is

two
It

seconds.

must be remembered also that a vibration

not necessarily divisible into a

'

swing

'

and a

'

in general

is

swang of equal
'

duration and opposite character.

96.

We

will

now proceed

results obtained in the

li /{x) be

to the analytical expression of the

preceding

articles.

any function which has one

for every value of x, the equation

the form of a string which

is

real

and

finite

y =/{x vt) will

value

represent

always bent so as to follow that

of a curve J/ =/(x), supposing the latter to be moving in the


positive direction of the .r-axis with a constant velocity v.
(For
if

term vibration

in the former equation

we remove

to a distance vt, the equation

the origin along the axis

becomes^ =/{.^))*
G

Analytical Expressions.

82

Similarly^ = F{x-\-vt) represents the transmission of the

form J/ =

F {x\

Hence

city.

an equal

in the negative direction, with

velo-

the equation

y =^/{^-

""i)

F(^x

vt)

represents the form of a string in which the displacement of


particle at the time /

any

to both these causes.

the

is

And

\i

sum

of the displacements due

f{x), F{x) are both periodic

functions, the last equation will represent the transmission of

two

sets of

waves in opposite

directibns.

Supposing, then, these periodic functions to be expressed

by means of Fourier's
wave-length

/,

and

series (Art. 72),

-'+^)+2,-^, C,sm(^-^

y=^i=i ^ism(^-^^

'-+a\y

(The constant term is omitted, because it could be got


necessary, by removing the origin along the axis of^.)
97.

We

rid of, if

have not yet introduced the condition of the exist-

Let us

ence of nodes.
origin; that

^ = o,

same

to have the

the equation will take the form

is,

that

now suppose

when

that there

x = o,y=^o

is

a node at the

fox all values of

When

/.

may be

the terms of the order / in the above series

written

invt
^
sm J- (
.

Q cos

a^

^,
+C

,.

cos a )

+ cos J (Q sin a^ + C^i sin a\),


and

it

is

evident that the coefficient of each must vanish sepa-

rately; that

is,

These equations
and

if

we

Ci cos a^

C\ cos a\

C^ sin

a^

are satisfied

C'^ sin

a^ =

by assuming

C^, a'^

of^

a^;

at the

Q sin a^ = B.,

2/

end
z;r,

obtain

y
in

C\=

introduce these conditions in the value

of Art. 96, and put 2 C^ cos a^^A^, 2

we

o,
o.

which r

2,.=i
is

sm-y-(^.cos-^:- +^,.sm

the period of vibration.

Since

j,

(i)

vanishes not

Initial Circumstances,
only

when

values of

is satisfied

jt;

/,

we

o,

when

but also

is

85

any multiple of

/,

for all

node
number

see that the condition of the existence of a

not only at the origin, but also at an

infinite

of points separated from one another by an interval / (or half


a wave-length).

Hence

equation represents in the most general manner

this

the oscillatory motion of an infinite string described in Art. 93.

And
it

if

we

confine our attention to values of

represents the vibration of a

between o and

of length

finite string

/,

/,

fixed at

two ends.

its

98. If the
cities

of

initial

form of the

its particles,

B^ are determined.

finite string,

and the

initial velo-.

are given, the values of the constants A^,

Suppose, for instance, that when

to be a given function /(.;;)

= o,^

is

dv

from

= o to

/,

and -^ another

given function <^(x) within the same limits.

Putting, then,

/=o

in the equation (i),

respect to

from

/,

X=

in

.:*:

differential coefficient with

its

we must have

x=

to

equations by sin

we

and

ji;

I.

Hence, multiplying each side of these

dx, and integrating from x =

to

x=

I,

obtain

A = -J/{^)sm~^dx,
(It

B, =

should be observed that_/(jr)

by means of a
adftn.)

series of sines

for the

form of the

is

j^

.^Wsm

<?^.

necessarily expressible

only (see Appendix to Chap. IV,


string

is

at

any time half a wave

of a series in which the alternate values are contrary (Art. 93),

so

that

the

/{ml) = o

function

the conditions

and these

f{x\

besides

for all integer values of

satisfying

m including

o,

the conditions

must

also satisfy

/(.r+ 2/^2/) =/{x) and/(2w/ jr) = /{x);

are satisfied

by every such term as


G

sin

but not


Particular Cases.

84
by cos^

The same remark

h priori, ought to

easily seen

case frequently useful

at rest,

and

form

its initial

y
In

this case

and

(f)

therefore

is
is

conditions.)

which the string

Qsm-y-.
is

B^ =

iiix
2 r^
-=
j/sin

is

the series just given for

dx^C^;

and A^ =

o,

is initially

given by an equation

{x) = o, and /"{x)

2z=)

that in

{x), which, as is

(^

same

satisfy the

= ^i=i

the subsequent vibration

where r =

applies to

hence

given by the equation

Ci sm

iiTX
2i'ni

cos
r-

as before.

99. Another useful case


the string

is

a bent line

coordinates of

is

reckoned from A.

Suppose, further, that the

This

pulled aside at one point

Here <^(^)

25

C^

-7- 1
I

Uo

2hr

and then

X = ato X ^l;
iirx

made

left

to

of

-\

points are

all

to vibrate

x^a^ and

to

o,

and

iiTX
rf
,,
(.r /)sm r-

dx \

'

by being

itself.

and therefore B^ =
I

- sm r- ax
.

initial velocities

2xAf{x) \&-x from x = o

is o,

(xi) from
^i* =

7.

the case of a string

is

AB

where

Fig.

zero.

which the initial form of


= i, and a, b are the

that in

AQB,

alja

i'na

sm yI

(The reader should observe

that the

problem here solved

Variations of Form,
from that

differs

76

in Art.

85

in this respect, that the bent line

here half a wave, whereas there

it

we

Introducing this value of A^ in equation (i),


sin

7 f>

= "T-Tr

r2-

;-2

-,

100.

It is

this

obtain
^

sm

7-cos

which gives the form of the vibrating string


a particular case of

is

was a whole wave.)

(2)

at the time

(On

/.

formula see below, Art. 118.)

easy to trace geometrically the variations of form

The

during a vibration.

equation

y=/{x-v/) + F{x + vi),


and

its differential

when

give,

coefficient with respect to

/,

o,

y=/(x)^F{x)

| = -.(/'(^)-^(^)),
and these expressions must

Hence, supposing the

cities.

of

-J

to he v\lf' (x),

from

coincide,

the given functions which define the


initial

initial

value

x=o

x=

to

ofy

to

be

with

i,

and velo-

positions

(j)

(x),

and

we have

/(x) + F(x)^<t>(^),

r{x)-r{x)^-y\r'{x\
/{x) F{x)=

whence

These equations give

/(x)

is,

F{x)

\jr

are

(x).

C being

taken

F(x) ^\{^{x)

^l(<t>{x)-^j, (x)),

so th2it/(x) and

(the arbitrary

known from

= o to

+ ^ (x)),
=

I.

That

one half of the positive and one half of the negative wave

are given in the position in which they produce

the

= o)

initial

form of the

the nodes at

its

string.

And

by composition

since, in order to

extremities, the half of the negative

right of the string

must be contrary

in

form

(Art.

maintain

wave

to the

88)

to the

given half of the positive wave, while the half of the positive

wave

to the left of the string

must be contrary

to the given half

Particular Case.

85

of the negative wave, a whole wave of each

we have only
negative

to the

form

is

And

determined.

to the right

and the

through equal distances, and compound

left,

those parts which


find the

wave

to shift the positive

fall

within the limits of the string, in order to

time corresponding to that amount of

at the

shifting.

99 affords an easy and inThe initial velocities being zero, we have


and we may therefore take \/r (jr) = o hence

The

101.

case treated in Art.

teresting example.
t/^'

{pc)

that
cide,

is,

o,

the given halves of the positive

and the ordinate

of the corresponding point of the

Hence, completing the waves as


following forms and

and negative wave

at any point of each

initial

string

is

in

its

in the last article,

positions

coin-

half the ordinate

form.

initial

we have

the

Fig. 8.

A PB

represents the halves of the positive

coinciding

and

B qb

when

o.

apA

A,B

oi the negative wave.

of the string, and the

initial

and negative waves,

the other half of the positive,

is

form

is

the two 'curves' which coincide in

are, as before, the

that given

AP B)

ends

by compounding

that

is,

by doubling

the ordinate at every point.


After the lapse of a quarter of a period, the waves will have

been

shifted (one to the right

and the other

to the left) through

a distance equal to half the length {A B) of the


that part of the figure

which

is

within the limits

been changed into the following

Fig. 9.

and

will

have

string

AB

Sudden Changes of Direction,


And from

this

form of the

we

87

obtain by composition the following as the

string at that instant

Fig. 10.

At

the

end of half a period the form

and

at the

will

be evidently con-

two half waves again coinciding;

trary to the initial form, the

end of three-quarters of a period, the form

and

that of the last figure reversed right

(as

left

it

will

be

would be

seen through the paper from the back).


If the original point of flexure be at the middle of the string,

the form at the end of the


will

be a straight

But

line.

third,

first,

&c. quarter of a period

in other cases the string will always

be divided into either two or three straight portions,


in general, but only twa-jat the instants

when

negative waves coincide, and also at the instants

of each

is

same end of the

opposite the

three

viz.

the positive

and

when a summit

string,

in

all,

four

times in each vibration.

The

value of -j- at either end of the string varies discon-

tinuously in a remarkable way.


trically

without

but

difficulty,

This
the

may

be traced geome-

following

mode

of proof

good example of the use of Fourier's series.


dy
derived from (2), we have,
Putting AT = o in the value of

affords a

at that

end of the

dy
-T-

Now

string,

%hl

,^=00

r2,-i

the series 2*"!

I
iTia
2i'nt
-sm
-cos

Q cos

evidently represents

(3)

a pe-

is r, and which satisfies the


and any such function can, with
the addition if necessary of a constant term, be represented by
such a series. We may include the constant term by extending
the summation to j = o.

riodic function of

condition /(i)

which the period

=y{T

i);

Sudden Changes

88

Consider, then, a function/'(/) of which the value

c from

2]~"

Assuming_/(/) =

is

/=o to /=a;
from /=a to i = 7a;

from

Ta

to /

Q cos

r.

we

shall

have

and

for

Performing the integrations in

values of i except o.

all

separate parts (as in finding

A;^ in (2)),

2{c^ k) sm 21'na
when
T

we

find

Ci =

not o.

is

ZTT

Hence

the discontinuous function /*(/)

is

represented by the

series

which

^2-

{c-'k\-\- -^

k H
will

be identical with (3)

2a,
T

,.

'

if

-sm

cos

we assume

2a

a, k,

and

^ so that

hi

a(l

a)

from which we find


3

and

it

AT

2/

follows that the string, at the point

maintains

its

initial

direction

AQ

(Fig. 7, Art. 99),


(IT

from

= o to

= , (that

during the time of wave-transmission along a distance

then suddenly becomes parallel to


tion until

/=

(i

-}}T,

2
until

the

when

it

QB and maintains
resumes the

first

a),

is,

it

that direc-

direction

end of the period

representation of these

r,

and so on

successively.

The

changes by a diagram in which the

of Direction.
abscissa

-^

2it

and ordinate
(ory(/))

is

89

are proportional to /

obvious,

and may be

and

left

to the value of

to the reader,

(See Helmholtz, p. 93, where a greater number of intermediate

forms of the string

is

given,

and a diagram representing

dy
the values of-r- at

dx

one end, which

is

taken as the curve of

pressure (or rather of variation of pressure)

on a bridge sup-

posed to support the string

The

at that

end.

pressure are sensibly proportional to those

seen in Chap. VII.)

variations

of-^t

of

as will be

CHAPTER

VI.

VIBRATIONS OF A STRING {continued).


102.
(in

The most

general form of the infinitesimal vibrations

one plane) of a

Art. 97, which,

in Art. 72,

string is given by the equation (i) of


by a transformation inverse to that employed

may be

written thus

^i sin

,=1

where

-J-

cos

{^ + a.)

(4)

the distance of any point in the string from one

is

end, and J/ is the lateral displacement of that point at the time /.


This displacement is therefore the sum of the displacements, in
general infinite in number, represented by the several terms of
the series;

and the

ingly be said to be

vibration of the whole string

compounded

may

accord-

of the vibrations represented

by those terms.
Let us then consider separately the vibration represented by
the term of the order

we

z.

Supposing

term to

this

exist alone,

have, instead of (4),

tux
/2;7r/
\
^
+ a,.j,
y=Ci sm y- cos
.

(^

and the form of the

any time

string at

is

therefore a

harmonic

curve cutting the axis in fixed points or nodes, which divide


the whole length into i equal parts, while the amplitudes of the

waves of the curve vary periodically with the time, and every
individual point (except

an

nodes) performs harmonic vibra-

same period -

tions with the


string is

the

oscillation with

Thus, the motion of the whole


nodes, of the kind described in

Harmonics of a String,
Art. 93, but with this

91

the waves are of the

distinction, that

harmonic form.

Now

if,

returning to the general equation (4),

the coefficients preceding

all

arbitrary, there will

we suppose

to vanish, the rest remaining

be the same number of nodes, and the

still

7"

period of the vibration will

may

be-; but

still

the form of the waves

be any whatever, as in Art. 93.

If Cj

not zero, there are no actual nodes (except the fixed

is

and the

ends),

first

component of the
is r and

which the period

oscillation of

vibration consists in an

the wave-length

is

twice

the length of the string.

103.

When

that of

component tone heard

and

But other

this is called the

of

string.

harmonic scale of the fundaalso.

(If,

however, the period

so long that the fundamental tone does not

limits

an

in general

fundamental tone of the

tones, belonging to the

mental tone, are in general heard


is

is

which the pitch corresponds to the period r of the whole

vibration,

without nodes, produces

string, vibrating

audible note, the lowest

fall

within the

lowest tone heard will of course be one

audibility, the

of the higher components,)


If there is one node, the period

tone heard

is

becomes -

and the lowest

the octave of the fundamental tone.


7*

And

in general, if there are

the lowest tone heard

is

the

{}

i nodes, the period is-jand


\f^ harmonic of the funda-

mental tone.

But

in

each case higher harmonic components are in general

heard, so that the sound

The

is

compound

note.

notes produced by a string vibrating with one or

more

nodes, are called by musicians the harmonics of the string.

104. Now, when the string vibrates without nodes, so as to

produce what

is

called

its

fundamental note, the

series of har-

monic component tones is in general complete so far as it can


be traced by the ear; and a practised ear, properly assisted
(see below, Art. 115),

we

are able, as

we

can

easily distinguish ten or

shall see presently, to

make a

more.

But

string vibrate

how Propagated,

Vibrations

92

manner

in such a

Cp

coefficients

that

any proposed value of

for

C^^.,

so

vibrations of which the periods

component harmonic

that the

i all the

series (4) shall vanish;

C^^ &c. in the

are - .> &c. are extinguished. And it is found, as a fact,


t
21
that when this is done, the corresponding tones become either quite

or nearly inaudible.

105.

From

the

stated in

the

two

Articles

it

is

obvious to infer that each component tone actually heard,

is

facts

produced exclusively, or

last

at least mainly,

by the corresponding

component harmonic vibration of the string \


But to appreciate the force of this conclusion, we must conphsenomena more

sider the

106.

The

precisely.

vibrations in the ear

which ultimately produce the

sense of sound, are very remotely derived from those of the


string.

In the

first

place,

sound-waves in

the

excited in a very slight degree by the string

be shewn by stretching a

violin

two very firmly fixed supports

when

wall

it

will

air

are

This may

or pianoforte string between


instance, iron pegs in a

for

be found impossible to make

of any considerable strength.

the

itself.

In

all

it

yield a note

stringed

actual

instru-

ments, therefore, the supports of the string are so arranged as


to

communicate a

surface of wood.
in the air

and

brane of the

ear,

state

Then

of forced vibration to a considerable


this vibrating surface originates

waves

propagated to the tympanic

mem-

these, being

put that

membrane

itself into

a state of forced

which is further communicated, by means of the linkwork of small bones mentioned in Art. 4, to the membrane of
the oval window; and finally, from that, through the fluid of
vibration,

the labyrinth, to those parts of which the vibrations ultimately


affect the auditory nerve.

Evidently, therefore,
the form

it

and period of

material system

by given

is

excited

vibrations

at

any part of a

maintained at any other

and period of the


What sort of vibrations

part are connected with the form

For a discussion of the question,


tones ? see the Memoirs of Ohm and Seebeck,
Ix. 449; Ixii. I.
^

by what law

essential to inquire,

vibrations

in

latter.

produce simple
Poggendorf, vol. lix, p. 497

Lam
The

107.

of Forced

answerv^o

of the law offorced

Oscillations.

this question is

If a material system, acted

contained in a statement

(See Appendix to

oscillations.

^^"^'*fi

on by a

this chapter.)

conservative

system

of

forces ^ be very slightly disturbed from a configuration of stable

and then

equilibrium,
velocities (or

left to itself after

having had very small

none) impressed upon any of

its

particles,

continue for ever to execute small oscillations; that


particle (except

such as

path in which

will

had

it

may

it

may

remain

at

describe a

rest) will

The motion may

in the condition of equilibrium.

may

every

always be very near to the position which

not be a vibration, in the proper sense.

system may, or

will

it

is,

not, pass again

and again

That

is,

or
the

at equal intervals

of time through the same configuration.

108.

If,

however, the displacements and velocities are always

so small that their squares and products

motion

insensible, then the

or else

by

is

itself,

surable

is

may be

treated as

sensibly either a true vibration,

compounded of vibrations each of which might subsist


but of which the periods are in general incommenso that by their

periodic motion, or

more

superposition

they produce a non-

properly, a vibration of infinitely long

period.

We may

call these

component

vibrations the natural vibra-

tions of the system, to distinguish


tions

them from

the forced vibra-

which are now to be considered.

109. In addition to the suppositions just made,


further suppose, either that certain points

let

us

now

of the system are

subjected to small obligatory periodic motions, or else to the


action of small periodic
intensity

is

forces;

which may be

and the other

either constant or
is

is,

forces

of which the

dependent on configurations,

a periodic function of the time.

In either case, provided that


cities

that

expressed by the product of two factors, one of

all

the displacements

and

velo-

continue to be of the order of magnitude above supposed,

the whole motion

is

compounded of two

sets

of vibrations:

That is, a system in which the mutual action between any two particles
independent of the velocities of those and of all other particles. (Thomson and Tait, 271.)
^

is

Hypothesis of Resistance.

94

one which as before

may

be called naturaly of which the periods

and which
by a proper choice of the disand another set
posable initial displacements and velocities
which are forced by the imposed motions or forces, and which
are permanent, and in no way dependent on initial circumare independent of the imposed motions or forces,

might be

entirely extinguished

stances.

And

it

/ harmonic
V

can be shewn that no forced vibration can have any


component of a period which does not exist among the

periods of the harmonic components

110.
to

be

We

have so

far

of the imposed motions or forces.


supposed the original system of forces

conservative^ so that the natural vibrations,

would continue

for

But in

ever.

resistances of various

There

of energy ; but the energy

is

which can

if

once begun,

actual cases there are

kinds, which sooi^er or

the natural vibrations.

into other forms,

all

later

extinguish

thus an apparent destruction

is

not really destroyed, but changed


in general

be assigned, such as

heat, &c.

When, however, we only wish

to take account of the energy

of the system in the ordinary mechanical sense,


introduce these resistances under the

of the non-conservative class, that

pendent of
there

is

is,

and on a

we have

to

form of forces

forces which are not inde-

particular hypothesis,

which

reason to believe gives sensibly correct results for small

velocities,

by forces
tional

velocities;

fictitious

namely, that the motions of the particles are resisted


directly proportional

difl5culty

arises

problem, but the result

in
is

to

their

velocities*,

no

addi-

the mathematical treatment of the

modified in the following manner.

must be understood that the word resistance is here used to denote


any cause which tends to extinguish that particular kind of motion which
^

It

'

constitutes the vibration considered.


In the case of a vibrating string, for
instance, the resistance of the air is one such cause ; another is the com-

munication of motion from the ends of the string to the bodies which
support its tension and a third is probably the conversion of part of its
energy into heat. The hypothesis is, that the combined effect of these
causes may be represented by assuming a retarding force to act on each
particle, directly proportional to its velocity; and it is at any rate certain
that results calculated on this hypothesis agree in general much better with
Any
experience than those obtained by neglecting resistances altogether.
other law of resistance would introduce insuperable difficulties into the
mathematical treatment of most cases.
;

Second Approximation,
The

periods of the natural vibrations are altered (in general

slightly),

without ceasing to be constant

diminish rapidly, so that the system


to rest,
If,

95

if

there are

no

is

but their amplitudes

soon brought sensibly

obligatory motions or periodic forces.

we have above supposed,

however, there are, as

small

periodic forces or obligatory periodic motions, the system soon

assumes a permanent condition of motion, consisting of vibrations (which

we

will call forced, as before) of

which the periods

those of the imposed motions or forces

are connected with

according to the law already stated; and there


the natural vibrations except this

is

no trace of
and phases

that the amplitudes

of the forced vibrations depend upon the relative magnitudes

of their periods and those which the natural vibrations would

have

if

they existed.

HI. If any harmonic component of one of the imposed


motions or forces have a period nearly equal to that of a har-

monic component of any one of the natural


there will be

amplitude.

vibrations, then

a corresponding forced vibration with a large

On

the supposition of

lute equality of periods, the

no

and of abso-

resistances,

amplitude in question would go on

increasing with the time, so as soon to violate the supposition

But

of small motions.

in

all

actual cases the effect of the

resistahcies is to limit the increase

magnitude, which, however,

of the amplitude to a definite

may

be larger than

still

is

con-

sistent with the supposition referred to.

112. In fact, in a great


the squares

number

of cases, the supposition that

and products of displacements and

be neglected leads

to results

which agree

proximation, with experiment, but


of a delicate but
for

still

fail

perceptible kind,

velocities

well, as

to explain

may

first ap-

phsenomena

which can be accounted

by a second approximation.

The

result of this

second approximation shews that there are

in general forced vibrations of which the amplitudes are small

magnitudes of the second order, and of which the harmonic

components have periods which are

either the

periods of harmonic components of the


forces, or are

halves of the

imposed motions or

such that the numbers of vibrations in a given

Experiments.

96

time are the sums or differences of the numbers of vibrations


of the latter taken two and two.
113.

We

At present we

we

shew afterwards how

shall

accounts for

this result

remarkable phaenomena of so-called 'combination-tones.'-

the

see that, so far as the

approximation goes,

first

are entitled to assume that the vibrations which ultimately

affect the auditory nerve

have no harmonic components

differ-

ing in period from those of the vibrations of the body from

which the sound

And when we compare

originates.

this theo-

conclusion with the observed fact that the extinction of

retical

any harmonic component of the vibration of a


guishes (very nearly,

if

extin-

string

not entirely) the sensation of the cor-

responding tone, the inference appears unavoidable that the


of simple

sensation

tone

is

produced by simple

harmonic

vibration.

114.

We

will

now

describe

some simple experiments which

exhibit the accordance of the theory of vibrating strings with


facts.

In the
is,

first

place, the isochronism of small vibrations (that

the independence of their periods

shewn by

of sensibly the same pitch, whether


or

softly,

exceed the

The
The

limits usually

it

following

is

is

the verification of the

an easy method of making some of the

making

the ear conscious that

down

(The two or three

c,

it

hears them.

strongly, say c,

so that the vibrations

note should be tuned well in unison.)

fixed

com-

usually produced.

any note of a pianoforte rather

by the damper.

of

much

harmonic component tones sensible to an unpractised

hold the key

strike

be made to sound loudly

allowed in music.

point next in importance

ear; or, rather, of


Strike

their amplitudes) is

provided the variations of loudness do not

pound character of the note


principal

on

the familiar fact that a given string produces a note

may

and

not be stopped

strings belonging to the

Immediately afterwards

very gently any note belonging to the harmonic scale

holding the key also down.

upon

Then,

the sound of this latter note as

if
it

the attention be
dies

be heard to remain as a component of the note

away,
first

it

will

struck;

Resonators,
and so
what

distinctly, that

now

is

appear quite surprising that

will often

it

97

a conspicuous phaenomenon should have entirely

escaped observation before attention was thus directed to

In

way

this

or ten harmonic

eight

An

generally be distinguished.

it^.

component tones may

ear which has been musically

trained will soon acquire great facility in tracing these harmonic

up

tones,

to

and

number varying with circumstances,

certain

without any assistance.


fainter ones,

it is

But, in order to distinguish the higher

necessary to put the ear in communica-

which

tion with resonators, the action of

may be

here briefly

explained.

They

115.

made of glass
The neck

are usually

of nearly spherical bottles.

and so formed

made

to

There

fit

is

it

of the bottle

with sealing-wax

closely into the outer part of the

another

a resonator
far as the

by coating

that

or brass, in the shape

is

applied to the ear,

it

When

ear.

such

forms, with the meatus as

tympanic membrane, a cavity with one opening; and

the air in such a cavity

is

capable of vibrating with a deter-

minate period, which depends on the form and


cavity

may be

meatus of the

opposite to the neck.

orifice,

short,

is

it

of the

size

and of the opening.

Suppose now

that there

neighbourhood, the

is

an external vibrating body

air in the cavity will

be put into a

forced vibration, of which the component periods

will

in the

state oi

be those

of the harmonic components of the vibrations of the external

body, but of which the amplitudes

But

siderable.

if

in general

be incon-

the period of any one of these

harmonic

components coincide
natural

exactly, or very nearly, with that of the

vibration of the

cavity,

the amplitudes of the forced

vibrations will be large (Art. Ill),


particular

will

component with

with unpleasant loudness.

and the ear

great distinctness,

In order to obtain

will

hear that

and indeed often


this effect in the

highest degree, the other ear should be closed.


116.

We

shall

have to refer afterwards to the general prin-

ciples of resonance,

and

to

the use of these resonators

particular.

Helmholtz, p. 86.

in

Resonators,

98

Imperfect substitutes for them

and the following


If a

action.

stiff

may

made

be

an easy way of roughly

is

of paste-board,

illustrating their

paste-board tube, of about i\ inch in dia-

meter, and of any length, from three or four inches upwards,

be pressed with one end closely upon the

ear, the

together form a cavity open at one end;

responding to the natural vibrations


ascertained

hy tapping

of this cavity

easily

is

the outside of the tube with the ends of

The sound

the finger-nails or with a pencil.

a mere

tube and ear

and the note cor-

of the taps

not

is

but has a determinate pitch, which, however, an

noise,

unpractised ear

liable to estimate

is

the ccJrresponding note

an

octave too low.

If,

be struck on a pianoforte,

now,

and the

coincidence of pitch be nearly exact, the effect of the tube in


strengthening the fundamental tone of the string

and may be made


removing and replacing the
spicuous,

more

still

striking

And

tube.

if

very con-

is

by

alternately

any other note be

struck of which one of the stronger harmonic components has

the pitch corresponding to the natural vibrations of the cavity,


the strengthening of that

component may be made more or


same way.

less strikingly sensible in the

By

tilting

the tube, so that

it

ceases to touch the ear

round, the pitch of the natural vibrations


therefore be

In

tone.

all

and can

brought into coincidence with that of a higher

manner, by

this

may be made

tube

raised,

is

different angles of tilting, the

to strengthen several

of the same note; and

so,

by

tilting

it

backwards and forwards

between complete contact and a considerable opening,


series of tones

may be

same

harmonic components

this

heard upwards and downwards several

times before the vibrations of the string once struck cease to

produce audible sound.

and

practice, but

117.

The

when

is

In the

while a finger

violin species, or

latter case, if
is lightly

is easily

on a

Or

the finger

care

shewn on

horizontal piano-

a key be struck and held down,

applied at a nodal point, the string will

sound the corresponding harmonic instead of


note.

little

very striking.

vibration of a string with nodes

any instrument of the


forte.

This experiment requires a


successful

may be

its

applied after the key

fundamental
is

struck, in

Experime7its on Harmonics of String,


which case the fundamental tone, which

is

extinguished, and the harmonic remains

and

Thus,

the fundamental note be

if

harmonic note g'

either

In

be heard.

will

and the

c,

from

at one-third of the distance

may be shewn by

of paper:

strip

this

will

if it

first,

is

finger be applied
string, the

case there are two

not touched by

is

placing on the string a small bent

be placed at any point except the node,

be shaken when the key

will

at

heard alone.

is

end of the

nodes, and the existence of that one which


the finger

heard

99

but

struck;

is

if at

it

the node,

it

remain undisturbed.

The harmonic

may be produced

notes of a harp string

same way, and the

first

of them (or octave)

is

in the

sometime^ used

by harp players.

The

production of harmonic notes on the violin or violon-

by touching the

cello,

of a node,

string lightly with the finger at the place

is familiar to

on those instruments.

players

obviously essential to the production of harmonics that

It is

the point at which force

is

make

applied to

the string vibrate

(whether by a hammer, the finger, qr a bow) should not be

a node.
118. It was stated above (Art. 104) that a string

made

manner

to vibrate in such a

component

whose periods

vibration, with all those

may be

any proposed harmonic

that

are aliquot

parts of the period of that one, shall be extinguished.

This follows from the formula (2) of Art.

we suppose

formula

lowe"st terms), that

vibrate
into

it

which

(J

is, if

i is

/ (

we suppose

by being plucked
n equal

being

at

It

series

was

also stated that

for

if

in this

a proper fraction in

that the string

is

made

vibra-

are-)
n 2n

when

to

divide

terms in the series vanish for

and therefore the component


T

tions of which the periods

any one of the points which

parts, all those

a multiple of ,

99

&c. do not

exist.

this is

done, the corresponding

of harmonic tones becomes nearly or quite inaudible

^.

This fact was discovered by Dr. T. Young. See his * Experiments and
Sound and Light,' Phil, Trans, for 1800, p. 138.

Inquiries respecting

Experiments on Harmonics of String.

loo

To shew

119.

this experimentally,

it is

only necessary to pass

the point of the finger very lightly across a pianoforte or violin

This should be

string.

first

done

at

a point not coinciding

with a node in some proposed division, for instance, at a point


not dividing the string into three equal parts,

and the attention

directed to the corresponding harmonic (in this case the third

component, or 'twelfth' above the fundamental


it

may be heard

distinctly.

across a node, the

Then,

if

the

tone), so that

be passed

finger

absence of the same harmonic

be

will

unmistakeable.

The

following

hand, at

from

and the
with

its

either

is

an easy and

Pluck the string

experiment.

striking

way of making

alternately, with

middle point and at a point one-third of


end.

its

These points must be taken very

fingers passed lightly across the string.

the fundamental tone will

be heard very

when the string is plucked


when it is plucked at the

this

a finger of each
length

exactly,

Then along
distinctly

twelfth

at its middle pointy

octave

other point.

Thus,

third* or d' string of a viplin be used, the tones, a",

the

and the
if

d'', will

the

be

heard alternately.
* The fourth string, which is covered with
The wire covering appears to have the effect

the component
the pluck.

vibrations

which at the

first

wire, does not answer so well.


of immediately re-establishing
instant were extinguished by

APPENDIX TO CHAPTER

VI,

ON FORCED OSCILLATIONS.
(The

is to be taken only as a slight sketch of the


which many points of interest are omitted. For
more complete details on that part which relates to natural
oscillations, see Thomson and Tait, 343.
The process here
given only differs from that employed by those authors in
modifications of detail, and in the extension to the case in
which the system is subjected to obligatory motions.)
If x^ y,
be the coordinates of any point of a material

subject,

following
in

system referred to fixed rectangular axes, the differential equawhich define the motion of the system under the action
of given external forces are to be derived from the formula
tions

\m{x"hx^y'hy^z"hz) = ^{Xhx^Yhy-\-Zhz),

(i)

where accents signify total differentiation with respect to /, and


the summation extends, on the left hand to every particle ^,
and on the right hand to every point at which an external force
is applied.
X, Y, Z are the components of the force applied
at the point x,y^ z.
This formula expresses the proposition (known as D'Alembert's

theorem) that the system

is

at every instant in

a con-

figuration of equilibrium with respect to the applied forces

and

the resistances to acceleration arising from the inertia of the


particles.
When the system is not entirely free, the possible

motions of the particles are limited by equations of condition


and bx, by, &c. in (i) represent any arbitrary infinitesimal
alterations which could, at the time /, be made in the coordinates
y, &c. without violating those equations. In other
words, the equation (i) must at every instant subsist for values
of hXf &c. corresponding to any arbitrary infinitesimal displacement which the system could at that instant undergo
.:*;,

Forced

loa

Oscillations.

without violating the conditions which limit the freedom of


its motion.
When the equations of condition contain the time / explicitly,
the expression configuration of equilibrium at any proposed
'

time

is

'

to be understood as

meaning

that

which would be a

configuration of equilibrium, if /, in the equations of condition,


became constant, with the value which it has at the instant in
(Thus, if a particle be constrained to move on a
question.
surface

which

continually changing

is

its

form,

it

is

in a con-

any instant if the force applied to


the direction of a normal to the surface at that instant.)

figuration of equilibrium at
it is

in

We may

call the equilibrium relative when the equations of


condition contain / explicitly, and absolute when they do not.
Our present object is to consider the case in which the equations of condition contain / explicitly, only because given points
of the system are subject to obligatory motiofis, so that the
This, it
coordinates of those points are given functions of /.
should be observed, is only a generalization of the common
In either
case in which given points of the system are fixed.
case the terms referring to those points disappear from both
sides of the formula (i), because, whether a point is fixed, or
subject to an obligatory motion, it could not, at any proposed
time, receive any displacement without violating the condition
imposed upon it ; hence h x = o, &c. for all such points.
Suppose, now, we refer the system to a set of independent
coordinates fp fg?
^^ ^^7 kind, that is, quantities of which
the values at any time would determine the configuration of the
system at that time, but could be all assumed arbitrarily without
violating the equations of condition.
The transformation to the Lagrangian form^ of the differential equations is in no way affected by the suppositions now
made, so that we shall have as many equations of the second
order as there are independent coordinates, viz.

on which equations, however,

the following observations are to

be made.
7"

is

the expression, in terms of the

new

variables f^, &c. of

12 m{x'' +/' + /');


the summation extending to all coordinates which appear on
the left-hand side of (i).
The coordinates of those points
*

See Price, /nf. Cat., vol.

iv.,

302,

Forced

Oscillations,

103

which are subject

to obligatory motions therefore


in 7" as expressed in terms oi x^y, z, &c.

do not appear

Let us denote by x, y, z, &c. the original coordinates of those


which are subject to obligatory motions. Then the
relations between the old and new variables will enable us to
express each of the other coordinates x,^, z, &c. as a function
points

of

fi)

6?

^^d

&c.; suppose, for instance,

X, y, z,
^*

= *(fi,f2.---x,y,z,...);

then

dx

dx

-,

and when these values are

dx

.,

substituted in the original expression

homogeneous,
^^ y'>
Now X, y, ... x', y, ... are given functions of /; and when
their values are introduced T is no longer homogeneous with
respect to ^\ ^\, .. and also contains / explicitly,
for T, the result is evidently

a function which

and of the second degree, with respect

(This

new

value of

is

to ^\, fa'

merely the kinetic energy (or half

is

vis-viva) of the whole system expressed in terms of the inde-

pendent coordinates.)
For the present, however, we
in terms of f'j

x',

will

so that

suppose 7" to be expressed

we may assume

T = jPf + iGfV + + i^xV +


+ Si\i\+... + Te,x'^.. + UK'y' + ...
,^

where the

(3)

Q, &c. are given functions which may


the coordinates, but not their differential coefficients

coefficients

P,

contain

all

f&c.
The

functions S^, S2,

in equations (2) are to

be found

Xbx^rhy + Zhz + ...=^,h^, + ^,h^, + ...,

(4)

...

by means of the equation


which gives

^dx
so that

X, F,

...

nates, Sj, &c. are

dz

^^dy

being given functions of the original coordiknown functions of the new coordinates, con-

taining also in general x, y, &c.


have now to introduce the supposition that the obligatory

We

motions consist of small vibrations.


stance, that the point (x, y, z)

x = x<,4-a,

where

x,,,

y^,

z^

is

y^jQ
are

Let us assume, for

in-

subject to a vibration, so that

+ oLV,

constants, , v,

z = Zq

are

+ aw]

given periodic

Forced

I04

/, and a
a small quantity of the

functions of

is

+
Oscillations,

a constant which

first

We may

order.

may be
call (x^,

considered
j^^z^) the

mean position of the point (x, y, z) (the point (x, y, z) would


become fixed at (x^,, y^, zj if a were = o).
Next we will suppose that the system is always nearly in
;

a configuration of absolute stable equilibrium ; that is, that the


oi^^y differ by quantities of
values of the coordinates f^, fg*
the first order from values (which we will denote by (f^) &c.)
which would belong to a configuration of stable equilibriuni if

a were =

o.

The excursions of the particles being of the first order, we


make the further assumption (which must be justified^ h posteriori) that the differential coefficients ^^, &c. are also

Hence

order.

first

is

of the second order.


.

are of the

first

order, while

,.

first

&c.

&c. are of the second (since

we must

order,

j^i

But -y^

^ti

&c. only occur in the coefficients P, &c.).

fi,

retain only terms of the


//

dT
--^

of the

Hence,

if

we

reject the terms

&c. in the equations (2).

it is evident that in the coefficients P, Q, &c. we


put x^ for x, &c. and the equilibrium values for f^, &c., so
that those coefficients will receive constant values.
Hence we
may take

Moreover,

may

terms in x', y', ... only, which will disappear in forming


equations (2).
Hence the left-hand member of the first of equations (2)

becomes
[i,

i]r,

[i,

2]r

[i,

sir,

+...+ax+ hf + cx,

and of the second equation

b, sif'a + +.x" b,r + cj',


In these equations the symbols [1,1], &c. as well as
&c. merely denote given constants, and [i, 2] = [2, i], &c.

[2,

iif'i

+ [2, 2]r.

and so on.
j,
^

The justification

The motions

of the particles consist of isochrofollows that the velocities may be diminished


indefinitely by diminishing the amplitudes.
The supposition of small velocities therefore merely implies a certain limit to the allowable magnitude
of the amplitudes.
is this

nous vibrations, from which

it

Forced Oscillations.

members of (2) we observe


&c. for the equilibrium values of
shall have, by Taylor's theorem, as far as terms of

With respect
that,

to the right-hand

putting as before

&c.

f,

the

we

first

105

(f,),

order,

s, = (SO

+ (f -(fi)) (g|) +(f,-(f,))


dS,\

/dS,\

(g) +

/dS.

H"Q)^<^)^-Q))
where brackets signify values
values of the coordinates.

Now, when

corresponding to equilibrium

the variables have equilibrium values,

2{Xbx + rby-\'Zbz) =

o,

and therefore
But since

dfj, &c. are

(Sj) = o,

(S2)

independent and arbitrary,

this implies

&c.
Further, it is evident that we may assume the zeros of the
coordinates f^, &c. in such a manner that their equilibrium
values (fi), &c. shall = o.
Hence, if we denote the constants

(^),

o,

&c. by letters A,

jB,

&c. the

first

of equations (2) will

become

x = Xo-f-a, &c., so that x'' = a", &c. We have also


supposed that u, v, w are periodic functions of /, and therefore
each of them may be expressed as a series of simple harmonic
terms by means of Fourier's theorem.
Suppose sin (;z/+/3)
occurs in the value of x, then it will also occur in x''; and we

Now

now

see that, putting i? for

>

we may

write the above equa-

tion in the form

the

right-hand side consisting entirely of harmonic terms of


by small coefficients. The second
equation will be of the form
different periods, multiplied

([2,i]Z?^-^,)f,+ ([2,2]i)2-^,)f,+
and so on.

Thus we

shall

have a

set of

...

= /sin(/+y)-h...,

simultaneous differential

Forced

io6

Oscillations.

equations of the second order, as

many

in

number

as there are

independent coordinates.
We will now, however, introduce the further supposition of
small resistances varying directly as the velocities of the parThis does not add any difficulty to the integration of
the equations, and leads to results more in accordance with
ticles.

experience.

This supposition

dx

is

equivalent

to

writing

X^->

&c.

X, &c. in some or all of the terms of the original


formula, e being a small constant"; and it is evident that the
effect of this will be, when terms of the second order are
neglected, to add to Sj, &c. linear functions of f'j,
^, &c. with
constant coefficients; and transposing these terms to the lefthand side of the differential equations, we shall have (using
<Zj, &c. in a new sense),

instead of

= /{sin(/+/3) +
= /sin(/+y) +

..

which are the differential equations of the problem.


This system of equations may be treated in several different
ways, of which the following appears most convenient for our
present purpose.
Adopting abbreviations for the operative symbols,
write the equations thus
[tz^]fi

+ [a<5]f2 + ...
+

\ha'\^^^-\bb\^^

= >^sin(/+^) +
.

= /sin (/+y) +

(where it is to be observed that [^3]


Let V be the determinant
\aa\,

\ha\
\ca\

\ab\
\bb\
\cb\

is

we may

not the same as

\hci\).

\ac\..,
\bc-\...

\cc\...

Now if we operate upon the differential equations respectively


with the minor determinants

^V

^V

^V

d\aa\

d\ba\

d\ca\

just as in a system of algebraic linear equations, fgj fs? <^c. will

Forced
be eliminated;

Oscillations.

107

and, observing the eifect of differentiation on


members, we see that the

the periodic terms in the right-hand


result will

be

Vf, = i^sin(/ + Z) + ..
and

in like

(5)

manner

Vf2 = i^'sin(/+Z') + ..
K, K! L, &c. being known

To

constants,

integrate these equations

we

and K, IC
first

suppose

small.

their

hand members to be absent, so that all the variables f^,


satisfy the same differential equation, which we may write

rightfg'

o,

of the order 2 m, if m be the number of the independent coordinates fp &c.


If we put for a moment V ^/{p), and call a^, a^, a^,
ttgTO the roots of the equation /{x) = o, then we know that
the general solution of V u = o is

and which

is

Cj, C^, ... C^m being arbitrary constants.


Hence the values
of the variables fj, fg'
^^^ ^^ ^^^^ form, differing only in the
values of the constants C^, &c. ; but since the complete solution
of the system can only contain 2 m arbitrary constants, those
in the values of fg? &c. must be expressible as functions of those
in fj.
The relations necessary for this purpose would have to
be ascertained by substituting the expressions for fp &c. in the
original system of equations of the second order.
have no
occasion, however, to perform this operation actually.
Considering now the value of any coordinate, say

We

we

permanently small
equation /"(.r) = o consist
of imaginary pairs, and the real part of each pair be negative,
so that the value of f^ may be put in the form
see that the motion cannot consist of

oscillations, unless the roots of the

fi

= Ci-isin(w,/-H/3i)H-C2e-2<sin(Z2^-f-/32)-|-...

(6)

(where a^ &c. are used with a new meaning). The factors


e"*"!' &c. are introduced solely by the resistances, as is evident
if we observe that the differential equations would only contain
even powers of
if there were no resistances.
The above values of f^ &c. determine the natural vibrations
of the system, such as could exist if the obligatory vibrations

Forced

io8

Oscillations,

were suppressed by fixing the points subject to them ; and they


are compounded of harmonic vibrations, each of which could

We

subsist alone.

see also that the effect of the resistances

would be gradually to diminish the amplitudes of the vibrations


so that the motion would be ultimately extinguished.

We

have thus obtained the complete solution of the system


of equations (5) &c., on the supposition that K^ K' &c. are
And the solution of those equations in their actual form
all o.

may now

be found as follows
for the complete value of

Assume,

fj,

the terms in the ex-

pression (6)

+
where A,

(A

>4 sin

(/

Z)

.5 cos (/

+ Z) +

are constants to be determined.


similar pair of terms is to be assumed for every term
.

on

the right-hand side of (5); but as the following process would


merely have to be repeated for each pair, we shall attend only
to the first.)
Substituting this value of f^ in (5), and observing that the
operation
destroys the part (6), we obtain the condition

^ V sin (/+ Z) + ^ V cos (/ + Z) = A" sin {ni + Z)


A and B.

(7)

for the determination of

Now

the operation V, consisting partly of even

odd powers of

D (or )

>

may

and

partly of

be put in the form

where the second term is introduced entirely by the resistances,


and if they are considered as small quantities of the first order
the terms depending on them in <^(Z>^) will be of higher orders,
so that (f){Z>^) may be considered as what V would be reduced
The result of the operations on
to if there were no resistances.
the left-hand side of (7)

is

easily seen to

be

(A ^{-n')-Bnx{-n'')) sin {ni+L)


+ {A nx(-n^) + B(I>(and

this is to

have

^sin

be identical with

{nt-\-L)

n")) cos (w/


;

+ Z),

hence we must

A<i>{-n'')-Bnx{-n'') = K,

Anx{-n^) + ^<|)(-') =

o;

from which we find

and when

-B

A
<!>(-') "

nx(-n^)

the values of

{^{-n')r-^n^x{-n')r

and

thus given are introduced in

Forced

Oscillations,

the expression assumed for f^,


reduction)

becomes

it

109
(after

an obvious

f,= C,-i^sin(;i/+ft)4-...

-,sin(/+Z

fl)

...,

(8)

{(*(-V+'(x(-^)r}*
Q being a constant of which we need not write the actual value.
Thus we see that the effect of every harmonic term in the
obligatory vibrations is in general to add to the value of each
coordinate a term with the same period ; and these added terms
The other terms,
represent the forced vibrations of the system.
= o, &c. give the natural vibrations,
which are the same as if
but these in general soon become insensible through the diminution of the factors e""''!^ &c. introduced by the resistances,
while the forced vibrations are permanent.
It is important to observe that it follows from the nature of
the whole process that no periods will be introduced in the
forced vibrations which do not exist in the harmonic components of the obligatory vibrations, so long as terms of the
first order only are considered, because no periodic terms are
ever multiplied together.
With respect to the amplitudes of the forced vibrations, we
see that those will be large of which the periods are such that
the denominators of the coefficients in (8) are small.
Now in the expression

(<^(-V+^(x(-V.
the second term
fore small ;
will

is

introduced by the resistances, and

hence the vibration, Tof which the period

have a large amplitude

the roots of the equation

if

supposition

(|){

is

n be such that <^( ^) = o


= o give the values of

there-

)>

but

<^ (pc^')

+ m^ >/ I,
on the supposition

is

that there are

no

&c.
resistances, so that

on

that

m^^) = o, &c.

Hence it follows that the amplitude of any component of the


forced vibration will be large if its period coincide with that
which would belong to a component of the natural vibrations if
there were no resistances.
And since the effect of the resistances in altering the periods of the natural vibrations is in
general small, we may say in general terms that there will be
forced vibrations of large amplitude if amongst the harmonic
components of the obligatory vibrations there exist any with
periods equal to those of natural vibrations.

no
Lastly,

Forced
we

vibrations at

Oscillations.

see from (8) that though the periods of the forced


all parts of the system are the same as those of

the obligatory vibrations which give rise to them, the phases are
in general different.
The process to be used in the case of periodic forces is

nearly identical with that which has been just explained, but
somewhat simpler, and the results are exactly of the same kind.
It is therefore omitted.

CHAPTER

VII.

ON THE TRANSVERSE VIBRATIONS OF AN ELASTIC


{Dynamical Theory})

STRING.

The

120.

rigorous

motion of an

differential

equations which define the

under given conditions can in

string

elastic

general be formed without difficulty, but cannot be integrated.


It is

only

when

the circumstances of the problem are such that

certain quantities involved in the equations

may

be neglected

without sensible error, that an integrable approximate form

For our present purpose

obtained.

form the rigorous equations; we

it

will

is

not be necessary to

shall introduce ab initio the

conditions of the actual problem, and neglect the small quan-

mentioned above, so as

tities

to obtain the

approximate equa-

tions directly.

Let us then consider an


fixed at

two points A, ^,

elastic string*

of which the ends are

at a distance /

from one another,

greater than the natural length of the string.

In the condition of equilibrium the form of the string


a straight line of length
stant throughout

its

extension to which
If
its

now

it

length,

and

it

will

have a tension,

motion

will

depending on the amount of the

its

position of

and then

left

to

itself,

will ever be much


equilibrium, and we make the

original disturbance

sensibly transversal;
particle

point.

be

con-

be such that no particle

following assumptions

The

will

7",

has been subjected.

the string be slightly disturbed

displaced from

(i)

/,

on

the line

is

such that the vibrations are

that

AB

is,

the projection of any

may be

regarded as a fixed

Vibrations of a String.

112

The

(2)

inclination of every part of the string to the line

AB
The

(3)

is

always an angle so small that the square of

sine or tangent

its

may

be neglected.

extension of any portion of the string due to

change of form may be neglected; or the


the actual length

sequence of

The

(4)

tension

is

of

to the length in equilibrio differs

from

insensibly

its

ratio

(This

unity.

con-

evidently

is

(2).)

and may

sensibly constant,

taken as always equal to T.

(This

is

therefore be

a consequence

of (3).)

Now

121.

the position of any element of the string be

let

A, and the

referred to rectangular axes having their origin at

axis of
It

coinciding with

from

follows

AB.
given element,

(i) that, for a

regarded as constant, and from (2) that

an element of which the length


be the coordinates of that end of

X + dx,y -^dy, z + dz
If

no

oi:

is ds,
it

dx =

ds.

or dx, and

which

is

is

let

external forces are taken account

But since

Hence

if

-r^,
ds

end

dm

is

x, y, z

nearest to A,

its

extremities

of,

and

the element

-r^
ds

at the

end next

so that the whole components are

constant and ds = dx, these

is

only

and the components

of these, in the directions of the coordinate axes, are

at the other

be

now

the other end.

acted on by the tensions at

_r^,
ds

to

Consider

become

be the mass of the element, we have

..4,

Vibrations of a Stri^ig.

113

Let p be the longitudinal density of the string, or the mass of a


(The string
its actual state of extension.

unit of length in

being supposed uniform, p

will

be constant.)

Then

dm ^ pds = pdx,
and

if

we put

T=

c^,

and take

dx

constant,

we

obtain from

9
(i) the equations

,^
^
d?~^ ZP'

dH

The

d^^

" ^

2^
dx

integrals of these equations will determine

functions of the two independent variables

they will give the position, at the time

(The value of
determine

its

/,

defines the particle,

and

and z as
that

/;

is,

of any proposed particle.

and the values of

j^-,

displacement from the position of equilibrium.)

122. Since the

first

of equations (2) does not contain

the second does not contain

_y, it

2,

and

follows that the motion of the

on the plane of xy is independent of


on the plane oi yz; so that it will be
one of these equations and we will suppose

projection of the string


that of

its

projection

sufficient to discuss

for simplicity that the

not

exist.

This

motion corresponding to the other does

evidently equivalent to supposing that the

is

displacements and velocities of the particles produced by the


original disturbance

were

all in

one plane, which we

will take

to be that of xy.

We

have then the single equation

of which the general solution

is

y=/{x-af) + F{x-\-a^).

(4)

This equation represents the transmission of two arbitrary


forms along an unlimited Hne, with the same velocity

a, (cor-

responding to the V of Art. 96), in contrary directions and we


have already shewn (Arts. 88, &c.) what must be the general
;

character of these forms in order that the resultant curve

have

nodes, so that

a portion of the

infinite string

between any two nodes may be considered as a


I

may

contained

finite string

Solution of Equations,

114

The mode

two ends.

of obtaining the

same con-

fixed at

its

clusions

from equation (4) in a more analytical manner may be

on mechanics.

seen in treatises

Traite de Mecanique^

t.

ii.

(See, for

chap.

example, Poisson,

Price, Inf. Cal. vol.

viii.

iv.

281.)
It

was also shewn how the most general solution of

which the functions

may be

the problem,

J^

where

123.

then

2,=i

aT=

f and P satisfy the

expressed in the form

sm-y-(^.cos^^+^,sm^^j,

The

value of d^

W =gph and d^ =

thickness.

(5)

2I.

yp-*

and

(3) in

conditions imposed by

Woe

and

t,

is

-^>

W be the weight of the

let

and

For a

r,

the time of a vibration,

string

of given material

is

and

therefore r varies directly as the length

inversely as the square root of the tension.

only be given,

string,

If the material

proportional to the length and to the square

is

of the thickness, so that r varies as the length and the thickness


directly,

and the square root of the tension

If c be the length of string of

the tension T, then

T=gpc, and

inversely.

which the weight would equal


2/

therefore

r= ='

Hence

if

be expressed in the usual manner, the number of vibrations in

a second

is

Vgc.
2/

124.

The form

The form

(5)

may be

arrived at directly as follows

of equation (3) suggests at once as a particular

solution

y = sm.mx{A cos am/ +B sin am^)


cos mx(C cos am/ +Dsin ami),
-\-

no particular conditions are specified, all


A, B, C,
are arbitrary.
But in order that

in which, as long as

the constants m,
this solution

may

represent the motion of the

finite

string,

we

Vibrations resisted by Retarding Forces.


must have,

X=

for all values of

The

/.

/,

j/

x = 0,

= o when

and

also

when

o,

D = o;

being any positive or negative integer.

Thus

of these two conditions gives

first

115

C=

and the second gives

sinml =

whence ml =

we

z'tt,

obtain
(
y = sm A
.

iiix

cos

as a particular solution
particular solutions

we

o,

is

in at

i'Ttai\
~\
B sm
.

and since the sum of any number of

a solution of a linear

equation,

diflferential

obtain (putting ax = 2I) the form (5) as a

more general

solution.

The

A^, B^ are

coefficients

all

arbitrary unless

circumstances of the motion are given

but

it

the

initial

has been shewn

already (Art. 98) that they can be so determined as to give the


required

initial

The form

values

toy and -^

(5) therefore

is

for

every part of the string.

most general solution of the

the

dif-

ferential equation applicable to this simple case of the lateral

(Longitudinal vibrations will be considered

vibration of a string.

in connection with those

of a rod).

The problem becomes ^little more

125.

complicated

if

we

introduce the supposition of a^ retarding force acting at every


point of the string,

and proportional

to the velocity^

The

first

of equations (i) then becomes

And

c being a constant.

where

>^

is

put for

instead of the

first

P
Multiplying (2') by

**,

and using the theorem

See Art. 110, note.


I

of (2)

we

shall

Vibrations resisted by

we

Retcmnng
tcmans"

Forces.
Fi

obtain
j

Assuming

as a solution of tKis equation

find the condition

p=

or

y
is

+ a)sin(/>/4-/3),

= sin(w.r

e'^'^

we

= -*' sin

k^)^

(a^ n^

hence

{mx + a) sin ({a^ m^ - k^)^ / + /3)

a solution.

The ends
values of

It is easily

mi =

t'lr,

or

= o when

= o, and

sin

a=

o,

seen that

we

lose

m=

sin (mi-\- a)

no

"2,.=i

From

initial

problem

most general

so-

is

k') /

+ ftj;

(5)

arbitrary constants, to be determined as

circumstances.

the above expression

we

see that the amplitude of the

and ultimately become

through the diminution of the factor e~^K

Also that the period of vibration of the

by

by taking a = o; then

^fSin-^sm(^(^^

vibrations will progressively diminish,


insensible,

o.

Finally, therefore, the

which A^, ^. are

in

usual by

generality

ITT

lution of (2'^ appropriate to the

y=^

we must have (for all


when x = /; and therefore

of the string being fixed,

/) _y

the resistance in the ratio of

to

tone

i^^

is

increased

If the value of k were so great that, for any values of

>

-y-

But we

the

of

value

i\

would contain non-periodic terms.

shall not discuss this case, as

it

does not concern us

practically.

126.
,((*^-

We

kind, but of

proceed

more or

now

to

some problems of a

less practical interest.

less simple

For^f
Problem
of it

We

To find the motion of the

i.

string

a given obligatory transverse

subject to

is

Vibrations of String,

suppose, in the

first

when a given point

vibration.

instance, that there

is

no

resistance.

Let b be the distance of the given point from the end A of


the string and suppose that at this point the value of j/ is to be
(We have no occasion to consider the external forces
k^vant.
necessary to maintain this obligatory motion ; we suppose them
to be applied, whatever they may be.)
It is evident that the portions of string on the two sides of
the given point may move independently of one another, except
that the value oiy must be the same for both when x = b.
Let us assume then that from x =
io x ^b,
;

j/

mat + B sin ma t).

= ^\Timx[A cos

This satisfies the differential equation, and also the condition


that y = o when x = o.
We have next to satisfy the condition that when x = b,
y = ksmnt. This gives

svi\mb{A cos

mat -^-Bsmmat) = ksmnt,

which can only be true for


that A =0, ma = n
hence

values of /

all

on

the supposition

sm
and the value oiy becomes
k

v=
.

sm
This however

no

(for this part of the string)


.

^'Sm

nb

nx

.sm/.
a
.

only a particular solution, since

is

/^v
(6)
^

'

it

contains no

evident that we may still satisfy


the differential equation, without violating the prescribed condition, if we add the terms which would give the natural vibration
arbitrary constant.

of

we

But

of the string,

this part

it

is

if

the given point were fixed.

Thus

get

y=
.

sm

sm

nb

a sm ni

nx

+ 2,-^i sm-^(^.cos
and the

^ + B.sm-j-y

(6)

series of arbitrary constants A^, B^, will enable us to

satisfy the initial

conditions relative to this part of the string,

Forced Vibrations of String.

ii8

so that the above equation gives the general solution of the


problem.
The motion of the other part may be found exactly in the
same way, and will be given merely by writing lx and lb

instead of

and ^

in (6').

127. Attending for the present only to the first portion of


the string, we see that the value of j/ in (6') consists of two
parts, the first of which depends only on the imposed obligatory
motion, and determines the forced vibration of that portion.
The other part is independent of the obligatory motion, and
represents the natural vibration.
In any actual case the natural vibration is soon extinguished,
because the string is constantly giving up some of its momentum to the air and to the bodies which support the tension
of its ends.
But the forced vibration will continue as long as
the obligatory motion is sustained.
If we call r the period of this forced vibration, so that
r =

TT

and neglect the natural

be written

y=

vibration, the equation (6)


27r.r

r'Sm

ar

277^

sm

may

277/
5

(7)
'
^

sin

in

which

vibration

ar
remembered that k is the amplitude of the
imposed upon a point at the distance b from one end,

it is

to be

the length of the portion of string now considered.


at a distance x from the fixed end the
amplitude of the forced vibration is therefore
so that b

is

For any given point

2'nx

sm

7,

ax

which expression becomes

277^

sm

00

ar

(except for

x = 6)

This cannot of course actually happen; in


the preceding reasoning
the string
is

that

become

when

sin

o, or

forced vibrations will be

JV
ditions.

XT

Now sm

2 71^

ar

if

sin

o.

the whole of

the excursions of any part of


we can really infer therefore

All that

large.
is

fails

fact,

if

very small, the amplitude of the

much
.

= o gives

greater than under other con2

77*^

ar

Z77,

or 20 = iaT.

Suppose A the length of a portion of the

string

which would

X
Forced Vibrations of String.
have T

period of

for the

(Art. 94),

natural vibration;

its

and therefore the above condition


<5

= A;

that

is

119
then 2A. = ^t

equivalent to

is,

the amplitude of the forced vibrations in this portion of the


string becomes large when its length is any multiple of that
"which would vibrate naturally in the same period ; or, which is
the same thing, when the tone corresponding to the period of
the forced vibration belongs to the harmonic scale of tones
which would be given by the natural vibrations of this portion
if

both ends were


128.

which

The

fixed.

points of

minimum

disturbance will be those at

2 11

IT JC

vanishes

sin

the supposition

that

now made,

sin

at

is,

which

7- = o

sin

that

is,

= o

or,

at points

on

which

divide the length d into / equal parts, so that there will be guast
nodes at these points.
Similar conclusions may be deduced for

the other portion of the string ; and it is easily seen that if the
obligatory vibration be imposed at any one of the points of
division of the

whole string into

equal parts, and

if its

period

be ~th of the period of the natural vibrations of the whole


string, the forced vibrations will

be large, and the tone

will

be

of the harmonic scale of the string.


Thus we learn that in order to produce strong forced vibrations in a string, the obligatory vibration must be imposed at
what would be a node in the case of natural vibrations of the
the

zth

It
same period
a conclusion which may appear strange.
might have been conjectured that a point of greatest motion
ought to have been chosen. The explanation is simple, and
may be left to the reader.
;

We

have so far supposed, for simplicity, that the


129.
But if it
obligatory motion was a simple harmonic vibration.
were a compound vibration consisting of the superposition of
any number of harmonic vibrations of different periods, phases,

and amplitudes, it would be easily shewn that every one of these


components would produce a corresponding term (analogous to
(7)) in the expression for the forced vibrations of the string.
= b^
Thus, if the imposed vibration required that, when

J/

=2

cos

B. sm

the forced vibration of the string, from

expressed by the equation

)>

= o to

j;

^,

would be

Experimental Illustrations,

130

Q.'RX
sin

ar,

^=2

277/

Tl^iCos

2'nb

+ B.sm

2'nt>
)

sin

ar.

In this case,

if

t^-

2/
-;-

that

is,

if

the period of every

com-

ponent of the imposed vibration is some aliquot part of the


natural period of the whole string, then the above expression is
not altered by changing x and b into lx and lb\ and
therefore it holds good for the whole string.
130. These results may be approximately verified by experiment as follows
If a tuning-fork be struck, and the end of
its stalk be then placed on the string of a pianoforte, violin, or
violoncello, at any point, it may be considered approximately
as imposing an obligatory vibration on that point.
And it will
be found that in general the only sound heard is the note of the
tuning-fork, very weak.
If, however, the point of application
be such that the portion of string intercepted between it and
either end could vibrate naturally so as to give, either as a
fundamental tone or as a harmonic, one of the component
tones of the tuning-fork, then that portion of the string is
thrown into strong vibration, so as to give the corresponding
:

tone very distinctly.

The fundamental tone of a tuning-fork is by far the strongest


of its component tones. The higher components proper, are
very high tones with incommensurable periods, which are hardly
heard after a few seconds. But there is also a harmonic tone,
an octave above the fundamental tone, which is weak, but persistent, and this, as well as the fundamental tone, may be produced from a string in the manner just described^.
For instance, if a /' tuning-fork be placed on the second
string of a violin at the point where the finger would be placed
in playing /', that tone will be heard, and /'' may, by attention,
be distinguished as sounding with it. But if the fork be placed
on the first string at the proper point for the finger in playing
c'\ that tone will be distinctly heard, while /' will be weak^.
^ This harmonic octave in the sound of the tuning-fork is a phsenomenon
of the second order, of the kind mentioned in Art. 112,
^ The sound actually heard is caused by waves in the air originating not
directly from the vibrations of the string, but indirectly from those communicated from the string, through the bridge, to the sound-board. An
investigation of the effect of placing a tuning-fork on the string, in v^^hich
this circumstance is taken into account, is given by Helmholz {Beilage III).
The practical results agree with those of the simpler process in the text.

Forced Vibrations modified by Resistance.


These are
resonance, of

The

131.

applicable,

particular cases of the general

which we

shall

\%i

phaenomenon of

have to speak hereafter.

(6), or its equivalent (7), becomes inwas shewn in Art. 127, when the obligatory
imposed at such a point that its period is any aliquot

expression

as

vibration is
part of the natural period of vibration of the portion of string
considered.

may be

avoided by introducing the hyunder the form already employed in


as the result will be useful in a subsequent

This inconvenience
pothesis

of

resistance,

Art. 125.
And
We
problem, we shall give the process as briefly as possible.
shall neglect altogether the natural vibrations, which are soon
extinguished, and with which we shall have no concern in the
application to be made hereafter.
Let / be the length of the whole string. Then, putting c
instead of 2 /^ in the differential equation (2') of Art. 125, we
have
dy
d'^y

and we are

to obtain a solution of this equation satisfying the

conditions

when x =
may assume

y =p sin nl-\-q CO?, nt


For

this

purpose we

b^

and

y=

y = u^\nnt-\-v cos nt^


x to be determined.
value oi y in the differential

when

0.

u and V being functions oi


Substituting this

equation,

and

equating to o the coefficients of sin/ and cosw/, we find the


two conditions
{c^IJ^ 'Yf^)u-\-cnv

oA

{a^D'->tn'^)v-cnu^o,]
in

which

stands for

Eliminating v

-
dx

we obtain
{{a'^D'--^n')''^c'n^\u-o',

and therefore
where

a^, a^, 03, a^

are the four roots of the equation

{a^o?^n'f^c''n^
that

is,

= o)

the four values of the expression

/-rx

^'

Forced Vibrations 7nodiJied by Kesistance.

12^

To

put

convenient form, assume

this result in a

= tan

tan

\//-,

n
I

+
~

- \/

cos

whence, emplo}dng

De

(cos

a/^

\/a ^

/3,

then

~ a/ I sin\/r)
^
H-

'^

Moivre's theorem, and observing that

cosJ\/a

Vi(3^^

\/cos\/r

we

find for the values of the expression (a) those of

and the above value of u becomes

{A-B)^/^^, {C-D)V~^i,

(after putting

and

C,

B instead of

instead of

^+^,

u - sin0(^^^ + ^-^^) + cos(9(Ce^Vi^-^'),


in

6 =

which

1-13^
a
equation for v is of the same form as that
for u.
Hence the value of v will only differ from that of u in
having different constants A\ B, C, D' instead o^ A, B, C, D.
But these eight constants cannot be all independent of one
another, since the solution of the simultaneous equations (I)
cannot contain more than four arbitrary constants.
In fact, on
substituting the values of u and v in those equations, we obtain
= -A, IT = B.
the relations
A' = C, B' = -D,

The

differential

Moreover, since ^ = o when x = o, for all values of/, we must


have u = o and v = o when 6 = o; hence

C+D
from which

and

and C' + T?' =


= B.

cr

Finally, therefore,

+ (Co-sin^ ^
=

'

^'

6cos^)cos/;
b

It

remains to determine

and

so that the above expression

identical with

/sin/+^cos/

when X =

d,

that

is,

where

=-

may become

o,

changing
and J C, we may write the values of u and v
= (^ o-sin^+C6cos^)sin/

into J

thus:

o,

follows that

it

when

6 =

Exact and Approximate


Putting therefore
for the

(\>

Results.

123

for this particular value of ^,

corresponding values of

o-,

6,

we have

o-Q sin(^ -I- C 80 cos</) =


CcroSin<^ y4 8()Cos^ =

-4

and

o-^,,

h^^

the two equations

/),

^,

whence

^ (o-/sin^(^ + 8/cos'^(/))

= /or^sint^

^6(,cos<^,

+ Vcos^0) = ^o-oSin(^+/6oCOS(|);
of A and C thus determined are to be introduced

C(o-o^sin^(/)

and the values

in the above expression for j/.

The

result

may be

conveniently expressed thus

II

^(ToSin</)+/6oCOS0

put

then

T = tan*;

/ o-Q sm 9 ^ Oo cos 9
\r -^1

(o-o^sin^^

5,

sin int

{ o- sin

+ <^)

+ Vcos^*^)*
+ 8 cos ^ cos (/+*)}.

(II)

This gives the exact solution of the problem; that is, it deThe
termines the motion of the string from x = o to x = b.
motion of the remaining part of the string will be given by
putting lx for x, and lb for b, in (II).
The radical in the
denominator must evidently be understood to have the same
sign as sin (^, in order that this value of ^ may agree with that
found, as in Art. 126, when resistance is neglected, or ^ = o.

The

period of the obligatory vibration

is

natural vibration of the part of the string from

>

and that of the

= o io

= b

\'5

2b

or

hence,

an
- =

if

the former period be any aliquot part of the latter,

the value of

ob

^V

becomes

>

so

^/I-^2

^yi_^2>'

that, /3 being supposed very small, and h^ being of the same


order as /3, the denominator in the expression (II) becomes
very small ; but it cannot vanish for any value of qf), and therefore this expression always gives a finite value for j/.
The expression (II) is however too complicated for use in
the problem for the sake of which we have obtained it.
(See
Art. 138.)
We shall therefore neglect j8 in every part of that
expression except where it is essential to retain it.
Now ^3 =

gives

o-

1,

(T^=

I,

8 = o, 0 = o tan* =

-.

But we must retain

Case of Periodic Pressure.

i:z4

the term h^Q.o^<\i in the denominator, in order that j/


thus obtain
become infinite when sin ^ = o.

may

not

We

y=

sm ^ -^

(III)

(sin^(/)

+ ao'cos2(#))*

as an approximate expression, which sensibly coincides with


that obtained on the supposition of no resistance, for all but very
small values of <^, but agrees with experiment in giving a large

but not infinite value for_y

be remembered

when

that, in (III),

sin

</)

o,

and

or ^ =

fix

(^

(It

must

fib \

J.

imposed at the point where x = b were not of


harmonic kind, then instead of the right-hand member of (III) we should have a series of analogous terms, as in
If the vibration

the simple

Art. 129.

132. Problem

To find

2.

the motion

0/ the string when a given

point of it is subject to a given finite periodic pressure, in a direction


B, resistance being neglected.
at right angles to

Suppose that the pressure is applied at a distance b from the


end A, and that at the time / it is/>sin/, p being a given finite
constant force.

To

solve this

equation (see

problem we must recur

(i), Art.

to

the fundamental

121)

of which the meaning is that the force on any element dm is


the difference of the tranverse components of the tension at
its two ends.

Now

in general the

change of direction of the string

tinuous, so that d(-j-\\'s> infinitesimal.

But

if

is

con-

the element

dm

contain the point at which the finite pressure is applied, there


will, or at any rate may, be a sudden change of direction at that
point, so that the values of -r^ at

of

it,

however near,

may

differ

two points on
by a

finite

for that particular element we must write


dy

</(); and

since

it

is

different sides

quantity.

a(-)

Hence,

instead of

\dx'l

acted on by the given pressure in ad-

Case of Periodic Pressure.

component

we must

dition to the difference of

for

tensions,

25

have,

that elementJ

and

dm;

equation must subsist, however small we take

this

hence in the

limit

becomes

it

r.A(^)+/sin/ = o,

(8)

is

a condition that must be satisfied for the point at which

all

other points the usual differential equation (3) must be

which

At

satisfied.

Now we may satisfy (3) with the


X -^o and x = and at the same time
1,

dy

change in the value of


value h, by assuming

when

-j-

finite

=
conditions that
for
allow the possibility of a

passes through the

x^o\.q x =

y = ^vcimx{^AQ,o?>mat-\-B^v[vmai) from
y = sinw {Jx) (A' cos mat-\-B' sin mat^
The

condition that these values oS-y must

g^^^s

b,

x = hXo x =
coincide when x = b,
from

1.

^ sin rnh = A' sin m (/- h\


B sin mb = B^ sin m (I b).

Moreover

it is

without taking

evident that

ma

will

it

be impossible to

satisfy (8)

n.

Hence we may put


n(lb)

y = sm
.

sm

.^

nx

,
n sm /),
a
nt+lJ

(c7 cos

X=o

from
nb

sm
y = sm
a
.

nilx),^

and

if

and

7^

X ^bXo X = 1;

D are constants to be determined by the condition

(8)-

Now

X ^ b,

V
A
sm nt)
(C cos nt-\-JD

^^

from

where

to

we put X = bvcv

dy
the values of-r- derived from the two

dx

expressions above given, and then subtract the


the second, we obtain

first result

/dy\
nl ^
n
^
A^^
= - -sm
(C;cos/+Z/sm/);
.

-J

from


Pianoforte String.

'

12,6

so that, in order to satisfy (8),

we must have

and

o,

whence

r;

y
-^

nx
^sm

n(ld)

sm-^

a p
= --=
n

^
;

sm
.

sinm

/
(::

nl

= o *to

:<;

z\

o),
'

a
.

sm

sm
nb

^^

= -.

nT

-^

=
{x
^

sm/

sm

K9)

nilx)

nl

o\.ox^

I).
^

These expressions determine ih.Q forced vibration of the string


and it is evident that we may add the terms representing the
;

natural vibration,

viz.

sm-^ j^.cos- + ^iSm-y-|.

2.^1

(9

(The above expressions for the forced vibration lead to a


which at first sight appears paradoxical. Suppose, namely,

result

that sin

0,

which

will

happen

if

the period of the forced

vibration coincide with that of the natural vibration of the

first

portion of the string, considered as fixed at both ends.


Then
in the other portion will be always o, or that
the value oi
portion will remain at rest, if the constants A^^ B^ be all o.
The explanation is merely that in this case the periodic
pressure is equal to that which the string would exert on a fixed
point at the same place, if the portion on one side of it were
vibrating naturally, and the other portion at rest.)
have introduced this problem for the sake of the
133.
use which may be made of it in finding approximately the
character of the vibrations excited in a pianoforte string by
the blow of the hammer.
For this purpose we shall adopt
the hypothesis proposed by Helmholz, (the reason for which
is explained below, Art. 134,) namely, that the pressure of the
hammer on the string during contact may be represented by an
expression of the form p sin nt, but that it lasts only during

We

"77

half a period, viz. from

hammer

Now

is
if,

= o to

= -.
n

The

breadth of the

neglected.
in the solution

of the above problem,

we suppose


Pianoforte String.

127

the constants A^, B^ to be so determined that at some one


instant when the pressure vanishes, say when / = o, the values

dv

oi y and of

-^ shall

subsequent motion

begun

we

to exist,

vanish at

be the same as

will

and

points of the string, then the

all

the pressure

if

had only

to disturb the string, at that instant.

If then

dy

find the values of_y

of pressure, that

when

is,

-^ at

and

end of the

the

= -, these

first

half-period

will give the initial

data

which would follow if the


pressure then ceased to exist, as we suppose it to do in the case
of the pianoforte.
Now referring to the general expression (9) + (9') obtained
for j^, we see that the condition j' = o when / = o gives A- =^ o
for calculating the natural vibrations

dy

and the condition

for all values of i\

i-nx

n(lb)

.sm

ap

^sm
-jj

^^

= o gives

- ^-

nx

^oiox^b)

{X

sin

a
.

ap

sm

nilx)

a sm^ a
nb

= ^to.^ =

(-^

-I

/);

sin

whence, multiplying each side by ?,\n-dx, and integrating

from

= o io

i-nT

sm

2/>

I,

^& have

B.
nl

-.

= sm

aji

nx

sm -~-dx
.

sm

n{lx)

i-nx

member

and therefore

sm

tirb
r-

(10)
^

'

of this equation

nl

sm

found to be

naP

zttx

s>mr-dx.

sm-^^^

value of the right-hand

C^

'-

nb r^

+ sm
The

n(ld)

>

will

be

Pianoforte String.

128

Now
^^ =

o,

if,

we

in the general expression (9)

when

find, for the instant

nt

i-nx
ZTi^a
_
V = 2 ^. sin J- sm

dy

where the value

air

of^

tTiX

+ (9')

for

y, we put

tt,

zir'^a

is

7iilb)
7i{lb)

nx

sinI -^

ap

sin

from

from

nl

o io

b.

= b to

l\

^-

sin

a
nb

sin

ap

^
T

and

nil-x)
sin

a
:

nl
sin

a
dy

and these are the

initial

values of

with
y and -jdl

which we are

to calculate the subsequent natural vibrations.


If then

we begin

to

reckon

afresh from this instant,

and

assume
j/

^+

2sin-y-(^Qcos

and compare the above


this expression,

we

initial

Z)^sin

y-j,

(12)

values with those derived from

find

^-^^^'""-nT'
an

.^

i-nx

and multiplying the


from

we

X=o

obtain

to

X=

I,

last

air

._

ZTT^a

equation by sin

i'ttx

dx, and integrating

(observing that (10) gives

'

Law
and

therefore the value (12) oi

duction,

22-

Hammer,

of Pressure of

becomes,

129

after a

sin-smr-(/+

^^cos-

slight re-

);

(13)

which equation determines the motion of the string

after the

J/

pressure has ceased to act.

The
t^^

amplitude

harmonic tone

replaced by

its

of the component vibration which gives the


is

2^. cos

therefore

-:

actual value (11), the amplitude

naP

4/>

i'n^a

ii:b

or,

B- being

is
,

(This expression will be seen to agree with the result obtained


a different manner by Helmholz, {Beilage IV. equation
(12^),) if it be observed that p, T, i, n in (14) correspond to
Helmholz's A^ S^n,m\ and that Helmholz's ^ is the amplitude only of the negative wave, and is therefore half the
amplitude of the complete vibration.)
134. In order to understand the results deducible from the
expression (14) we must recur to the hypothesis made above
concerning the law of pressure during the contact of the
hammer with the string. That hypothesis is founded on the
assumption that the impact may be assimilated to that of an
elastic body upon a hard fixed obstacle.
On this supposition
let A be the length of the hammer, \l its mass, [kk'^ its moment
of inertia about the axis on which it turns, Q the angle through
which it has turned from rest at the time /, Q^ and Q\ the values
in

of Q and

at the instant

when

contact begins, and at which

we will suppose /-o; then the pressure will be ^^(06^)


during contact, g being a constant depending on the elasticity
* The meaning of 'amplitude' has been before defined (Art. 48) with
reference to the harmonic vibration of a point. In the case of the harmonic
vibration of a string, expressed by the equation
.

jj/

or

= Z sm

* (i-aat

T sm

ittx

jt

by the equivalent form

ittx ( ^
iitat
itrat\
^
y = sm ^C cos + D sm 7
.

the amplitude may be defined as the maximum displacement from the


position of equilibrium. This maximum displacement is evidently equal to

Z, or to (C^ +

Z>"^)3,

and occurs

at points

which

bisect the nodal intervals.

Law

130

of Pressure of Hammer,

of the material of which the head of the


shall have, during contact,

hammer

made

is

and

we

~
dt''

and

if this

be integrated

way, and the constants

in the usual

determined by the conditions 6 =


result is

'

iiie^

(9/

6^,

= 6\ when

o,

the

where

and the pressure during contact

and the duration of contact

is

-7

v-

therefore

is

- -ir-V-'
K
n
q
Hence

of/ in (14) is Q\k^\x.q, which depends on


the hammer at the beginning of impact, as well

the value

the velocity of

on its weight, material and form. But the value of n, which


determines the duration of contact, depends only on the latter
circumstances, and not on the velocity.

as

135. Referring
vanishes

if sin

now

r- = o

to the expression (14)


that

is, if

ib

= ml,

we

see that

it

being any integer.

This shews that if the blow of the hammer be applied at any


one of the points which divide the string into i equal parts, all
the harmonic component tones which would have nodes at
those points are extinguished.
(We found a similar result on
the supposition that the sound was excited by plucking the
See Art. 119.)
In general the quality of the note produced, which is determined by the comparative strength of its different component
tones, is independent of the momentum of the blow, (which
only affects the value of the coefficient />,) but depends upon
string at a given point.

the two ratios -

and --

nl

blow

is

struck,

that

and upon the

is,

the place
upon
r
r

ratio of the duration

at

which the

of contact to

the period of the fundamental tone of the string (viz.

-A.

If

Intensity of Tone,
expression (14)

latter ratio, the

put V for this

Ave

131

may be

written

form

in the

8/>/

liY^rv^)

ii:h

'

The

value of v depends, caeteris paribus, on the coefficient of


elasticity q, and becomes very small if q be very great, that is, if
the

hammer

pv

is

of a hard unyielding material.


But the product
to the values of p and v, to be independent of q, so that the above expression for the amplitude
seen,

is

on reference

becomes

{^i

^-^7 sinr-

-,

cos(z*7rz;);

A depends upon the weight, form, and velocity of the


hammer, but not upon its elasticity. If we suppose the hammer

where

absolutely hard, or

2;

then the expression becomes

o,

- sin

r-

on different suppositions as to
and the value of v may be seen in Helm-

table of results calculated

the place of the blow


holz, p. 135,

appears that in general the effect of diminishing v is to


increase the strength of some of the higher harmonics as compared with that of the fundamental tone.
In numerical applications it must be remembered that the
intensity of the tone is supposed to be proportional (for each
harmonic component) to the square of the amplitude multiplied
by 2*2. See Problem 3.
It

Problem

136.

3.

To find

the energy

of a string vibrating

naturally.
First, suppose the vibrations are in one plane, and such that
the note produced is simply the z'*^ harmonic component. Then

the form of the string at any time

equation
^

j/

The

/^^

may be

(r^at

^sm-y-sm(^-y-

represented by the
n

-h

ay

{15)

energy at any time consists, as we know from general


two parts, kinetic and potential, of which the sum
constant.
The kinetic energy is that due to the motion of
total

principles, of
is

is measured by half the vis-viva.


The potential
due to the deviation of the string from the form
of equilibrium, and is entirely converted into kinetic energy
whenever the string is- passing through the position of equilibrium, that is, whenever

the string,

energy

is

and

that

/iitat
/mai
sm ( -,

\
I

o.

Energy of Vibrating String,

132

the total energy at any time is equal to the kinetic


energy at any one of those particular instants.

Hence

Now

when

(15) gives,

dy
SO that,

if

sin (

.'na

f-

a) =

o,

ziix

p be the mass of a unit of length, the kinetic energy

at that instant is

We
is the required value of the total energy at any time.
be the mass of
transform this expression as follows let
Then
the whole string, and t. the period of the vibration.

which

may

pi =
'^

2/

:i^
J
M.
and

t = -^
.

or

ia

T^

- =

hence the above expression becomes

^w4-;

{16)

from which we learn that in this case the energy is proportional


to the product of the mass of the whole strings the square of the
amplitude^ and the square of the number of vibrations in a unit of
time.

Next, suppose the vibrations

most general kind


j/

then, at

still

in

one plane, but of the

any time,

2sm-^(^^iCosy + B.^myy
.

iiix /

iirat

i'nat\

In this case the string, in general, never passes through the


form of equilibrium, and the potential energy is therefore never
entirely converted into kinetic.

Let us consider the string


instant

at the instant
.

>/

and
and the

total

where
(18), and
by (17).

is

= 2^.sm-y-,

~ = --j2tB^smj-',

energy

is

when

at that

/^^

(1.7)

(18)

K+ P

the kinetic energy due to the motion expressed by


is the potential energy due to the form expressed

Energy of Vibrating String,


The

and

if

value of

is

133

easily found, for

the square of the series within brackets to be

we suppose
we see

at once that all the terms will be destroyed


by the integration except those comprised in the series

developed,

and these

give,

on

integration,

\l2i^Bl.

Hence we have

K^yi(^-^^^i'B,K

(19)

To

find the value of P, we may proceed as follows


Suppose the string to be put in the form (17), and then left to
After the lapse of any time /,
itself without any initial velocity.
its total energy will still be equal to P, but will have been partly

converted into kinetic, so that

where K^

is

the kinetic energy at the instant in question, and


energy due to the form at the same instant.

/*j is the potential

Suppose then the

string to be

again- left to itself for a time

.P,

and so on

successively

t'

brought to rest in that form, and


we should have in like manner
;

= K, + P

thus

P ^K^ + K^-^-K^^- ...adtnfin.,


where K^, K^, ... are the kinetic energies which the string
would have after successive intervals of time equal to /, if,
beginning with the form (17), it were left to itself for a time /,
then brought to rest in its actual form, and left to itself again,
and so on successively.
Now the string, left to itself at a given instant in the form
(17), will vibrate (see Art. 98) so that at any time (reckoned
from that instant)
.

j/

and

at the

iTTX

2^^smy-cos

end of any time

/', if

..

iiiat

we put
.

- =

inx

^ = 2^^.cos?y.smT-;

0,

we

shall

have
,

(20)

'

Energy of Vibrating String,

134

-^ =
and K^

is

^22^^. sinz^.sin^;

the kinetic energy obtained from (21) in the

K was from (18);

way

as

To

find

(21)

K^ we have

to

same

hence

proceed in the same way, merely assuminitial form; thus

ing (20) instead of (17) as the


'

^2 = \pi Cf) ^'^^'

^""^^ '^^' ^"''^ '^^'

and so on successively, the value of Kn^i being always deduced


from that of K^ by changing A^ into A^ cos lO. Therefore

= ip/(y) ^i^A?i,smi6f{i-\-{co^ifff + {co^ieY...adm/)


and, the series within brackets being equivalent to

we have

i-{cosi6f

{sin id f

finally**

.Tra^^

thus found to that of ^(19), we obtain


the required expression for the total energy (I^ of the string,

Adding the value of

The

representation of
by an infinite series corresponds to the physical
it would require an infinite number of operations of the kind
described in the text to bring the string into the condition of equilibrium.
It may be observed that, if the arbitrary $ be taken incommensurable with
v, the series within brackets cannot become divergent, though for infinitely
large values of i it may approach infinitely near to divergence ; but this will
be compensated by the factor (sin 1 6)'^ becoming infinitely small. If we
took t' equal to half a period (or 6 v), it is evident that the operations
described would never bring the string to rest.
In this case the factor
But we
(sin t9)^ would vanish, and the series within brackets become 00.
arrive at a true result by interpreting the product as representing i for this
as for all other values of 6.
''

fact that

Energy of Vibrating String,

135

is the mass of the string, and r^. the period


where, as before,
of the i^ harmonic component vibration.
Now, observing that A^-^-B^ is the square of the amplitude
of the component vibration, and comparing this result with
(16), we see that the total energy ^is the sum of the energies

harmonic components.
take the most general case, in which the
The displacement of any point
vibration is not in one plane.
in the string at a distance x from one end is then compounded
of two displacements y and z in planes at right angles to one
another, and the whole vibration is compounded of two represented by equations
due

to the several

Lastly,

>/

we

will

2sm-^(^^.cos-^ +^.sm-y.

3 =

iTix /

.,

2sm-^(^^,.cos

j,

inatx
+^_, .sm-
j;

ill at

the square of the velocity at any point of which the abscissa


X, is now, when / = o,

is

(y){(2^^<sin-p) +(2,^..sm-^)};
and the process is the same as before, with obvious modifications which may be left to the reader.

The

result is

sum of the energies due


harmonic component vibrations in both planes.
It will be observed that the numerator in the above expression
is for each harmonic vibration the sum of the squares of the
amplitudes of its components in the two planes and this sum
may, by an extension of meaning, be called the square of the
and, as before, the total energy

is

the

to the several

amplitude of the actual vibration, which, for a given point,


general

137.

is

in

elliptic.

The

valent of the

value of

found

in the last article

work which would have

is

the equi-

be done, if the string


were at rest, in order to put it into its actual form and state of
motion. And it appears natural to take this as the measure of
the strength or intensity of the note produced.
But the propriety of this definition cannot be absolutely demonstrated by
experiment, because, although the ear can judge with great
accuracy which of two notes is the louder, when both have the
to


Vibrations of Violin String,

136
same
ment

and the same

cannot form a precise judgthe other hand, when two


notes have the same quality but differ moderately in pitch, the
ear can still decide with some certainty whether they are or are
not of equal intensity, and if not, which is the louder; and it
might perhaps be possible to arrange an experiment in which
a series of notes should have the same quality and equal intensities according to the theoretical measure, and the ear would
judge whether equality of loudness subsisted at the same time.
(The definition of quality will be discussed in another chapter.)
quality

pitch,

as to the ratio of intensity.

it

On

138. Problem 4. To examine the motion of a violin string


under the action of the bow.

This problem is much more difficult than that of the pianobecause the force exercised by the bow upon the
string is determined by circumstances which seem to defy
calculation, and we can hardly make any plausible hypothesis
a priori. We are obliged therefore to have recourse to observation, and endeavour to determine experimentally some
characteristics of the motion from which the analytical representation of it may be deduced.
In the first place then it may be easily verified by any one
with a practised ear, that when the bow is drawn across the
string at any point of aliquot division, no component tone
which would (if existing alone) have a node at that point is
heard in the note produced. (In order however to extinguish
these tones, it is necessary that the coincidence of the point of
application of the bow with the node should be exact.
A very
small deviation reproduces the missing tones with considerable
strength.)
The other facts to which we shall have to refer are
ascertained not by the ear but by the eye.
The character of
the vibration of any point of the string may be observed by
means of the vibration-microscope,' the principle of which
was explained in Art. 64, and in this way Helmholz has
arrived at results of which the following are the most imforte string,

'

portant

When

the bow is applied at a point of which the distance


from the bridge is an aliquot part of the string, and the point
observed is one of the other nodes of the same division, the
curve obtained by the imaginary unrolling of the cylinder
(Art. 65) reduces itself to a zigzag line, so that a complete
(a.)

vibration

is

represented thus

Vibrations of Violin String.

Fig.

AB

I.

represents the period (t) of the vibration, and the ordinate


in the line Z^.fi'i^ represents the displace-

PM of any point P

ment of the observed point at the time /{ = AAf) reckoned


from the instant of greatest negative displacement. It appears
to be implied that AD=CE, or that the excursions on opposite sides of the position of equilibrium are equal.
It follows evidently that the velocity of the observed point is
constant throughout each of the two parts (the ' swing and the
swang ') of the vibration, but is not in general the same in
each.
When, however, the observed point is at the middle of
= CB, and the velocities are
the string, it is found that
'

'

AC

therefore equal.

(b) If at any point

we

call

the

'swing' that part of the

which is performed while the point is moving in


accordance with the bow, then the velocity of the swing is less
than that of the swang, if the observed point is in the same half
of the string as the point of application of the bow, and greater
in the contrary case.
would represent the
Thus, in Fig. i,
swing and
the swang at a node in the contrary half to that
in which the bow is applied.
It appears probable that at the
point of application the string is dragged by the bow with its
vibration

EF

own

velocity during the swing.

{c)

When

vibration
Fig.

DE

I.

the observed point is not one of the nodes, the


represented approximately but not exactly by
In this case the lines DE, EF, instead of being peris

still

of a series of ripples or wavelets, though


maintaining their average directions.
When the bow is applied at a point which is not a node, the
character of the vibrations has not been satisfactorily made out.
(Helmholz, p. 139, &c.) (The reader will observe that we are
here using the word node to signify not an actual node, but a
point which would be a node if the corresponding component
fectly straight, consist

vibration existed alone.)

Vibrations of Violin String.

138

These results have been confirmed by Professor Clifton, who


observed the vibration- curves of points on the string by means
of revolving mirrors.
(On the principle of this method of observation, see Note at the end of this chapter).
139. Assuming the facts above stated,
the length of the string

is

/,

and

let

that the

us suppose that
is applied at a

bow

we will call Q, at a distance b from the bridge.


Now, whatever be the character of the actual vibration of Q,
we know that it can be expressed by means of Fourier's theorem
point which

in the

form

^iV/

^ sm
^ D^
+

where r

is

2t'nt.

^\Ci cos

the period of the vibration, which

the natural vibration of the string, since

fundamental note

is

produced

hence r =

(22)

must be

we assume

that of

that

the

Moreover it is evident that if the actual vibration of Q were


known, we might suppose it to become obligatory, and the
motion of the rest of the string would remain unaltered.
We shall therefore in the first place assume that the series of
coefficients Q, D^ are known, and that (22) is the obligatory
Value oiy at Q.
Then (see equation (III), Art. 131, and the remark at the
end of that article) the vibration at any point of the string from
.r - o to X = b will be approximately represented by the
equation

y-%

sin Q,

=^

(sin2(|>,

+ 6/ cos2

(/>.)*

f C,- cos 2

z'tt

Z>,sin 2 zV

-)

(23)

where, in the present case,


217:

^'

a =

iTix

iitb

*' = -7-'
'

And
a small quantity depending on the resistance.
is not altered by changing x into lx and
b into / 3, it will hold good for the whole length of the string.

and e/

is

since this formula

140. The facts above stated ((^) {b) {c)) have been ascertained only in the case in which the point Q, at which the bow
is applied, is a node.
must therefore assume this; and in order to determine
Q, Z>^, we shall further assume that the vibration of Q, represented by (22), is of the same kind as that observed at other

We

Vibrations of Violin String.

139

nodes; so that (22) must give the value of the ordinate at any
(Fig. i), if the abscissa
point /* in a line such as
be taken proportional to /.
= t\ let
= r^, and
= ^, so
We shall have then
that /3 is the amplitude of the vibration at Q, t^ is the duration
of the swing,' and r - r^ of the swang,' at the same point.
Now the problem of representing a locus such as
by
means of a periodic series with period r, has been already
solved in Art. 76.
In order to make use of equation (3) of
that Article, it is evidently only necessary to omit the .constant

AM

DEF

AC

AB

CE

'

'

DEF

term, and change


into

We

3,

a,

a,

2/3,

r,

t^,

/.

thus obtain for the ordinate the value

and the values of Q, D^ are

to be so taken that the expression

(22) shall be identical with

down

these values, as

troduced in (23) that equation

2^r

It

will

141. In this equation

is

it

j-

is

unnecessary to write
when they are in-

become

*?sin(9.

^2 = 00

abbreviations for

this.

easily seen that

is

it

to be

.2 277,

remembered

that 6i,

In order however that

(fy^

it

are

may

determine completely the value ofy at every point of the string,


T
it is necessary that the value of the ratio -^ should be known.
T
Now it has been already stated as a fact of experiment (Art.
138) that every component tone is extinguished which would
have a node at the point of application of the bow; that is,
every component of which the period is an aliquot part of
the period of vibration of a string of length d.
Hence the value
of J' (25) ought to vanish
d =

-r-^,

and t =

multiple of ^-,

sinzV-^ ought
hypothesis

or

when

2 3
is

a multiple of

so that y ought to vanish

when

to vanish

we can make

<^^

is

when
is

that

when -7-^

a multiple of

sin<^^ vanishes,

it.

now
is

Therefore

and the simplest


Vibrations of Violin String.

140

= sin

sin

This may be

= sin -^-

by

satisfied either

II.*

</)^

'^J-^;

or

but if / (in Fig. i) is reckoned from an instant at which Q


begins to follow the bow, so that the positive direction of y
is that of the motion of the bow, the latter supposition must be
adopted, because t^ ought to be greater than rr^. Then we
shall

have

tTtTc,

sin

COSZTT,

=
I

Tib

sinT
,

inx

cosztt. sin r

and Since

ittUx)

^--

sin

-,

we now agree to measure x from the other end of the string,


which is equivalent to changing lx into x, (25) will be
reduced to the form

if

y=f
In

this

r^

^.2.

isin

(/

equation the factor

is

^)-(26)

very nearly

(sin2(j!),+ e/cos2(/)i)*

equal to i, for all values of i except those which make sin <^j = o
If we substitute 1 for this factor, we obtain the
or very small.
approximate equation

and, comparing this with (24), we see that for any particular
value of X, that is, for any particular point of the string, it gives
a vibration-curve of the same kind. For if we take a quantity
T such that

y=j-

= X-L

>

-2.

(27)

may be

^sm

put in the form

sin

(/

^)' (28)

which the part under the sign of summation can be reduced


same form as in (24) by changing the arbitrary instant
from which / is reckoned. Hence it represents a zigzag like
in

to the

;
'

Vibrations of Violin String,


Fig.

but with a different amplitude;

I,

141

and the phase of the

vibration at any given time varies with /, that

Now

part of

it,

is, with x.
of the first
the duration of a whole vibration, and
T
X
^ -, expresses that
or swing ; ' hence the equation

is

'

at any point the durations of the ' swing and of the * swang
are proportional to the lengths of the two parts into which that
point divides the string; and Helmholz has ascertained, by
in Fig. i, that this relation
observing the ratio of
to
'

^C

actually

subsists,

so

that

CB

hypothesis assumed

the

above

is

justified.

The

equation (27) agrees with the approximate formula which

Helmholz has obtained in a somewhat different manner. It


fails to represent two of the observed facts, namely, (i) the
extinction of those component tones which have nodes at Q,
and (2) the existence of ripples in the vibration-curve when the
observed point

The more
actly, if

we

is not a node.
accurate formula (26) represents these facts ex-

consider the factor

to be =

(as

(sin2(|)^+e/cos2(^i)*

very nearly) except when sin <^^ = o, in which last case it


For we have already seen that the vanishing of this
factor causes the extinction of the component tones in question
and the vibration-curve (27) will be modified by the disappearance of the corresponding component curves ; and the effect of
their disappearance will evidently be to change the zigzag of
straight lines represented by (27) into a zigzag of rippled

it

is

is

o.

fines

If

".

we put

for the amplitude of the vibration at

)3'

ticular point, then, neglecting

whence
kt

P be

e^.,

any par-

we have

2i3r^

2/3^r^

^' = ^I^illlll) =

^^(^

the amplitude at the middle point of the string, then

F = i f-

and therefore

To(l-To)

* Helmholz's Fig.
25 (p. 144) represents the vibration-curve of a point
so near the end of the string, that one side of the zigzag is too steep to
have ripples. But Professor Clifton has found that they are seen on both
sides when the observed point is nearer to the middle of the string.

Vibrations of Violin String,

14^^

which gives the ratio of the amplitude at any point


middle point.
Introducing the above value of/* in (27), we obtain

to

that

at the

which agrees with Helmholz's equation (3 c) {Beilage V).


This equation (or (27)), considered as an equation between
X and_y, determines approximately the form of the whole string
at

When

any time.

T
/

is o,

for

all

T
or any multiple of- 5^ vanishes
2

values of x, so that the whole string

is

straight at these

instants.

142. At

other times the two portions of the string between


and the point of greatest displacement, are
straight.
This is easily shewn as follows. It was proved in
Art. 99 that the equation to a locus consisting of two straight
portions AC,
(Fig. 2)
all

extremities

its

CB

Fig.

is

(from

^o\.o

2.

x -^T),

AB = /

and x^y y^ are the coordinates of C (Fig. 2),


x and y) from A. And it is evident that this
equation may be made identical with (29) at any determinate
time /, by taking x^ and^^ so that

where
reckoned

(like

sm

mx
/

the

same

The

2 /

sign being taken in both.

first

C of the

of these equations shews that the locus of the vertex


two parabolic arcs passing through

string consists of

Vibrations of Violin String.


extremities

its

143

A, B^ and on opposite sides of AB, belonging


which the equations are

to the parabolas of

The second
time

determines the position of the vertex at the

and writing

/;

it

in the

form

smzTT-^ = +sm2'7r-

we

that (beginning

see

with the instant

when t=\T^

it

is

by supposing x^ to vary uniformly from o to / and


then from / to o and so on successively, the time occupied
by each of these successive changes being \ t, and the upper
and under sign being taken alternately. (This will be most
clearly seen by examining the case of i = i.)
satisfied

=r=^ ,

.^-^

.^^^

The

string therefore vibrates in the following

It is

always divided into two straight portions, as

AC\

C'B\ and

the vertex

alternately in such a

manner

manner

A C, CB^ or

describes the two parabolic arcs


that the foot of the ordinate,

moves backwards and forwards between

and

M,

with a con-

(Helmholz, Beilage V.)


Hitherto we have supposed the bow to be applied in the
usual manner, so as to produce the fundamental note of the
string.
But if the point of application be taken gradually
nearer to the bridge, while the bow is drawn with a somewhat
quicker motion and lighter pressure, the fundamental tone
becomes weaker; and ultimately a node is established at the
middle of the string, the fundamental tone is extinguished, and
the note produced is the octave, or first harmonic.
These changes in the character of the note are accompanied
by a corresponding series of changes in the vibration-curve,
which passes from the original zigzag, through a series of
intermediate forms, into a similar zigzag of half the period and
smaller amplitude.
This
(See Helmholz's Fig. 26, p. 145).
stant velocity.

Loaded

Vibrations of a

144

String.

phgenomenon has
it

also been observed by Professor Clifton.


has not been submitted to mathematical analysis.

But

143. Problem 5. To examine the vibration of a string which


loaded with a finite mass at a given point.

is

We shall assume that the weight of the mass is insignificant


compared with the tension of the string, so that the vibration is
modified only by its inertia; and also that its dimensions are so
small that the consideration of its motion relatively to its own
In other words, we shall
centre of inertia may be neglected.
consider it as a small but finite mass, concentrated at a point.

Let then fx be this mass, and suppose / is the length of the


and b the distance of the point at which ^ is attached
from that end of the string from which x is reckoned.
string,

As

in

Problem

2,

we must suppose

undergo a sudden change when


and at that point the equation

must be

The

satisfied.

difi"erential

that the value of

-f^may

dx

passes through the value b

rest

of the string

/2^

is

subject to the usual

equation
-

dt^

dx''

Now we may satisfy the latter equation, together with the


and when x = I, and that
when x =
conditions that y =
the value of^ must not change suddenly when x = b, exactly in
shall therefore assume
the same way as in Problem 2.

We
y = ^mm{lb)sm.mx{A cos amt-j-B sin am
from X = to X = bj and
y = smmbsinm{lx) {Acosamt+B smamt),
from X = b to x =
t),

(32)

(33)

1.

Either of the above equations gives, for

d^y

^ =

=^b,

a'm^smmbsmmilb) {A cosamt+Bsinamt);

and, taking the diff"erence of values of

equations

when

x = b, we

a(~^ =

find, as in

Problem

given by the two


2,

msmml.{Acosamt-\-Bsmamt);

Vibrations of a

Loaded String,

145

hence, in order to satisfy (31), we must have


\k(^m sin mh\nm {lb) = Tsm ml.

This

last

equation determines m, while

unless the

The

and

B remain arbitrary

circumstances of the motion are given.

initial

value of a^

is

(Art. 123),

If then

density of the string.

where p

the longitudinal

is

we put i^^pX,

length of string which would have the


above equation will become

so that

same mass

as

mXsmmbsm.m{lb) = ^mmL
It will evidently

have an

infinite

number of

the
the

is
/m,

(34)
roots,

and

if

we

the complete solution of the prodenote them hy m^, m^,


blem will be given by the equation
.

y = 2[ir ^i (^t cos amit-\- B. sin am^t)


in

(35)

which
sin m^

.,.{ sin m^

{lb)
sin

sin

lUiX

mi(lx)

and the coefficients A^, B- are


by initial conditions.

all

(^ = o
(x =b

to

.Jif

^),

x = /),

io

arbitrary, unless

determined

144. The complete vibration therefore consists, as in the case


of the unloaded string, of simple harmonic vibrations superposed.
But the values of m, which determine the periods of
these component vibrations, are not in general commensurable
numbers, so that the component tones do not belong to a
harmonic scale, and can only be improperly called harmonics.'
If in equation (34) we suppose A = o, or 3 = o, or b = 1, we
get the condition for an unloaded string, namely, sin w / = o, as
in the original investigation of that case.
If, on the other hand, we suppose /x = 00 (which we are at
liberty to do if we also suppose gravity not to act), then A = 00 ,
and the second member of (34) is insignificant in comparison
with the first, and the condition for determining m becomes
'

sin

so that either

w^ sin m (/ ^)

mimb = o,

=o

or sin m(lb) = o.

Either of these equations gives^ = o when x = b; that is, the


point at which fx is attached remains fixed, as it evidently
ought.
The periods of the component vibrations are now those
which belong to the separate portions of the string ; and

'

Vibrations of a Loaded String,

146

equation (35) shews that each can only exist in its own portion.
it is evident that we may now, without violating any prescribed condition, take sin/(5 = o in one portion and ^\nm
(15) = o in the other; thus the motion consists in general
of the natural vibrations of the two portions, existing indeThe infinite attached mass is simply equivalent to
pendently.
a fixed point.

But

145. In general the roots of the transcendental equation (34)


could only be found by troublesome approximations.
Two
special cases however deserve attention.
The first is that in which the mass /ut is attached at a node, so

that 3

"v?

lj,j' being

(34) then becomes

integers.

/'

/'

mk svamb sin-^^r- mb = sm.~


J

mb'y

it is evident that this is satisfied by taking for mb any


multiple of /tt.
Thus we shall get a series of roots (not all the
roots) by giving i integer values from i to 00 in

and

iji:

z'/'tt

"^^

The period of the i^^ component


we see from (35),

tone given by this series

is,

as

Now

2/

which

2/

aiy

-77 is the

when

21:

am^

period of the vibration of the unloaded string,

it is vibrating so as to give the lowest harmonic tone


has nodes at the points of division of the string into y

equal parts.

We

when the mass is attached at a node,


component tones which have nodes at that point remain
unaltered.
But the fundamental, and other component tones,
all

see therefore that

the

be changed.
This may be verified by attaching a small lump of wax to
one of the points of aliquot division of a violin or pianoforte
will

string.

The

other case

is

that in

that the square of the ratio

Since (34)

is

satisfied

which the attached mass

-j

may

is

so small

be neglected.

by ml =11: when

A.

o,

we may assume

Loaded String,

Vibrations of a
that

when A

is

small

it

be

will

satisfied

ml=

hy

z''7r

+ e,

147
where

is

of the same order as -

Substituting therefore

- (/tt + e) sin - {it: + e)

for

in (34),

we obtain

-) {iir + e) = sin (ztt +

sin (i

e)

and, terms of the second order being neglected, this becomes


.

b
\
..
jsmti:- smu'n

whence we get

so that

tit

we may

it:

sin^ /tt j

tit

take
?'7r

m,

The

= COS

i'n-j\

X.
-z

b.

it: /

period of the corresponding tone

of vibrations in a unit of time

b\

is

or the

number

^^*

am
is

-\

hence the number of

277

vibrations

is

diminished by the load in the ratio of


I

-^urti:^ to

I,

and the fundamental tone, as well as the higher components,


are all lowered; moreover the components belong nearly but
not exactly to a harmonic series, so that the compound note
will sound slightly discordant.
The examination of particular
cases

may

be

left

to the reader.

NOTE.
On

the Principles

of

the Use

of Revolving Mirrors.

(See Art. 138.)

AB

If a plane mirror revolve about a fixed axis


in its own plane, the
path of the image of any stationaiy point ^ is a circle which passes through
Q, and has its centre at the point where a perpendicular from Q meets AB4
And this path is the same whether one side only, or each side, of the mirror

be a

reflecting surface.
If the axis of rotation, AB, be not in, but parallel to, the plane of the
mirror, then the path of the image of ^ is a curve of the 4th degree, having

L 2

Revolving Mirrors.

148

a double point at Q, and two loops, one within and the other without the
The inner loop is the path of the image formed
circle described as above.
by reflection at the outer surface (reckoning from AB) of the mirror, and
the outer loop of that formed by the inner surface.
A usual arrangement is to join four mirrors together so as to form four
sides of a cubical box, with the axis of rotation passing through the centre
of the box, parallel to their planes, and equidistant from them all. The
outer surfaces of course alone reflect, and the images formed by them all
describe the same path.
But an eye placed at any determinate point will only see one image at
one time, and only while it describes a small portion of its path and if the
velocity of rotation be sufficiently great, this small portion of the path of the
image of a stationary continuously illuminated point will appear to the
eye as a continuous and stationary line. If however the point, while continuously illuminated, have a vibratory motion of sufficiently short period,
parallel to the axis of rotation, and if the velocity of rotation of the mirrors
be so adjusted that one quarter of its period is equal to, or a multiple of,
the period of vibration, then the passage of each mirror through any given
position will always happen when the vibration is in the same phase ; and
consequently the visible portion of the path of the image will appear as one
or more waves of a continuous and stationary vibration curve, formed by
compounding the two motions along and perpendicular to the line before
;

mentioned.

On

the other hand,

the point be stationary, but illuminated only at


intervals of time, it vidll appear, when
viewed by the eye directly, as a continuously illuminated point ; but when
seen by reflection from the revolving mirrors, it will appear, not as a continuous line, but as a row of points, which will be stationary if one quarter
of the period of rotation of the mirrors be equal to, or a multiple of, the
interval of time between successive illuminations.
Some of the most usual applications of revolving mirrors depend upon
these principles. They appear to have been first used, for purposes of
observation, by Wheatstone.
instants separated

if

by sufficiently short

CHAPTER

VIII.

ON THE LONGITUDINAL VIBRATIONS OF AN


ELASTIC ROD.

The

146.

may be

either

and both kinds may, when

small,

vibrations of a uniform elastic rod

transversal or longitudinal,

coexist without sensibly modifying each other.


fore study

them separately

and we

shall

We may

of longitudinal vibrations, as being the simplest.


as

we

did in the case of the string,

first

We

of infinite length

but

we

might,

consider the subject

assuming the law of wave-propagation

kinematically,

there-

begin with the theory

in a

rod

prefer to proceed at once to the

dynamical theory.
147.

We

suppose then the motion of

all

the particles to be

in directions parallel to a fixed straight line in space, with

the axis of the rod always coincides.

meant a

line passing

By

which

the axis of the rod

through the centres of inertia of

its

is

trans-

verse sections.

we suppose

Further,

that all the particles

which at any one

instant are in a plane at right angles to the axis, continue to be

so at

all

in the

times.

same

The

first

because we
of the rod

and

In other words, the velocities of

all

the particles

transverse section are equal.

of these suppositions cannot be rigorously true,

know

is

vzce versd.

displacements

that a longitudinal

in general

extension of any part

accompanied by a

lateral contraction,

But when the vibrations are small these

may be

neglected without sensible error.

lateral

Longitudinal Vidratiofis

150

We

148.

shall first investigate the conditions of equilibrium,

and then deduce the equations of motion from them by the help
of D'Alembert's principle.

The

usual law of elasticity

is

assumed, namely,

a constant (the modulus of

<7

force,

per unit of area, which must be applied,

is

directions, to

any two transverse

an extension (or compression)

and

effect will

2"

if

elasticity),

produce

sections, in order to

If 7"

e.

is

the

is

contrary

in

tension, or pulling

be positive extension, or elonga-

force, the effect will of course

tion

and

where

be a pushing force (or negative tension) the

be negative extension, or contraction.

of extension, which includes both cases,

The

definition

is

actual length

natural length

\B

Fig.

I.

Let AB (Fig. i) be the axis of the rod, coinciding with a line


OX fixed in space. And us suppose that the rod actually
let

is

in equilibrio

under the action of given

directions are

all

parallel to

of any transverse section

and

from

end A.

Let f be the actual abscissa

(By the same section

taining the same particles.)

which the

reckoned from the fixed origin O,

the natural (or unextended) distance of the

the

We

OX.

Pp

forces, of

And

let f^

is

same

meant the

section

section con-

be the value of f

at

have then to consider the conditions of equilibrium when

the following external forces are applied


(i)

force

F^ per

unit of surface applied to the

and a force F^ of the same kind


usual rule of signs being adopted,
force
tive,

if it is positive,

at the

F^

and a pulling

end A,

end B.

will

force

while the converse will be true of F^.

The

be a pushing
if it is

nega-

of a Rod.

(2)

force

per unit of mass

applied throughout the

between two sections of which the

infinitesimal slice

f and f +</f.

actual abscissae are

149. Let

151

be the area of the section, and

o)

The

length of the rod.

natural

/ the

equilibrium being established,

Pp

part of the rod between

and

were cut

maintain the equilibrium of the remainder


to apply to the surface of the section

it

off,

if

the

in order to

would be necessary

P p some force 7^ per unit

of area, and the condition of equilibrium would be

pXd^+F(o=^o;

F^(o + (of

interior

To

is f,

mass of the

find

poiXd^is

so that

an expression

is

face, required to

-r^

ax

the whole force

upon

the

slice.

for

thickness of any slice being dx,

the extension

which

in the section of

where p represents the actual density


the abscissa

(i)

i,

we

observe, that the natural

and the actual thickness

and the force per unit of

produce

d^,

on each

area,

this extension, is therefore

(g-0' -^-^
supposing no forces (such as
of the

Now when

slice.

without

limit,

the forces

X)

to act

on the

interior

the thickness of the slice

on

its

faces remain

is

finite,

portional to areas, whereas the interior forces,

if

being pro-

there are any,

being proportional to volume, diminish without limit

also,

are therefore negligeable in comparison with the forces


faces.

Hence ?to(-7

mass

diminished

and

on the

ijis the force which must be ap-

plied to the surface of the section to maintain the existing state


this therefore is the value

of extension

which, since

x = o when

f=

fo>

o(Fh/Xhus

"^ay be written

(i)

becomes

Longitudinal Vibrations

1^2

Differentiating this equation with respect to x,

Let

Po

we

obtain

be the natural density of the rod; then, since p^codx

and poid^hoth express the mass of the same

slice,

we have

so that the last equation becomes

150.

To

deduce from

the equation of motion, in the

this

case in which no forces are actually applied except on the surfaces of the ends,

we have merely

(iDpQXdx supposed
celeration arising
is,

to write

from

d^e
-j-^

act

to

the

the resistance to ac-

X.

of

oopodx.-;
dp

Thus we

obtain,

^^^

that to

which we were led by

solution of this equation gives

at

any time

X,

its

/,

and

f as a function of the two


That is, it gives the position,

/.

of any proposed section defined by the value of

natural distance from the


solution

end A.

is

i=<t>(x-af)-t-/{x-\-a^);

and the two


initial

that

putting

dp-^'dx''

independent variables

The

substitute for the force

namely,

inertia,

an equation of the same form as


the problem of vibrating strings.

The

to

slice,

d^S

its

instead

p,-""'

on

(5)

arbitrary functions have to be determined

displacements

and

velocities,

together

with

by the

the

given

conditions relative to the extremities.


151. If in equation (2)

and, putting

.:r

= o in

this.

we put

for

p~
ox

its

value p^,

we

get

of a Rod,
If

rod,

i^'^

we had considered the equilibrium of


we should have found in like manner

These two equations merely express


extension at each end of the rod

is

the other part of the

that the condition of

always such as corresponds

to the force applied there.

The

152.

equation

differential

value as

f=

satisfied

is

(4)

^ sin(wAr + a)sin(w/+i3);

but in order to satisfy the given conditions in


find

it

by such a

cases,

all

we

shall

necessary to add a non-periodic term such as

b-\-c{xat)-\-c\x-{-at\

which

obviously of the general form (5) and

is

But the part b-\-{/ c)at of

form motion of
may,

way

if

signifies

whole rod.

Such a motion
but as it in no

the terminal conditions admit

we

neglect
part of

it,

exist;

And

are concerned with in studying the vibrations,

it,

a uni-

and assume only a term

kx

we may

in addition to the periodic

f.

153.

no

translation of the

satisfies (4).

term merely

modifies the relative motion of the different sections, which

all

is

this

We

first

we

proceed
will

to

Then F^ =

forces.

consider

0,

(V)> give

F^^ o, and
dj _

dx~
both when

x=

the

most important

suppose the rod entirely

and when

.r

/,

free,

the

cases.

and acted on by

two equations

(6),

'

as the terminal conditions.

Assuming then

^=kx-\'A

sin(z.^-

+ a)sin(2^/+j3),

the terminal conditions are

when

x=o

k->rmA cos {mx-\-Q) sin {ma/+fi) =


and when x = /, for all values of /.

Hence we must
k=i,

i,

evidently have

cosa =

o,

cos(2/+a) = o;
'77

of which equations the

last

two are

satisfied

by a = -, ml =
2

(/

being any integer), and therefore

iir,

Longitudinal Vibrations

154

f=
a solution,

is

^+^

and

change of form, as

in

f=^ + 2^.^i

cos

- sm

J- + /3

(^

being arbitrary

former cases, we

and making a

may

+ ^iSmy-j

cos-y-(^^,.cos-y-

slight

take
(8)

as the general solution.


(If

we included

= o

a constant term to

in the

summation, we should merely add

which would be equivalent

f,

to

an

alteratipn

of the fixed origin from which f is measured.)


154. To understand the equation (8) we must recollect that

is

the distance from a fixed origin, at the time

end

The

x.

is

value of

origin of

and

is

on the

independent of the

f.

Let us

now

find the position of the centre of inertia of the

Its abscissa

is

given by the equation

the integrations being extended from

Now we

have (Art. 140),

hence

we

if

of the par-

therefore depends only

particular set of particles considered,

rod.

/,

a plane section of which the natural distance from the

ticles in

put, in the

one end

above equation, -^

limits of the integrations are jr

= o and

dx for

x = l/\\.

to

the other.

^f, so that the

becomes simply

^l==Jjdx;
but from (8)

we have / ^dx =
Jo

hence

or the centre of inertia remains fixed (as


it

- from
2

we know a

must do under the supposed conditions), and


the origin of

f.

It

is

priori that

at a distance

must not however be inferred from

of a Rod,
this that the section

155

which, in the natural condition, contains

the centre of inertia remains fixed ; that

B^

A^^

are o for

remains

by

all

even values of

fixed, the place

will

when

only happen

In general, no section

i.

of the centre of inertia being occupied

different particles periodically.

155. If the vibrations ceased, the centre of inertia


taining

its

position, the periodic part of (8)

still

main-

would disappear,

and we should have ^ = x 2X all points of the rod hence the


periodic part, which is the actual value of ^x, gives the dis;

placement, at the time

/,

of the section defined,

as

before

explained, by the value of x.

The

Hence

density at any point

is

given (Art. 149) by the equation

the general equation (5) gives

^^^'{x-ai)^f{x^aty,
P

which represents the transmission of two

s/afes

of density in

contrary directions with the same constant velocity a relatively


to the matter of the rod.

This

is

not rigorously the same thing

as a constant velocity relatively to fixed space, because x, in the

motion,

state of

is

not the actual abscissa of the particles in a

given section, reckoned from a fixed point, but differs from

by the small periodic displacement due


This being understood, we
sists

may

say that the vibration con-

the transmission, in contrary directions, of

in

condensation and dilatation; just as the


string consists in the transmission of

ment ; and

it

to the vibration.

waves of

lateral vibration

waves of

of a

lateral displace-

the waves appear to be reflected from the ends in

both cases.
156.

The

periodic part of (8) does not in general vanish for

any value of x, so

that there are in general

of no displacement.

which
all

is

But there

any odd multiple of

values of i except

will

no

nodes, or sections

be n nodes, at sections for


provided A^, B^ vanish for

odd multiples of

n.

Thus

the rod

may

have any number of nodes, of which those next the ends are

Longitudinal Vibrations

156

from the ends by half the distance between any two

distant

nodes.

From

we have

(8)

also

-^ = -^

dx

p
I

when x =

hence

y 2? sm -J- [A^ cos J + Bi sin j)

and when

x=

That

I.

there

is,

is

no

P
variation of density at the free ends.

be variation of density
except when

when

.a;

is

a multiple of

i is

But there

a multiple of -

will in

, the variable part

of

general

B^ vanish

If A^,

at all other points.

vanishes

Hence, when there are nodes, the

sections in

which there

is

no

variation of density are those

bisect the nodal intervals in the state of equilibrium,

no

sections of

displacement,
ill

cos

157.
the

variation of density are also sections of greatest

as

be

will

J-

is

The

for values

on inspection of

seen

of x which make sin

ill

y-

(8),

o.

number of simple harmonic


itself; the i^ com-

infinite

each of which might subsist by

ponent vibration would have i nodes

and

in this case, as in

the case of the string, the tones corresponding to the

ponent vibrations form in general a complete harmonic

The

period of the

i^ component

2/
tone

is -r-

the fundamental tone

a would
2/

we

the wave-length

is

time,

or^,

is

is

and

the period of

be the time of transmission of a wave over

the distance 2/,

of a (Art. 150)
a

is

comseries.

^^

2/

Since

since

vibration represented by (8) consists as usual of

superposition of an

vibrations,

which

and these

infer,

exactly as in the case of a string, that

twice the length of the rod.

()

the

number of

Po

W^\*

Since the value

vibrations in a unit of

of a Rod.
and

157

therefore, ccBteris paribus, inversely proportional

is

length.

It is,

as

evidently ought to

it

be,,

to the

independent of the

thickness.

The most

158.

general case in which there

middle of the rod

is

that in

a node at the

is

which cos-y- vanishes,

values of i included in the series (8),

when x = -- In

for

all

order that

may be the case, ^^., B^ must vanish


The gravest component tone is then

this
i.

of the rod, but the higher tones

Thus

the

+ fifth)

(octave

Now

upper tone

first

will

even values of

for all

the fundamental tone

of even orders

disappear.

be at an interval of a twelfth

above the fundamental tone.

in this case the middle section of the rod

might become

and

absolutely fixed without disturbing the motion,

either half

might then be taken away, so as to leave a rod of half the


original length with

Hence we

one end fixed and the other

infer that the

free.

fundamental tone of a rod, with one

same as that of a rod of twice the length, with


But the component tones of the rod with a
form a complete harmonic series, containing
end
do
not
fixed
tones
of
odd orders. The wave-length is four times
the
only
end

fixed, is the

both ends

free.

We

the length of the rod.

afterwards in a

159.

more

direct

We will next

shall arrive at the

same conclusions

manner.

suppose the terminal sections of both ends

to be fixed.

Let

Then,

be the distance between the planes of the fixed ends.

if /'

be different from the natural length

at rest, is in

tained

/,

the rod,

when

a state of uniform elongation or contraction, main-

by the tensions or pressures on the

fixed ends.

suppose, for clearness, that /'>/, so that the rod

Assuming, as in

is

We

will

elongated.

Art. 153,

^=kx-{-A^\Ti{rnx-\-a)\xi{mat-\-^
(in

which equation

x has

the conditions 37 = o

at

its

when

original meaning),

x=o

and when

we have to

x=L

satisfy

for all values

Longitudinal Vibrations

158
of

Hence we must have

/.

^=

when

sin {rnx-\-a)

= o when

and

which conditions are satisfied by taking


ml =111;
a = o,

/,

now

moreover, since the ends are

fixed,

we may assume

the

f is measured to coincide with one end, so


f = o when x = o\ then k must be such that f = /' when

origin from which


that

X=

I'
1,

or ^ =

Thus

the expression above assumed for f

becomes

f=y^ + ^sm
now

the end of the rod

(9)

when

= -jx;

at rest in its actual condition

and

we

=-

from

of ex-

and

take, as

the

general

x ^2sm-jj-{^AiC0S-y- + BiSm-jr-)-

(9)

tension, then x^

sum

before, the

^=

sm(^-y- + /3);

be the distance of the section defined by

let at'

solution,

we

of the

if

particular

put a

solutions

a,

for

obtain

This equation evidently expresses a vibration in which the


velocity of wave-transmission

is

a'

= - a}

Thus

the tension to

which we. have supposed the rod subjected increases the velocity
This value of the velocity of wave-transmission might be obtained
let T' be the tension in the state of rest,
the actual tension
at any point then
*

directly thus

r=.(^-,)
from which we

find

and

r=,(^J-.).

by eliminating dx,

r=r+(i7+r)(^-i);
if

we now

p'

being the density of the rod at

investigated directly the differential equation,

di^

we have

p,
->

r
= =

hence

dx^^

we should

find

p'

rest.

But

p^

being the unextended density,

'== .,^.

(-f /-^

(f )V

of a Rod.

159
But the period

of transmission in proportion to the extension.

V
-
2

2I

is

the

same

as

if

there

was no

tension.

160. Comparing (9') with (8), we see that the periods of the
fundamental and other component tones are the same in the
rod with both ends fixed as in that with both ends

when

there are nodes they are not at the

same

free.

places.

But

The

rod with fixed ends has always two nodes, namely, the fixed

ends themselves ; the i^ harmonic component would have i i


nodes (besides the ends) dividing the rod into i equal parts.
The mode of division in the free rod was explained in Art. 156.

The

161.

theory of the longitudinal vibrations of a rod ex-

tended by tension at

its

ends,

is

evidently applicable at once to

the case of a string similarly extended, in so far as the

between tension and extension

relation

may

assumed

be supposed to

subsist.

The

longitudinal vibrations of a

excited by gently rubbing

it

pianoforte string

may be

longitudinally with a piece of india-

and those of a violin string by placing the bow obliquely


across the string, and moving it along the string longitudinally,
keeping the same point of the bow upon the string. The note

rubber,

is

unpleasantly

pitch

both cases.

shrill in

(The

relation

between the

of lateral and longitudinal vibration will be considered

afterwards.)
If the

peg of the

violin

be turned so as to

the lateral vibrations very considerably,


pitch

The

of the longitudinal vibrations


reason of this

is

it

will

alter the pitch

of

be found that the

has varied very

slightly.

that in the case of the lateral vibrations

the change of velocity of wave-transmission depends chiefly on


the change of tension, which

is

considerable.

But

in the case

of the longitudinal vibrations, the change of velocity of wavetransmission

comparatively

depends on the change of extension, which


slight.

vibrations of rods,
steel,

rod

it

or glass tubes.

may

For
is

experiments

on the

is

longitudinal

convenient to use rods of deal, or of

One end may be

fixed in a stand

or the

be held lightly in the fingers at the place of a node.

Longitudinal Vibrations

i6o

The

vibrations

cloth,

may be

excited by rubbing the glass with a wet

and the rods with powdered rosin on a dry

162.

If,

supposed a constantforce applied

would be

ditions

/'o

at

we

each end, the terminal con-

/^ = constant.

must have the same given

suming

glove.

instead of supposing both ends of the rod fixed,

Hence
^r,

value, say

(Art. 151)

t^ i
As-

both ends.

at

then, as before (Art. 153),

^=kx-\-A

sin(7.;tr-|-a)sin(;/+/3),

we must have

k\-{-mA
both

when

x=o
k =

Q,o^{rnx-\-a) %\Xi{mai-\-^^ =

and when

x=

l,

cos a = o,

e^

e\

and therefore
cos (;7z/+ a) = o

whence, as in Art. 153,

w/=

a = -

ztt;

f=

^.r

it: at

^-,1=00

itiXf

^^.^^ cos

-J- (^^i

cos

iT:at\

-^ + ^. sm -y J
we

and, putting ex=^x', el = l\ ea = a\ as in Art. 159,

should

have

f=J?

2^.^j

cos-^(^<cos-^+^<sm-^);

which x' now signifies the distance


end A of the rod, supposing it to be at

in

of

any section from the

rest

under the action of

the terminal forces.

Comparing
period of the
in both cases,

We

this
z^^

result with

component

equation (8)

vibration (

and the nodes are

we
=

see that

is

the

the

same

similarly situated.

infer then that in the

three cases, (i) both ends free,

(2) both ends fixed, (3) both

ends pulled or pushed by equal

constant forces, the series of component tones

But the

distribution of the nodes,

which

is

the

is

same

the

same.

in (i)

and

(3), is different in (2).

The

case (3) cannot be realised in practice, because

it

is

impossible by any mechanical contrivance to apply a constant


force at the ends.

In case (2) the force supplied by the fixed

of a Rod.
supports of the ends

is

the actual value

that of

a periodically varying quantity, of which

q{-^\\

) at the other end, and the

(-^

is

i6i

at

the end A,

mean value

and

is

4-0163. The only remaining case of practical interest is that in


which one end of the rod is fixed, while the other end is either
entirely free, or loaded with a given finite mass.

We

shew how the solution of the problem in these cases


obtained by means ^f the more general supposition that
both ends of the rod are loaded, but otherwise free. The condition of fixity at either end can then be introduced by supposing the mass attached at that end to be infinite, and the
condition of perfect freedom by supposing it to be nothing.
Suppose then masses M^ M^ to be attached to the two ends.
The forces F^, F^ (Art. 151) will then be the resistances to
acceleration arising from the inertia of these masses ; and the
terminal conditions will therefore be
shall

may be

whence

(see equations (6), (7)),

di
1

dx

if

m these

j:

o,

qoi

dx
And

M^d"^
when
Nt.
dt^

qoi

equations

we

when

-rJ
dr

x=

1.

substitute the values of

from the assumedJ equation


.

.1

f = ^ar + ^

we

have

/^

them

and

cot

+ a)

sin(/?2.r

see that, in order to satisfy

imx
+ a)= md^
^
=

md^

sin

d^ d'^
^

dx

(w/+/3),

for all values of

when x =

dt^

(10)
/,

we must

0,

qo)

when x = L

qta

Let

Iqui

u.

u-

then these conditions give

Iqta

cot (mi -\- a) =

iJi^ml;)

'


Longitudinal Vibrations

i6z

from which, by eliminating

a,

we

find

(i-/^of^i(^^')tan;w/+(/x, + /Xi)2/ =

o.

(12)

164. Suppose /i, m^, &c. are the values of m which satisfy
the equation (12).
To each value m^ will correspond a value
of a, say a^, which can be found from (11). Then (10) will
give the form

f=

+ 2 sin {m^x + a^) (A^ cos m.a/+B. sin /,/);

:r

(13)

where A^^ B^ are arbitrary constants.


This would give the solution of the problem if the values of
m^ were known. These values in general could only be found
by troublesome approximations. We see however that (13)
expresses a vibration compounded of simple harmonic vibrations, of which the periods are inversely proportional to the
values of m^, so that the component tones do not in general
belong to a harmonic scale.
165. If we suppose ju,, = o, and jUj = o, then both ends of the
rod are perfectly free, and equations (11) give

cota =

coi{ml-\-a) =

o,

o'j

TT

or

a=-

ml=i'K, as we found before.

Again,

if

/ut^

and

00

we have

juij

cota = 00
a = o,

=
,

or
as

we

also found

oo

then both ends are fixed, and


cot

{ml+a) =

00

ml=t'Kt

before in the case of fixed ends without

extension.

But if juto = 00 juij = o, then the end A is


end free; and we have from (11),
cot a = 00,
cot{ml+a) =
,

or

a=

o,

fixed

and the other

o,

ml={2i-\-i)-i

so that (13) becomes


2/

Here the periods of


4/
7

r-

(22+1)^

>

the

component

vibrations are the values of

and the numbers of vibrations

therefore proportional to the

in a unit of time are

odd numbers

i, 3,

5, ....

Thus

of a Rod,

163

the component tones form a harmonic scale with alternate


tones (namely, the octave of the fundamental tone with all its
harmonics) left out. The wave-length of the fundamental tone
is 4 /, and its pitch is the same as that of a rod of length 2 /,

(See Art. 158.)

fixed at both ends or free at both.

166. Lastly, we shall consider the case of a rod fixed at one


Then we
end, and loaded with a small mass at the, other.
shall have

/ijj

and
the

00

of these

first

Ml

if e

we may

(a small quantity)

cot{ml-\-a) = eml:

is satisfied

cos

Now

from (11),
cot a = 00,

therefore,

by a =

were = o the solution of

therefore

o,

and the second becomes

ml = mi sin ml.
this

would be ml ={2i + i)-i

assume

mil={2z

+ i)- + d,

6 being a small quantity of the same order as


cos((2e

of the second order being neglected,

9sm(2z+i)-

= e(2/+i)-.sin(2/-f- i)-;

6 =

whence

IT

(2z
+ i)-i
^
'

and

in the ratio

).

of the small load

eff"ect

is

simply to

number of vibrations of every component tone


i e
i.
Each tone is therefore lowered by the

interval,

and the whole

series

scale with alternate tones omitted

The

;w^/= (2z'+i)~(i

This shews that the


diminish the

Then

+ i)-2 + ^) = ((22-+i)-2 + a)sin((2/+i)-2 + l9);

or, quantities

same

e.

following result

is

still

belongs to a harmonic

'^.

found by carrying the approximation one step

further.

Let

and the

mean

the ratio of the attached mass to the whole mass of the rod
attached mass. Then

/=i{t-.+

^^^4

Longitudinal Vibrations of a Rod.

64

167. Since a^ = ^(Art. 160), the values oi


^o
are

M,

\l^,\i^

(Art. 163)

M^

now /poO) is the mass of the rod ; hence /x^, \k^ are simply the
ratios of the attached masses to the mass of the rod, and e in
the last problem has the

The

same meaning.

chapter afford a method of determining -experientally the modulus of elasticity by observing the
tones produced by longitudinal vibrations.
Thus, taking the
case of the rod with one end fixed and the other free, we have
for the period of the fundamental tone (Art. 165),

168.

results

of

this

^ q ^

and

therefore

if

be the number of

i6n^P =

and

vibrations in a unit of time,

qui== i6n^l.lp^ui:

Po

now if a second be the unit of time, the weight of the rod


expressed in theoretical units of force is tp^cog; hence, calling
this W, we have
i6n^l

g
Thus
rod,

if

the pulling force which would double the length of the


the law of extension held good without limit, is

i6V

X weight

of rod.

The value of n can be ascertained with great accuracy by


methods of which the principle will be explained afterwards.
is the number of vibrations, in a unit of time, of the unloaded rod.
the higher component tones become unharmonic.
For instanc e, thg
ratio of the interval between the fundamental tone and the first upper tj^g,
js (to the same approximation) 3 (i+fir^c^), which exceeds a twelfth b y an
mferval of which the ratio is i + ^ir^t^. This would be a diatonic semitone

where

Hence

\{^Tf^i^=z^^ or

6^

which gives -^ nearly

for

the

ratio

of the

mass to the mass of the rod.


The interval by which the first upper tone is put out of tune relatively to
the fundamental tone, being measured by the logarithm of i +^ir^e^, varies

Jattached

as

6* nearly.

v.-

/M
r^^^

Iff

ijnr

CHAPTER

IX.

ON THE LATERAL VIBRATIONS OF A THIN


ELASTIC ROD.

The

169.

theory of the lateral vibrations of a rod becomes

susceptible of tolerably simple mathematical treatment

when

the

following assumptions are made.

The rod
condition

and

equal,

line

sections

We

supposed

is

it is

straight,

to

be homogeneous.

and

all its

In

its

undisturbed

transverse sections are similar,

similarly situated.

passing through the centres of inertia of

may be

called the axis

all

transverse

of the rod.

suppose the vibrations to be small, and such that

(i)

One

principal axis of every section remains in a fixed

plane.
(2)

No

part of the axis pf the rod undergoes

any elongation

or contraction.
(3)

The

particles

which

in the undisturbed state are in

any

transverse plane section, remain always in a plane

normal

The

to the axis of the rod.

mentioned in (i) is small. (This is


meant by calling the rod thin.)
The plane which always contains the principal axis mentioned
{4)

principal axis

what

in (i)

may be

is

called the plane

It follows evidently

of vibration.
from the above assumptions that the

condition of the whole rod at any time


position

and form of

is

determined by the

its axis.

170. Taking rectangular coordinate axes fixed in space,

we

Conditions of Equilibrium

1 66

will

suppose, for clearness, that the axis of

from

zontally

Thus

left

the plane of

2^

and

directed hori-

upwards.

suppose that

undisturbed condition coincides with

its

Thus

is vertical,

coinciding

the small principal axis of every

always in the vertical plane of xy, and the other

section

is

(which

may

may

or

the axis of the rod

not be small)

AB, we

condition the left-hand end

is

vertically

will also

that the plane of vibration

with the plane of xy.

Let

We

horizontal.

is

the axis of the rod in


the .r-axis,

and the axis of ^

to right,

is

always horizontal.

Calling

suppose that in the undisturbed

will

coincides with the origin.

be the abscissa of any given

particle in the axis of the

We

rod in the undisturbed condition.

suppose (as in the case

of the string) that the vertical displacement of any particle in


the axis

so small that

is

horizontal displacement

its

Hence we may

neglected.

consider that

and

for a given particle in the axis,

is

the

same

as the abscissa

Then,

of that particle reckoned from the fixed origin.


the (vertical) ordinate of the

Also,

quantity.

may

dx
put

i,

if

same

particle, _>/ is

problem

is

to express

variables

and

m
.

o)

axis,

be

we

^,

The

the case of the strmg.

two independent

as a function of the

/.

171. In the undisturbed condition let p

rod,

ifj/

always a small

ds be an element of length of the

dy
dy
-^ = ;7^j as

may be

remains constant

be the density of the

the area of the section, and / the actual length of the

axis (which remains constant).


If either

one or both ends of the

length of the rod.


different

But

if

axis are free, /

both ends are fixed

from the natural length, the axis

permanent extension or contraction, and

is

/ is

is

the natural

at

a distance

in

state

of

not the natural

length.

When

either

face at that

end of the axis

the axis are so fixed that there


if either

is

fixed, the

end may or may not be


is

fixed.

whole of the terminal

When

both ends of

extension or contraction, then

terminal face be not entirely fixed,

normal tensions or pressures applied

we must suppose

at all points of its surface

.such as would, in the undisturbed condition, maintain

all

the

longitudinal

of Elastic Rod,

167

filaments of the rod at the

same length as the

axis.

172.

We

must

first

investigate the conditions of equilibrium

of the rod under the action of such forces as could produce a

displacement of the kind supposed to exist at any time during


the motion.

The
forces

of signs will be observed with respect to

usual rule

and moments

will

be considered positive which tend to

produce xoi2i\\oxifrom the axis of x towards that oiy.

The
the

included between two plane sections cutting the

slice

jtr-axis at

same

distances x, x-\-dx from the origin, always contains


matter, though

the disturbed condition.


(i)

A vertical
the

force

same

its

We

faces are not in general parallel in


shall

suppose

i^per unit of mass, constant throughout

slice (so that

-F is a function of x).

(2) Forces parallel to the plane of vibration, acting


particles of the slice,

plane, of which the

and reducible

moment

on the

to a couple, in that

is

Z X (mass of slice) = LpcadXy


L

being a function of x.

(If there

not reducible to a couple, they


to
(3)

were such forces

would

in general tend

produce extension or contraction of the

axis.)

force T^ per unit of area, applied at every part of the

terminal face A^ at right angles to

its

plane.

(4) Tangential forces in the plane of the same face, parallel


to the plane of vibration, and reducible to a single

force i^o^j ^^ t^^^ plane, applied at

its

(5) Forces applied to the surface of the face

centre.

A, reducible

to

a couple in the plane of vibration, of which the mo-

ment
(6)

is 6^0 o).

Analogous forces applied

at the face

B, and denoted by

!- F,, G,.

In the condition of equilibrium these forces are balanced by


the forces of elasticity called into action by the state of strain

which they produce in the rod.

Conditions of Equilibrium

i68

Suppose then the equilibrium


disturbed

if

to subsist.

would not be

It

the part of the rod included between any

became

verse sections

And

rigid.

if

two trans-

the rest of the rod were

then removed, in order to maintain the equilibrium of this part


it

would be necessary to apply

to ascertain

what these

part

we have supposed

and

to

deduce the

to

to

become

differential

We

proceed

on the supposition

that the

certain forces.

it

forces are,

rigid is

an infinitesimal

slice,

equation which expresses the con-

dition of equiUbrium.

173. In Fig.

suppose the plane of the paper to be the plane

of vibration, and

ab be an

let

infini-

tesimal portion of the axis of the rod,

and

FG

the section of an infinitesimal

contained between transverse sec-

slice

tions cutting the axis in a

Let
point

and

b.

X be the abscissa of/*, the middle


of ab^ and x \ dx, x + \dx the

abscissa of a,

b.

Suppose

the

through

a,

sections

transverse

meet

in

then (quantities

PC

of the third order being neglected)


is

the radius of curvature of the axis at

Py which we will call P.


Suppose the slice to be made up of
longitudinal filaments having dta for the

area of their section; and


the

let

apfi be

projection of such a filament on the plane of vibration.

Then,

if

Pp =

rj,

aP

Now

it is

plain that

%ab

('

the state of extension of

length

is

one end

infinitesimal)

same value

its

any such filament may (since

its

be considered to vary uniformly from

to the other, so

extension at

+ !) dx.

that

we may

obtain

middle point by calculating

at all its points, that

is,

it

as

by the formula

actual length
I.

natural length

of

the

state

if it

had the

of Elastic Rod,
Let then dx^ be the natural length of

dx

169
This

or ah.

the natural length of a^, so that the extension at/>

is

also

is

dx
dx
Now

is

the extension of the axis (which

is

constant), so

(tx^
that

if

we

where q

put

is

.dx

the

modulus of

elasticity,

T will

be the value of a

constant tension, per unit of sectional area, due to the per-

manent extension.
Then, calling

T the

actual tension in the filament a^,

we

have

Hence

Consider
section.

plied at

these forces

all

They

DE (on either side


on one

of

it) is

side (say the

are reducible to a resultant force =

P, and a couple of which the moment

the ordinate

t^

is

is /

j'qdoD'so,
is

its

and

T' dm ap-

r;

T'Vo), the

Now

since

centre of inertia

P, we have

Irfdoa^itiK^j

the radius of gyration of the area of the section about

the horizontal principal axis

on

of the

reckoned from a horizontal axis in the plane of

the section, passing through

where k

left)

integrations being extended over the whole section.

acting

upon any

the pulling force exercised by the filament

element din of the section

in

its

plane.

Thus

the forces

the left-hand side of the section, due to extension, are

equivalent to a resultant force

Tin

perpendicular to

applied at P, and a couple in the plane

its

plane,

FG of which the

mo-

Lateral Vibrations.

lyo
174.

We

can now find the forces which must be applied to

the elementary slice in order to maintain


the rest of the rod

is

supposed

to

its

equilibrium

be removed, the

slice

when

having

become rigid.
If we call Q the moment (which we have just determined)
of the couple due to extension acting on the left-hand side
of the section DE^ then the moment of that on the left-hand
face of the slice will be

and of that on the right-hand

The sum

of these

face

is

_g^, = _(,+ r).<o^(-Ly..

(a)

we found a resultant pulling force Tm on each side


Hence on each face of the slice there is a resultant

Moreover,
of P.

and b respectively.
components of these forces may be considered
opposite directions).
But the vertical components

pulling force, applied perpendicularly at a

The

horizontal

equal (in

are

these are equivalent to


d^'y

a vertical resultant force = Tu) -r-^dx,

and no couple.

(For the

moment

the horizontal components

^Ta>dy,

(d)

of the couple resulting from

is

^-Tco^dx,

while that from the vertical components

is

dy
(difference of forces)

xi

(distance between them) = To> -=~ dx).

Differential Equation of Equilibrium.


But we must not assume that the only forces

171

by the

lost

re-

moval of the other parts of the rod are the couple and resultant
force just found; for the parts removed virill in general have
exercised tangential forces in the planes of the faces of the
reducible to resultant forces in the plane of vibration

slice,

and applied

at the centres of the faces.

Suppose then Fui


force

on

the left

and

is

the value of this tangential resultant

right sides of the section

the left-hand face of the slice,

it

will

DE\

then,

on

be

and on the right-hand

These expressions
vertical

will

also give [as

we

neglect

components ; and therefore the forces

yj-))

the

in question are

equivalent to

a resultant vertical force =s,(j!i--~dx,

kcS'

dx

and a couple of which the moment

is

-uiFdx.

{d)

(The horizontal components, being of the order of (i^)

are

neglected.)

175.

Now

in the actual

forces are balanced

condition of equilibrium

all

these

by those which we have supposed to act on

mass of the slice, namely, a vertical force pcaFdx,


and a couple of which the moment is p(oLdx. Hence we
must have
(^) + (^) + poyrdx = o,

the interior

(a)

-f-

(d)

-{-poiLdx = o.

Introducing the actual values of

servmg

we

that,

smce we neglect

find, after dividing

(a), (^), (c),

/dy\^

(d),
I

and obd^y

put -^ = - V^a'
(^^ j we may

by codx,
d'y dF

Differential Equation of

172

(s+^'^'^-P+pL'O.

(2)

In order to eliminate the unknown F, we have only to subtract, after differentiating (2).

We thus

as the differential equation which

obtain, finally,

must be

con-

satisfied in the

dition of equilibrium.

176.
it

We

have no occasion to integrate the equation (3)

essential to ascertain the conditions

is

determine the arbitrary constants contained in

These are

lution.

relative to the

Now

to

but

which would serve to


its

general so-

be obtained from the data of the problem

ends of the rod.

the forces acting

on the

surface of the left-hand face

are only the given external forces (Art. 172), and the interior

tensions arising from extension, and

and

end of Art. 173)

(see

The

first

of these, combined with

These equations
ditions.

these must balance one

Hence we must have

another.

((4)

and (5))

(2), gives

will furnish the

(It is evident that similar

required con-

equations must subsist at

the other end of the rod.)

177. In order to form the differentia] equation of motion,

have

we

now

only to substitute in (3) the forces arising from the


resistances of the particles to acceleration, instead of those sup-

posed to act on the

interior

Hence, instead of the

on

the

d'y

mass of a

-r-^ instead of V,

slice,

of the mass.

vertical force

we must

puaVdx, supposed to act

substitute

po)

-r-r

^^

dx

or

Motion formed and


And
situte

integrated.

instead of the supposed couple poiLdx,

one which

173

we must sub-

found as follows

is

Since the particles

a plane transverse section remain in

in.

a plane section, and since the inclination of the plane of the

dy
section to the vertical

dm, reckoned
its

is

ax

if

r;

be the ordinate of a particle

from

(as in Art. 173) in the plane of the section

horizontal principal axis, the angular velocity of the plane

being

(---^{m

velocity of

therefore

dm

its

the direction of positive rotation), the linear

(estimated from right to

left)

resistance to acceleration (in the

is

ry

same

>

and

direction) is

f] {-r^ 1- dm, and the moment of this resistance, with its


^d/y ^^
d ^dy
proper sign, is l^i-j-) -t" ^^- Now, considering dm as the'

mass of an element of an

infinitesimal slice,

hence the above momerit

we have dm = pdoidx;

is

d^y

and taking the sum of

we have

cPy

as the expression to be

must put
^

as"

such moments for the whole

slice,

d\

<,

substituted for

ptaLdx.

Hence we

d^y

K^ tV4-

Making

all

df-dx

instead of L.

these substitutions in (3)

we

obtain

the differential equation required ^.

^ See Klebsch, Theorie der Elasticitdt fester Korper,


6i, where this
equation (with a different notation) is deduced, as a particular case, from
the general theory of elastic solids.
The equation usually given in ele-

mentary works does not contain the term

/,

^,

which

arises

from the

angular motion of the sections of the rod. (See, for example, Poisson,
Traite de Mecanique, tom. ii. 5.)
It may in fact be neglected without
sensible error in ordinary cases.

Differential Equation of

174
178. This

may be

put in a somewhat more convenient form

as follows

Put

q^T=

T^a^p, and

b'^p,

it

becomes

(In order to see the homogeneity of this equation

meanings of a and

sirable to observe the

Tim

b.

it

and p the actual density, in the axis of the rod.


would have to be applied to the rod

tension,

the tension which

natural state in order to double

tension held

good without

its

length,

Tm

Hence

limit.

if

is

de-

the actual

is

qui is

in its

the law of ex-

and

qua are forces,

and can be represented by weights, say by the weights of


Then
lengths A and A' of the rod, taken at its actual density p.
To) =gp\(o, qo) =^pA'a), and therefore
so that

a^,

are the half squares of the velocities which would

be acquired by a heavy body

A + A'.

Hence a and

falling vertically

b are of

down

one dimension

distances A,

in space

and i

in time.)

179. In order to find particular integrals of (6') we assume


j/

= cos

u and V being functions of

/+z;sm

to be determined.

Substituting this value ofj/ in (6'),

the form

y,
6/

in

which 17 and

the equation

V do

cos

^.

we

K /+ Fsm K
^

not contain

we must have

(7)

/,

find

an equation of

/=o,

so that in order to satisfy

separately

17=0,
V=o.
These equations are exactly similar in form, and we
need only consider one of them. The first is

^'^'.^-(-^^)&-"=-.

therefore

()

which, being linear with constant coeflScients, can be integrated


in the usual way.

The

general solution

is

Motion formed and


where

>S k^^ k^,

k"

making

+ {m'-a')k''- ^

= o

(9)

-^^ {a^-m" {{a'-m'')^ + ^mH^)i}.

We may represent
and,

i "j^

k^ are the roots of the equation

K'bH''

which gives

integrated.

(9')

the four values of k in the form

for convenience a

change in the meaning of the

D, we may put the

constants A, B, C,

values of u and

z;

in

the form

u=

\-

B
2

+C
z'

+n

= a similar expression with

c\

different

A\ B\

constants, say

ly.

180. Introducing these values of u and v in


value of J/, which

is

a particular integral of

the constants, including

all

(10)

so if we had
we have also

only to satisfy

/,

But

obtain a
in

problem
and these con-

in every actual

to satisfy the terminal conditions

ditions lead to

we

and

which
and would remain

are arbitrary,

(6').

(7),

(6'),

an equation of which the roots are the only

admissible values of ^, besides other equations which partly


*

determine the constants A^ B, &c.

Before investigating these conditions however in particular


cases,

we

of

k'^

we
we

is

will

examine more

call

shall

the positive value a^

k=

of ^; and thus

the negative value

yS^,

it

is

then

^V 1

we may put

(10) in the form

+ Ccos^x-\-D%m^x,

\-B
2

which

and

have

k= aj

in

nature of the four

k.

for the four values

u=

closely the

Since the last term of (9) is negative, one value


necessarily positive, and the other negative.
Suppose

values of

(11)

important to remember that

functions of w, given
to be determined.

by

(9),

a,

while the value of

are determinate

itself

has

still

Case of Fixed

176

We

181.

now

will take

Ends of Axis.

the case which

some

in

is

respects

the most simple, namely, that in which the ends of the axis

of the rod are fixed, but the terminal faces are subject to no

(The tension T^ which must be supposed

other constraint.

be applied to them on every unit of surface,


This case

the directions of the faces free.)

because

terest,

mined by

Now
on

stretching

at both

referring to the terminal equation (4) (Art. 176)

now made we must

the suppositions

we

see

o,

and

put G^ =

d^y

ends of the rod.

(The equation

(5) gives

no condition.

to determine the value of the pressijre

would merely serve

F^tja

deter-

is

over bridges.

it

consequently

It

of practical in-

is

taken to represent that of a wire

a pianoforte string) of which the vibrating part

(e. g.

that

may be

it

to

will evidently leave

supported by the point to which the end of the axis

is

fixed.)

But the

fixity

of the ends of the axis gives us two

more

conditions, namely,
j/

=o

We

have then to put in (7) the value (11) for ,


and a similar value for v^ with A\ B' &c. instead of ^, B, &c,.,
at both ends.

and then express

the conditions that

y^o
both

when x =

and

= o,

and when j; = /, for all values of /. These


.a; = o, give, as will be easily found,

conditions, relatively to

A + C = o,
which

it is

are

o,

impossible to satisfy otherwise than by

C = o,

A=o,
The

^'+C'

conditions relatively to

.;r

A' = o,

C" =

/ thus

become

ea/^^-a^
4--Z?sin/g/=o,
2
(d

o?B

cai

/3Z>sini3/=o,

o.

simplified,

and

Y
Final Equation in

this Case.

with similar equations for B" and If,

177

These give

Z>sin/3/=o;

0,

now

the factor multiplied

by

Bi

=0,

cannot vanish, since a

real.

is

Hence we must have

^ = 0,
Hence

and If remain

sin^/=o.

arbitrary, while

^ must

satisfy the

equation sin/3/ = o, which gives

182.
to

The

y = sm^x(l)cos
in

now reduced

values of , v (see equation (11)) are

= Z) sin j3;t;, v = If sin ^x, and therefore from (7)

mt
f-

which 3 may have any of the


all

to each value of

corresponds a value of

by putting

k"^

ticular values

values to the integer

of values

from

we have

for

to 00

m obtained

Hence, taking the sum of

/3^.

of J/,

infinite series

obtained by giving
/3

mt^

-^ sin

all

and

from (9)
the par-

the general solution of (6')

appropriate to this problem

^ = 2,=i sm-^(Qcos-^-+Z>.sm^);

(12)

where Q, D^ are arbitrary constants in the usual sense, that is,


depend only on initial displacements and velocities. (It will be
easily seen that

it

is

useless to include negative values of

since m^ (see next article) only depends

183. Solving equation (9) for m^,


ductions,

and

m^ _

a^

k'

b'^

on

we

/,

i"^^

find,

after

slight

re-

k^
^

since, for real values of

/3,

the above formula gives


m,^
c2

P-n''
/^

Po' +

Pti'^kH''

P-\-P'u''k^

(13)

Application

378

Now

to

Metallic Wire.

(12) shews that the vibration

compounded of simple

is

harmonic vibrations of which the periods are the values of


or the number of vibrations, in a unit of time, of the i^

ponent tone,

m *

is

CalUng

this

number

n^,

we have from

com(13),

2'7rK

This shews that in general the component tones do not belong


to a harmonic scale

^.

184. Let us however examine some special cases.


If

we suppose

The

together.

we may

the rod infinitely thin

d^

neglect k al-

then reduces

differential equation (6')

itself to

,^

the ordinary equation for a perfectly flexible string; and (14)


gives ^ =

But

we

if

finitely thin,
will

this

the value found before.

consider the rod as very thin, without being in-

so that

is

a very small fraction, the value (14)

be applicable to the case of a metallic string or wire.


case,

neglecting the square of

and

In

assuming

the

section of the wire to be a circle with radius r, so that }^ = \r^.

we

ia

find

hence

if

we put

= N^

Pir' r^

(the

number of

vibrations calculated

the supposition of infinite thinness or perfect

put for

b'^

and

a^ their values (Art. 178),

flexibility'^),

on

and

we have

^ The process which has been given in Arts. 179-183 is substantially


the same as that of Klebsch, 61.
^ Strictly speaking, the supposition of infinite thinness ought to be distinguished from that of perfect flexibility.
can imagine a thick string
of which only the central infinitely thin axis should resist extension or contraction.
Such a string might be regarded as perfectly flexible. But the

We

Correction for Rigidity.

which gives what

is

called the correction for rigidily.

may be

This correction

179

form thus: from

in another

put

(14) we have
'c^,,

2/v

,Ai
+ ?*'^^^-^(^^-2))

^2

so that for a given value of


order, the

number of

that

is,

a tone of given

for

may be

flexible,

by

substituting for

calculated as

thus added

is

Ta

if

the string were perfectly

fictitious

tension

sensibly independent of T, since

actual length between the bridges)

is

constant,

and r

be supplied by a weight W, then

W = T(o.

Suppose

weight which would double the length of the string


extension
fictitious

weight

good

held

indefinitely,

then

/ (the

sensibly

is

If the tension

moderate variations of T.

invariable, at least for

any actual

vibrations corresponding to

tension

The term

1,

nearly

Q^q<a.

if

is

the

the law of

Hence

the

weight to be substituted in calculation for the actual

is

W\-P'^^Q.
4/-

It

would be

difficult

to calculate the value of the

added term
^

a priori, because the values of the very small


the very large weight

accuracy;

but

it

is

inertia of the outer parts

ratio f-y j

and of

could hardly be obtained with sufficient

easily ascertained experimentally

would introduce the term


dfdx'
d^y
,

.,

by com-

in the differential

equation, though the term -^ , which arises from the resistance of the outer
parts to extension or contraction, would disappear.
But the strings used
for musical purposes never approximate to this character, though the converse arrangement is common,
wire upon a silk core.

e. g.

in guitar strings

made by winding

fine

Case of no Tension.

i8o

The

paring the tones produced by two different weights.

corresponding to other values of

and they are found on

tones

can then be calculated,

agree very exactly with those

trial to

actually produced.

We

185.
still

next suppose that, the ends of the axis being

will

fixed, the distance

rod, so that

between them

T=o', hence a =

where

o,

b^

is

the natural length of the

and (14) becomes

= --

P
In

this case, since k is small, the values

values of

bers

/,

i^, 2^,

4th, gth^

tones

The

&c., so that the

3'',

are, for

Thus

the

first

one octave and a major second above the

supposition

(e. g.

possible to

moderate

numi^t,

and the

first

now made may be approximately

which the simplest consists

the

of the upper

two octaves above the fundamental tone

is

several ways, of

a rod

component tones are

&c. of a harmonic scale.

is

second

of

sensibly proportional to the series of square

&c.

realized in

in merely laying

a bar of steel) upon two bridges placed as close as


its

ends.

instead of merely supposing the ends of the axis


the planes of the terminal faces of the
rod to be fixed, then, instead of the simple formula (13) which
gives the values of m, we should have found a very complicated
transcendental equation.
The same thing happens if one
terminal face be fixed and the other entirely free, or if both be
In the two latter cases this equation is always
entirely free.

186.

fixed,

If,

we had supposed

somewhat
fore

the term

generally

duce

by the circumstance that Z =


becomes much more simplified

simplified

a^o.

But
"^

it

in the

do without

differential

sensible error.

this simplification in

what

o,
if

and

we

equation, which

We

there-

neglect

we may

shall therefore intro-

follows.

187. Since the differential equation was founded on the


hypothesis that the particles which in the undisturbed state are
in a plane at right angles to the axis continue to be so at all
times, if a terminal face of the rod be fixed, the axis at that

end

Simplified Differential Equation.


must always be
itself is fixed,

at right angles to

we must

it

and as the end of the

i8i
axis

have, at that end,

dy

These
But

therefore are the terminal conditions for a fixed face.

a terminal face be entirely free, we must obtain the


conditions from equations (4) and (5) (Art. 176).
Now, at a free end, G^ (or G^ and F^ (or F^ are both o.
Also Z, in (5), arises (see Art. 177) from the angular motion of
the planes of the elementary slices, the effect of which we are
now going to neglect ; hence these equations give
if

terminal

d'^y

d^y

~d^~^'

dx^

as the terminal conditions at a free end.


have already seen that the conditions are

We

d'^y

at

an end where only the extremity of the axis

is

fixed, so that

the direction of the plane of the face is free.


There are altogether six possible combinations, of which

we

have already considered one. Of the remaining five we shall


only examine the three which are of most importance, namely,
both faces fixed, both free, one fixed and the other free.
188. The equation (6'),
a = o (since we suppose

if

we omit

T= o),

To

the second term and put

becomes

find particular solutions of this equation,

we may con-

veniently assume

Kb

Kb

y = ucosj^m^t-\-v^m-j^m^i]
which
and

(16)

be functions of x, I is the length of the


to be determined.
Substituting this
value oiy in (15), we find that in order to satisfy that equation
for all values of /, we must have
in

rod,

, v are to

constant

'd^ ^ T""'

lb? ^ T'"'

The general solution of the


evidently be written in the form

first

of these equations

may

Ends

Case of doth

1 82

mx

mx

^
A cos-y +Bsinj-

u=

mx

mx

inx

+C
and V

free,

+ /5

tnx
^

(.7)

be given by a similar equation, with other constants

will

A\ B\ C, D\
It will save

much

trouble to adopt the following abbreviated

notation.

L2:1_

Let

Then we

i_-l_=8(^).

(t((9),

shall evidently have,

= (r(-a),

o-(^)

^(o) =

8(^)=_8(_^),

^a{n0) = nb{nd),

o,

(r(o)=i,

~b{ne)

= ncr{nd).

189. Thus the equation (17) becomes


.

u = Acos

mx

and we have now

mx ^ /mx\ ^./mx\
_
+^sm-^- +C(r{^)+ Db{^);
.

to find the values of the constants

each case.
First, then, let us suppose both ends entirely
ditions (see Art. 187) are

(18)

which

will

satisfy the terminal conditions in

both

dx'~^'
when x = o and when

satisfied for all values

of

/, it

free.

The con-

dx^'""'

x = l\

is

and since these are to be


evident that we must have

d^u

d^v

d^u

(^v

d^^""'

d^^""'

^^''

d^^""'

Putting then x =
and x = I successively in the values of
these differential coefficients deduced from (18) and from the
corresponding expression for v, we find (for ^ = o)

-^ + C=o,

-^ + Z> = o;

so that

(cos

- + .(_))+ 5(sm^+8());

and then the conditions

relative to

Jt:

= / become

A[ co^7?i + a{m))-{-B(^ ?,mm-'tb{m)) = o,')


a\

sin/^z

+ 8(w)) + ^(-cosw + o-(z7^))

= o;3

^'^^

Case of Fixed Terminal Faces.

183

A and -5, we have


cos vif = (b(m)ysin'^m

from which, eliminating


(o- (2)

now, by the definition of o-(w) and


hence

(()),

equation becomes

this

a{??i)cosm =

or

1,

+ ~

^cosw=i.

(20)
^

'

The
if

;
and
roots of this equation are the admissible values of
we denote them by m^, m^, &c., and call A^, B^ the corre-

sponding values oi A, B, either of the equations (19) gives the


ratio

We may therefore

A^: B..

take

Ai= Q(sinw, a(w,.)),


B.^ -Ci(cosm--(T(mi)),
where C-

Thus we

arbitrary.

is

Ui

+ a (^))

^(cos^,-<tK)) (sinS^f

+a(^));

(sin

v^^D^Xp

m,-t

where

(,)

is

(cos

(2,)

another arbitrary constant.


The
the sum of all particular values,

then be
J/

and

Z>^ is

general value of y, which


will

have from (18)

where

X, =

and

shall

= C^X^y

= 2Z,(C,cos'i^///+Z?,sin'^ ;//);

this is the

(22)

equation expressing the vibration of a rod free at

both ends.

The

constants

ments and

Q, D^
in

velocities,

are determined

by the

initial

displace-

a manner which will be explained

afterwards.

190. If instead of supposing the ends of the rod entirely


we suppose both the terminal faces entirely fixed, the
terminal conditions are (Art. 187)

free,

1/

= o,

dy
^^ =

ax

and when x = /.
Assuming then (16) and (18) as

both when

o,
'

and proceeding
same equation (20) for

before,

exactly as in the last Article, we find the


the determination of the values of ?n-, but

Case of Permanent Tension,

184

2r,.(Qcos-^w//+Asin^2//),

and

j;

where

F^ = (sin

m^b

{m^)) (cos -^

^ (cos mi-cr{m;))

(sin

Comparing the expressions

(23)

^(~7~))

-b

(22), (23),

( ))

we

see that the

(24)

com-

ponent tones have the same pitch, whether the terminal faces
be both free or both fixed. For the values of m^ are the roots
of the same equation (20) in both cases, and the number of
vibrations in a unit of time, for the tone of the

t'^'^

order, is

Kb

m,^

The constant h depends (Art. 178) only on the material of


which the rod is made, and m-^ is an abstract number, independent both of material and dimensions. Hence, when the
material

is

given, the

number of

vibrations, for a tone of given

order, varies inversely as the square of the length of the rod,

about
plane of vibration.
If the section is elliptic or rectangular, then k is simply proportional to the thickness measured in the plane of vibration.

and

directly as the radius of gyration of the sectional area

that diameter

which

is

at right angles to the

was supposed that both the terminal


was no permanent tension, so
that the natural length of the axis was maintained.
The supposition of permanent tension, with fixed terminal
191. In the last Article

it

faces were fixed, but that there

much more complicated equations, but they may


be treated in an approximate manner in the only case of
practical importance, namely, that in which the thickness of the
rod is very small compared with its length. The result may
then be considered as giving the correction for rigidity for a
wire, or for a long and thin lamina, not stretched over bridges,
but firmly clamped at the ends.
faces, leads to

We may
in Arts.

take in this case the equations (7), (9), and (it), as

179 and 180.

But we

shall

suppose the term

in (6') to be neglected, so that instead of (9')

form

2 ? b^W-

<22

(a*

+ 4 ni^h')^

we

get the simpler

Application
and

Wire with Clamped Ends,

to

therefore, since o?

and

/3^

are the

two values of

k'^,

185

we may

write the value of o? thus

will be given by changing


of the numerator.

and ^^

in the case of a metallic wire or lamina,

number
is

inn

into

(see Art. 178), since

very small

is

is

q/

is

is

a large

But

q.

and the legitimacy of the following approxi^2


j^ is so

mation depends upon the assumption that

small compared with

the last "term

IP-

Now

+1

From

also very small.

this

assumption

it

small that
follows that

very large, since a^/^ is expressed by a fraction in which


is > 2 and the denominator is the small fraction

the numerator

Now

-^ =

the terminal conditions are_>/ = o,

and from

these,

equation (11)

o, at

both ends

proceeding as in Art. 189, we find from


A-\-C = o,
aB-\-^D = o,

A <T{al)-^ Bb {al)-h Ccos 131+ sin 131 = 0,


a{Ab{al) + B(T{al))-{-^{Dcosl3l-Csm^i) = o;
and hence, eliminating A, B, C, D, and reducing by means
of the identity (o-(a/))2_(g(a/))2 =

5(a/)sin^/

i,

we

find, finally,

,.

2a(3 _
'

i-a(al)cos(3ra''-^^
and

in this equation the values of

if

a and

13

given above were

we should

obtain an equation in 7n, of which the


roots would be the values ofm^^, m^, &c.
Now the values of a^, fi^ give, as will be found at once without

introduced,

,.^

difficulty,

neglecting

aS
^

^
e-^,

mb

(r(a/)

becomes

Also,

is

very large,

we

have,

= 6(a/) = Je+^, and the equation (w)

Je'^^sin^/
I

smce a/

j^C0S/3/

2mb
= 0;

Application

1 86

or, e-^^

Wire with Clamped Ends,

to

being again neglected,

-^.

tani3/=

Now

the value of

gives

/3*

/^^-

nearly

(by developing the binomial as

//3

Ka

second term)

far as the

hence

nearly.
VI

But the number of vibrations

in a unit of time is

and

2 TTK

since the case differs very


string, this

very

little

from

2mb

r =
and

number

tan

z'tt,

or /3/ =
-

p/ = tan Q

+ 0,

is

^,

from

,5

where Q

is

an

infinitely thin

so that

very small
1

we may take

differs

hence

mb

- =

y,

2?;/<5

^l=ni-\-

and, equatmg this to

or,

/ir

from

little

J
very small; and

therefore

little

very

differs

that of

^;

we have

introducing the subscript index to distinguish the different

values of w.

Let

n.

/th tone,

be the number of vibrations, in a unit of time, of the

and

iV^ the

infinite thinness

Ni

number

calculated

on

the supposition of

then
= -i

and

n.

hence

Comparing this with the corresponding expression deduced


184 on the supposition that the directions of the terminal

in Art.

faces were free,

viz.

Case of one Fixed End.


we

187

see that they differ essentially, especially in this respect, that

in the case {n) oi fixed faces the pitch of all the component
tones is raised, by the rigidity, through the same interval, so

do not cease to form a harmonic series whereas


other case (') each tone is raised through a greater
interval than the next lower one, and the series is therefore no
longer strictly harmonic.
An expression equivalent to (), and obtained by nearly the
same process, was given by Seebeck\ and found by him to
agree with experiment when the ends of the wire were clamped.
In the case of a wire stretched over bridges, the form (')
has been found to agree with experiment, in the manner
mentioned at the end of Art. 184. But the deviation of the
upper tones from the harmonic scale is probably too small
that they

in the

to

be made sensible to the

is
is

The

ear.

of the cases which we proposed to examine


that in which one terminal face (suppose that at which x ^<S)
fixed and the other free.
The conditions then are (Art. 187)
192.

last

y = 0,

when

.^^3=0,

when

^y

d'y

o,

0,

jt:

=L

o,

Again then, assuming (16) and (18), we find


A + C = o, B-\-D = o, and then

in the first

place

A (cos m-\-<T {ni))-\- (sin m-\-h {m) ) = o,


A (sin in h {m)) B{cosm-{-(T{m}) = o;
eliminating A and B we obtain, after reduction,
(J

{m)cosm = I,

or

cosz=-i
as the equation for determining the values of

take

A, = Ci (sin m, + 8

so that the value

ofy

(m^)

will

which Cp D^ are

^^ =

and we may

- Q (cos m. + a (m^))

be

^ = 2Zi(C,cos!^
in

),

(25)

</+i),sin'^/.V);

arbitrary,

and

See the memoir referred to below (Art. 205).

(26)

Periods of Tones

i88
Z, =

(sin

(cos^-a(^)

m,^h {mi)

-(cos/, + ,rK))(sin^-8(^)).

(27)

Since the equation (25) is not the same as (20), the periods
of the component tones will not be the same as in the two
former cases. But the law of their variation with the length
and sectional area of a rod of given material is still the same as
that stated at the end of Art. 190.
193. To complete the solution of the problems considered
in Arts. 187-192, we should have first to find the roots of the
equations (20) and (25), which determine the periods of the
component tones, and then to find the values of x which satisfy
the equations Xi = 0, Y^ = o, for each root of (20), and Z^ = o
for each root of (25), in order to ascertain the positions of the
nodes corresponding to each tone. The required calculations,
for small values of
which belong to the most important tones,
are troublesome
especially those which relate to the nodes.
And we shall only give a sufficient specimen of them to enable
the reader, who may be so disposed, to verify the results which
will be given below.
First, then, we have to find the values of- w^, which are the
roots of the two equations (see (20) and (25)),
z',

cos.;t=+i:

(28)

'

where the upper sign corresponds to the case of both ends


fixed or both free, and the lower to that of one fixed and the
other
It

free.
is

evident

on inspection

equation (28), then 7n and


observing that

co^{m6) =
cos {7716

that

V i) = a

771

{7716),

be any root of either


are

also roots;

now

a (7716) = a{m6)f

co% niO,

Sm{ 7710) = sm77i6,


sin {7710

if

+m Vi

a{77i6

Vi) = cos77i6),

h{ 77ld)= b{77ld),

V^) = \/^T. b (mO),


6(+w^'/ 1)= +>/ i.sinz^^,

we

see,

on examining the forms of the functions X^, V^, Z^,


one of the four values 771^,

that the effect of changing any

m^Vi

into

any

other, will in

every case be merely to

found

in two Cases.

189

and
multiply the function by one of the factors+ i,+ \/ i
given by the
consequently all the four terms in the value oi
four roots can be united into one term of the form (22), (23),
or (26), according to the case in question. It is therefore only
;

necessary to consider the positive real roots of (28).


194. The position of the roots of (28) may be most clearly
If we draw the curve
exhibited by a graphic construction.
of which the equation is

y=
it

will cut the positive axis

cos^,
of

at distances
>

<KC.

and the distances from the

axis ofj/ at which


be the positive roots of (28).
The curve itself will consist of a series of unsymmetrical waves,
of which the amplitudes increase without limit. In Fig. 2, the

from the

it

origin,

cuts the

two

lines j/

+1

will

"^

Pj

A\

Pi

P3

It'.2

Fig.

2.

hues PPi,
-^3 represent portions of the curve in^2'
cluded between the lines j/ = i, so that Pp^, Pp<^ are two
roots corresponding to the upper sign in (28), and QP^^ QP^j
QP^ are three roots corresponding to the lower sign.
Since

increases indefinitely with Xj

it

is

evident that

(28) requires

+cosjt: to diminish indefinitely with x, so that


i the values of m^ must approximate without

for large values of


limit to

+ (2 + i) 2"

At the points A, B^ C,

&c.,

where

Periods of Tones

190

found

two Cases,

222

dy

the values of

^^^ alternately negative

numerically without

Hence

limit.

and

positive, increasing

the roots corresponding to the

upper sign are alternately greater and

than

less

and those corresponding

22

77

and

less

than-j

&c.

On

the scale to which the fiofure

drawn, the portion of curve /a-^s


from the ordinate at C,

We

will

&c.,

to the lower sign alternately greater

377
j

now shew how

is

quite undistinguishable

is

to calculate the values of

QP^, QP^-i

pp..
195. Suppose that in either of the equations
cos j; = "~
-f

we have found an approximate


assuming

m+a

Developing

this,

value of x, say

as the true value,

^va.

+ I.
_

and neglecting powers of a above the

find (using the notation explained in Art.

If the value

m+a

thus found

is

(29)

first,

188)

cosm.o-(m)+i
(m) cos m
sm m.o- (m) \i\

a=-

Then

we have

cos(m
+ a)/ =
\

we

not sufficiently exact, then

it

must be assumed as an approximation, and the process repeated,


and so on as often as may be necessary.
We will take as an example the case of the fundamental tone
of the rod with one end fixed. We then have to find the least
positive root of (28), taking the lower sign
and we have seen
;

77

(Art.

194)

that this

is

somewhat

greater than

then
(29),
^

X ^-\-a

as a

first

we have

approximation, and putting

0.398 nearly

'

Assuming

Assuming
77

77

therefore
.r

= -4-0.398

+ 0,

m=- m
.

Numerical
we

shall find the value

Results.

191

of a by putting

m = - + 0.398
This gives

in (29) (taking the lower sign in the numerator).


a = 0.089 and .r = 1.88 nearly.

The

next approximation gives


.^tr

which

is sufficiently

= 1.8751,

accurate.

196. For the higher tones of the rod with one end fixed, and
rod with both ends fixed or both free,
The following are the results
the approximation is more rapid.
for all the tones of the

in the

two cases

II.

I.

One end

m^
m^
W3

fixed

and one

Both ends

free.

fixed or

1.8751

4.7300

4.6940
7.8548
10.9955

10.9957

both

free.

78532
14-1372.

^4
For still higher tones the formula
Mi ^{21

=P

i)-

may

be used without sensible error, the upper sign belonging to


I. and the lower to case II.
The numbers of vibrations, being proportional to the values
of m^, are, for the higher tones, sensibly proportional to the
squares of the odd numbers.
197. To find the interval between any two tones we may
proceed as in the following example. The interval between the
fundamental tone and the first upper tone, of the rod with one

case

(4.6940\^

logarithm

is

is

of which

and observing that log 6 = 0.77815,


Now
equal to 6 x 1.0445 nearly.

0.79704

find that this ratio

1.0445 =

the

we

+^^&c.,

of which the first three convergents are Tjlf^lij hence r.0445


exceeds ff by a fraction less than -g^-^,
interval is therefore a very little less than

6xff = txfxff.

Position of Nodes investigated.

192

It follows that

and the

the interval

interval (f f )

is

is

= two octaves + fifth + (f f ) nearly


less than f t^^s of a diatonic semi-

little

tone, for (^f )^ = 1^ nearly.


Hence, if the fundamental tone were C, the

would be

than b ' by a

flatter

first

upper tone

more than a quarter of a

little

diatonic semitone^.

In this way we find the following to be the first four tones of


a rod in the two cases, supposing the fundamental tone in each
case to be C.
II.

I.

One end

fixed

and one

Both ends

free.

free or

sign

fixed.

f^

\>d'"

The

both

signifies

the

that

and the sign that


tone indicated by the letter.

sharper,

it

sound is somewhat
somewhat flatter, than the

actual

is

We find also that the ratio of the interval between the fundamental tone of a rod with one end fixed, and of the same rod
with both ends free or fixed, is 6x1.106 nearly so that the interval is a very little less than two octaves -f- fifth + minor second.
Thus, if the fundamental tone were C in the first case, it would
be a little flatter than a in the second.
;

198.

We

shall

now shew how

the nodes in the several cases,

rod with one end

to determine the position of

and we

will take first that

of the

fixed.

Referring to equations (26), (27), (Art. 192), we see that


node j/ = o for all values of /, the values of x, or the
distances of the nodes from the fixed end, must be in this case
roots of the equation Z^ = o, namely, those positive roots which
are less than /.
since at a

^
more systematic way of defining a small interval is to assign its ratio
to the semitone of the equal temperament,' which is the twelfth part of an
An interval of which
octave, and which we may call the ' mean semitone.'
'

^ ean
loff

r contains

the ratio

is

contains

TVlog2

semitones.

Thus

the interval (1.0445)

'

=0*787 such semitones


'

nearly.

(See Art. 23.)

'

The octave contains 10.74 diatonic semitones nearly; and the mean
semitone is about 0.89 diatonic semitones. (Compare the table of intervals
on

p. 27.)

Nodes

Position of

investigated,

This equation (subscript indices being omitted)


/

(sinzw

^/ NX
o(?))

(cos

-(cosz + o-(2))^sin^-8(^)) =
which

in

{m^ of
\,

a determinate root

? is

is

/mx\\
^\i~))

^-^
^

193

o,

(30)

the equation

<j{in)co?>m =

(31)

The equation (30) may be transformed as follows


From (31) we have o-(/7z.) = secw^, and therefore

Now we

have seen (Art. 194) that m^

(2/* i)- according as i


{i

is

greater or less than

odd or even, so

is

that

we may

put

= o being excluded)

^< =

where

a^ is

(2

'-i)^ -(-)*<,

a small positive quantity, which diminishes in-

definitely for increasing values of

Hence cosm^

/.

always negative, and sin;^ has the same

is

sign as

sin(2/ i)-,

^{m^)

necessarily positive,

is

(32)

b (m>i

that

)*

is,

Y^^

Consequently, since

we must have

tan m^ = cos

it:

tan m^

and therefore
sin

m.

cosmi

4-

h (m.)

sin m.

+ a{m-)

+ cos

cos

2*77

cos m^ + cos iir

tan m^

m^ sec m^

sin

= -cot

w^

+ sin

2*77

nh' + Z*77
;

and (30)

is

therefore

easily

seen to become (indices being

omitted)

/mx
mx
cos

(-7

m+

77Z-t-Z77\
2TT\

/mx\

m-\-ii:

^)-n-r)<=^

mx\ m-\-ii:
= o;
_8(_)s.n_.

which

is

reducible,

cos^ + sin^=

by means of the

V2,sm(Q + -\

identities

cos0 sin^= ^/l.cos(6

+ -\

of Nodes

Positio7i

194
to the

investigated.

form

m + ti:^

/mx

,-

V 2. cost
^ I

e^

/in-\-i'n

sin

ttx

h-)
4>'

ntx

-6
Now

removed

the origin of abscissae be

let

axis of the rod,

C0S(-^ +-j = 0.

to the middle of the

by writing x-{-~ instead of x, so

that

now mean

the distance of a node from the middle point.


above equation then becomes

/mx

/-

iTT\

/m + tTT

(.30)

will

The

7r\

m + zir

IT

^+7) =0.(33)

Now

from equation

(31),

which

is

= seem.

we

and subtracting

get (by adding

^(2+

i)

= secmsin^

'^y
nt

J(e2 e
and

since sec vi

have

the

is

2 )2

_ sec 2 cos

always negative, whilst the sine and cosine of

same

signs as the sine

and cosine of (22*

i)

(as is evident

from (32)), these equations give

c2

+e

/
TT
M
V sec/.sm sm(2z i)->

(2

_e

V secw

cos

cos(22 i)-;
4
2

and thence, by addition and subtraction,

e2

V seczw.cosi\

+-)
224

V sec m

m
.

cos

V 2

J./

it:

7r>

A/j

Position of Nodes investigated.

195

Introducing these values in (33), and observing the identities


sin ^ cos

= 4

(|)

(sin (^

cos^cos(/> = J(cos(^

we

find, after

(/))

obvious reductions,

V2 cos(

but from (32)

+ + sin (^ </>)),
+ 0) + cos(^ <|))),

it is

+ I \/ cosw.(e

cosztt) - o;

evident that

cos/w. =

sina^.;

hence the equation becomes

)+ J\/4 sin 0^.(6

cos(-^^^

"/"

/"coszV) =

0.

(34)

Another form is obtained from (33) by substituting for ;;/.,


under the sine and cosine in the last two terms, the value (32).
This will easily be found to give

V2.cos(
\

^^

199.
free,

To

'

+e

^^

^'\i

^/gjnio.

"^y

find the places of the

we have

(see Art.

189)

(smm b(m))
^

x\

COS

til

COS ^0^ = 0.

(34')

nodes when both ends are

to solve the equation

/
l^

^^
cos

/mxs.\

-^ +

o-

(^

(cos/;z o-(^2))( sin^ + 8( n = o:


in

which

is

a determinate root (m^) of the equation


(7

and

(Art.

(35)

{fn)

secm;

194),/= o being excluded,


2

a small positive quantity, which


definitely for increasing values of i.
In this case cos 7;^^. is always positive, and

where

/3^

is

proceeding as in the

last Article,

6 (m^)

we

= tan m^ cos
2

find
i'tt

also

diminishes

in-

^sin^^; and,

Position of N'ocies investigated.

196

b{m.)
+ ii:
=tan
cos m^ a {m^
sin

?n^

ftii

^^

= vsec/;z^cos(^

and

^"

JJJ

hence (35) becomes


4'

nix
e

smi
4

and, transferring the origin of abscissae to the middle point of


the axis as before, we obtain finally, instead of (34) and (340,
the two equations
ntiX

sin(-|
/-

)4-i>/isin^..(

/tn-x

V2sin(-^^
\

i'n\
)
^

wzY+i\

003/77) = o;

(37)

^
+ '\r^)%m\^.
.

~'"'\J'^i)cOSlTTCOS^fii = 0.

(37')

200. The equations (34) or (34') and (37) or (37') determine, in the two cases, the positions of the nodes for each
value of I, that is, for each component tone ; the value z = 1

The values
belonging to the fundamental tone in both cases.
^/and +4/ give the distances of the
of Ji: which lie between
nodes from the middle point.
The numerical values of m^ in the two cases have already
been given. The values of a^ ^^ are the differences (taken

positively)

between these numbers and the values of

and are as follows

TT

->
^

= 0-3043,
02-0.0184,
01
a,

__

(2 ?'+ 1)

= 0.0008,

^1 = 0,0176,
^2 = 0.0008,
ySg = 0.000 1.

(For values of z above 3, there is no significant figure in the first


four decimal places.)
201. We will first consider the case of the rod free at both
ends, which is the simpler of ihe two.
It is evident that equation (37) is satisfied by .r = o when
z is even; and that, in all cases, if x^ be a root, then
.r' is a

root also.

Position of

Nodes

investigated.

197

Hence

the nodes are symmetrically distributed with respect


might be foreseen a priori) and when
even, that is, for the 2nd, 4th <fec. component tones, there is

to the middle point, as


i

is

a node at the middle point.


P'or values of / not greater than 3, the actual numerical
values of m^ and ft must be introduced, and the equation (37)
or (37') solved by approximation.
Since the second term of (37) is essentially positive, the first
term must be negative
and from this condition it may be
shewn (but more easily by making a graphic construction for
one or two particular cases) that the number of roots between
\l and J/, that is, the number of nodes, is i-\- 1. Thus the
fundamental tone has two nodes, &c. (see Art. 205).
For greater values of /, it is evident on inspection of the
values of ft given in Art. 200, that the second term of (37) will
;

DC

be insignificant when

'y

numerically small.

is

Hence,

for the

higher component tones, and for nodes not near the ends of the
rod, the values of x will be such as make the first term vanish, or

m-X
n being an integer

and putting

77

value (2z'+ i)- for m^,

Thus

.77

we

in this equation the

get

2i+i

2n

the nodes which are not near the ends are distributed at

any two con-

sensibly equal distances, the interval between


secutive nodes beiner

202. But
the ends,
will

approximate

r
21+1

for values

/.

of / greater than

we may proceed

when x

be insignificant

3,

and

The

as follows.

nodes near
term of (37')

for

last

is

positive,

and - not a small

fraction.
In the second term we may put for sin
proximate value derived from the equation

=
a (Wi)
*'

sec m^ =

(see Art. 199),

-.

smft.

which gives

sm ft. =

2 6"^t

|-

ft-

an ap-

Position of Nodes investigated.

198

(the square of C"''" being neglected),

and therefore

i^i = e-s
Hence the second term of (37') becomes
X nti
sin

since ^^

is

very small.

mi-

and

if

in this term

we
(2

put the approximate value

+ i)-

for

the equation becomes


/TTliX
V 2 sm -~
/

ITT \

Now

+e

7- = ^,

let

o.

then

/2sin^

4;

{38)

have a determinate series of positive


and this equation
roots, say B^, 3-2, -, Sj,---, which can be found by approximation.
The values of x will then be given by the equation
will

or, if

;;z^

be replaced by

its

approximate value,

Xj

iV 2^.

This formula gives the distances, from the middle point, of

And we know

the nodes towards the positive end.

that the

nodes in the negative half of the rod are respectively


same distances from the middle point.
It is easily found (by roughly drawing the two curves

at the

IT

y=
that,

a/2 sin x,

for increasing

and

j/

[J

1)17;

values of/, ^^ tends rapidly

to

become

so that the above expression for -y- tends to assume

the same form as that given in Art. 201 for nodes near the
middle.
The numerical results will be given below. (Art. 205.)
203. When one end of the rod is fixed, the nodes are not
symmetrically distributed, and the positions of those near the
two ends must be found separately. For values of 2 not greater

Nodes

Position of

investigated,

199

than 3, the equation (34) or (34') must be solved by approximation, after the numerical values of a^ have been introduced.
for greater values of

But
for

and

/,

may

nodes not near the ends), we

we then

of (34), and
of Art. 201),

find

from which

it

2-1

is,

neglect the second term


at the end

i {2n-\-\)

T"

(that

same way as

the

(in

Xj

X
-

for small values of

'

follows that, near the middle, the interval between

any two consecutive nodes

sensibly equal to

is

2/
-.

and

when i is odd (being greater than 3) one node (namely,


the middle node, if the fixed end be reckoned as one) is sensibly
at the middle of the rod.

that

free end, since

For nodes near the

X
-

is

positive,

we may

neglect the last term in (34'); and in the second term we may
introduce the approximate value of a^ derived from the equa-

198)

tions (Art.

o"

{vi^

sec m^,

cos m^ =

give approximately (as

which
Art. 202)

sin |a<

so that (34O

is

the corresponding equations in


-"**;

reduced to

/-

or, since w,-

sin a^

/m.X

2*77

mi

= {21 i)- approximately (see (32)),


2

V2C0s(-^^
so that,

if

if

+ e^

tV
^

IT

4=0;

we put
/TT

m^x

*/

we have
and

we

2.

cos ^ -f

4=0;

call Q^^Q^^. ., 6j, ... the roots

tir

0,,

or

of this equation, then

Position of Nodes investigated.

ijoo

'5

of/

for increasing values

it

is

easily seen that Q^ tends to be-

come (271)-.
204. For nodes near the fixed end x is negative, and therewhich is (see last Article) ap-

fore the second term of (34'),

proximately

is

m-^^

Neglecting

small.

and putting

it,

for

cos

in

the last

term,

we have

v2COS(^
or,

smce ^ =

24

and

if

'^

approximately,

we now put

m,x
the equation

is

it:

reduced to

V2C0S</) e
Let

2cosz7r = o;

<^i, </)2,

<^j-

4=0.

be the roots of

this last

equation

then

(41)
while, for increasing values of/,

(/>_,

tends to become

(2^+

1)77.

205. The following numerical results have been given by


Seebeck^, who, however, has treated the fundamental equations
(30) and (35) in a somewhat different manner.
Case I. (One end fixed and the other free.)
* In a memoir on the transverse vibrations of rods.
{Abhandlungen d.
Math. Phys. Classe d. K. Sachs. Gesellschaft d. Wissenschaften. Leipzig,

1852.)

2:

Theory of Transverse Vibrations completed. 201


Distances of nodes from the free end, the length of the rod
being taken as unity
2n<i

0.2261,

tone,

3rd

0.1321,

0.4999.

4th

0.0944,

0.3558,

.^^

The

last

4-9820

9-0007

4Z-2

42-2

4Z-2

row

in this table

may be

42

47-3
42-2

42-10-9993

4/-7-OI75

42 2

422

must be understood as meaning

that

taken as the distance of the -^j^ node from the

free end, except for the

Case

0.6439,

1-3222

first

three

and

last

two nodes.

(Both ends free.)


Distances of nodes from nearest end
ist

II.

tone,

0.2242,

2nd

0.1321,

0.5,

3rd

0.0944,

0.3558,

,-t,h

^32-^ 4-9820
42-H2

42'+2

9-0007
^
'

42'+

42'+

206. To complete the theory of the


a rod, it is necessary to shew how the
time during the motion, is determined
ments and velocities of its points.
On reference to Art. 179, &c. it will
cases which have been considered, the
the time / is of the form

J'

47-3

transverse vibrations of

form of the axis, at any


by the initial displacebe seen that in all the
equation to the axis at

= 2'.iri(^<cos./+^iSin^/);

(42)

which p 723,... w^,... are determinate constants, depending


upon the roots of an equation, in general transcendental, and u^
is a determinate function of x and of ^, which satisfies a
differential equation such as (8), in which the coefficients depend
(through m) upon n^. We shall consider only the case in which
there is no tension, so that = o, and shall also neglect, as
in

dP-u

before, the

term m^

-t-ttj

dx^

d*_y

which

arises

from the term

,,

dt^dx^

in

202

Theory of Transverse Vibrations completed.

(6'), introduced by taking account of the angular motion of the


transverse sections of the rod.

With
any two

simplification we may write equation (8) thus for


different roots of the transcendental equation referred

this

to above

which we only require

in which p^, p^ are two constants, of


know that they are different.

From

these equations

d^u.

we have
d'^Ui

Now if we multiply
X ==L the result is

by dx^ and integrate from

this

(Pi-Ph
for the first

to

^=o

to

dx = o\
/ ii

JO

two terms of the equation, multiplied by dx^ are

the differential of
d^u.
^ dx^

d^Ui

du-d'^u,

duz

dx^

dxdx"^

dx dx^

d'^u^

of which every term vanishes at both limits, on every supposition as to the terminal conditions.
(See Art. 187.)

wheny

It follows therefore that

is

from

different

I u^u^dx^Q,
but

(43)

uMx

i:-'
will

be a determinate constant, depending

Now

the

to be given,

initial

we

wherey {pc) and


for all values oi

have,

</>

upon/

displacements and velocities being supposed

when

{pc)

o,

are functions of which the value

from o to

2^,. =/(^),

/.

Hence, from

(42),

2^ B,u^ =

<#>

is

given

Torsion Vibrations,

303

and if these equations be multiplied by u^ dx, and integrated


from jt: = o to X = /, the result (by (43) ) is

Aj

u/ dx =

/(x) Ujdx,

Jo

Jo

njBJ ufdx=
Jo

(l){x)ujdx;

Jo

so that Aj, Bj are determined, and the form of the axis of the
rod at any time /is then given by equation (42).

Torsion Vibrations.

207. Torsion vibrations may be properly included in


general class of lateral vibrations; but as they are of
practical importance

we

shall discuss

them

briefly.

the
little

Such

vi-

when

a uniform elastic rod is left


to itself after undergoing a slight disturbance by forces reducible
to couples in planes perpendicular to its axis.
If the rod were in equilibrio under the action of such forces,
it would be in a state of torsion or twist
and the twist may be
called si?nple when the particles in any transverse plane section
are not displaced relatively to one another, and the distance

brations will be produced

between any two sections remains unaltered.


Suppose a cylindrical rod, whether solid or hollow (as a
tube), to be twisted by equal and opposite couples applied only
in the planes of its ends
then, if there is no relative displace;

ment of

of these terminal sections, it is


evident that there will be none in any other transverse section ;
and it is known that the length of the rod remains unaltered, or
rather is altered only by a quantity of the second order, when
the twist is small.
Under the action of such forces the rod,
particles

in either

when

in equilibrio, will be in a state of uniform simple twist.


probable that such a condition cannot be realised in
practice except in the case of cylindrical rods, though it may
subsist, more or less approximately, for other forms.
In what
It

is

follows

we

208.

shall

When

assume
the twist

that the
is

form

is cylindrical.

uniform, the rate of twist

\^

defined

by the angle through which any transverse section is turned


relatively to any other, divided by the distance between the two
sections.
And the limit of this ratio, when the distance between
the two sections is diminished indefinitely, is the rate of twist in
that section with which they ultimately coincide, whether the
twist be

When

uniform or not.
the twist is uniform,

all

the particles which, in the

Condition of Equilibrium,

204
untwisted
will lie

state, lay

upon

upon any

And

a helix.

straight line parallel to the axis,

the inclination of a tangent to this

any point, to the axis, will be directly proportional to


When this
the rate of twist and to the distance from the axis.
inclination is small where it has its greatest value, that is, on
the exterior surface, the twist may be called small.
It is evident
helix, at

that a small twist

is

consistent wdth a large relative angular dis-

placement of the terminal sections,


be small compared with its length.

if

the radius of the cylinder

When

equilibrium subsists under the action of couples


it is evident
that the moments of these couples must be equal and opposite ;
and it is known from experiment that when the twist is small,
the rate of twist is, for a rod of given material and section,
proportional to the moment of the couples.
If, besides the terminal
couples, there are twisting forces
acting on the interior matter of the rod, the conditions of equiLet x be the distance of
librium are easily found as follows.
any transverse section from one end {A ) of the rod, and Q the

209.

appHed only

in the planes of the terminal sections,

Then

angular displacement of that section.

the rate of twist in a section at the distance

from

208)

(Art.

and

is

the

moment

of the couple which would have to be applied in the


plane of that section in order to maintain equilibrium, if the rod

were cut

there,

shall consider

would be

more

being a constant which we

particularly below.

210. Let us consider then an infinitesimal

between two sections

at distances

If all the rest of the rod

slice

contained

x^dx, x->r\dx

were removed,

it

from ^.
would be necessary, in

order to maintain the equilibrium of the slice, to apply in


two faces couples of which the moments are

(those couples

being considered

positive

which tend

to

its

in-

crease 6\

Hence, if Lpcadx be the moment of the twisting forces


acting on the mass of the slice, where p, o) are the density, and
area of section of the rod, the condition of equilibrium will be
Lp(iidx-\-

and the

differential

6 -^^dx =

o,

equation of motion will be obtained from

Isotropic Rod.

205

by substituting for Lpoidx the sum of the moments of the resistances to acceleration of the particles of the

this as usual,

slice,

namely,

<PQ

where dca is an element of area of the transverse section, and


If then we put k for the
r the distance of ^co from the axis.
radius of gyration of the area of the section about the axis
of the rod, so that

**

/&2^,

J
we

shall

d'e

have

dt'

d^d

the equation of motion to be satisfied at

for

(I)

k^pm dx"
all

parts of the

rod.

The

terminal conditions will be

^ = o at a fixed end, and


-7-

dx

= o at a free end.

(The latter condition is evident if it be observed that at a free


end the rate of twist must be o, since there is no couple in the
terminal face.)

On

the supposition that the material of the rod is


{Tait and Thomson^ 676), and therefore equally
elastic in all directions, the constant C can be expressed in
terms of q, the modulus of elasticity (Art. 148), and of another
constant /x, the meaning of which we will now explain.
If a uniform bar, of any section, be extended by forces
applied uniformly to the surfaces of its ends only, it is known
that the transverse linear dimensions are contracted.
Let e be
the longitudinal extension (see Art. 148), and /xe the transverse
or lateral contraction; then, the extensions and contractions
being always supposed small, )ot is a constant for a given material, and moreover must have a value between o and i, if,
as is the case with all ordinary substances, the volume of the
bar is increased under the circumstances supposed.
It can be shewn that in the case of a cylindrical, solid or
hollow, rod, the value of the constant C in the last Article is^
211.

isotropic

2(l+M)'
^

The demonstration

afford space for

it

here.

of these propositions is elementary, but


See Klebsch, 2, 3, 92.

we cannot

3o6

Result of Integration,

so that equation (i) becomes

We

need not repeat the process of integrating


analogous to that which has been applied
problems (see Art. 122) and can offer no difficulty.
merely give the result in two cases.
(i) If both ends of the rod are free, then
212.

it

(2), since

js. exactly

^ =
(2) If the

2,-^i

in

former

We

shall

^iCOS-y-sm(-y- + ,).

end from which

is

measured

is

and the

fixed,

other end free, then

-^1=^

where A^,

a.,

in

determined by
equation

(2/*+i)'7r.r

/-

(2/+i)7r/

each case, represent arbitrary constants, to be


circumstances, and a is defined by the

initial

a^

2(i+ix)p

The

period of the

z'^^

tone

--(

4/

is

therefore
)

in case (i),

- (-^--+ rt/oa
)
/2(i

m
.

case (2).
g
Now comparing these with the periods of longitudinal vibrations of the same rod under the same terminal conditions,
we see that the tone of given order produced by torsion vibrations is lower than that of the same order produced by
longitudinal vibrations, by an interval of which the ratio is

22+

{2(l+ix))i.

The

value of the constant fi is probably different for


different substances.
Navier and Poisson, by reasoning now
generally admitted to be illegitimate, deduced a priori the value

213.

jLi

= i for all substances.


Wertheim found experimentally^ M ^ i

for glass

and

brass.

Kirchoff ^ found values differing sensibly from this for steel


bars, and for a drawn brass bar in which the longitudinal
elasticity differed

Ann.

from the

lateral.

de Chim. et de Phys. 3rd


Poggendorfy vol. cviii. p. 369.

series, vol. xxiii. p. 54.

Value of
The

207

iJL,

would afford an experimental


were possible to be assured that
the rods used were isotropic, and to observe with sufficient
precision the intervals between the tones given by longitudinal
and torsion vibrations.
results of the last Article

means of determining

/x,

if it

Chladni asserts that this interval is always a fifth. If this


were so, or rather, for substances in which it is so, we must
have 2 {1 + \j) =^ ^, or II = ^. If the value of /x were ^, the ratio
of the interval would be (f)^ = 1-632.
It is impossible however, or at any rate very difficult, to
observe with great exactness the interval between the two tones,
and a small error in the ratio of the interval may evidently
produce a considerable error in the value of /ut. Hence this
constant must be determined by other methods.
214. Torsion vibrations may be excited in a cylindrical rod
by friction with the same substances as would excite longitudinal
vibrations in the

same

rod.

a piece of stout glass tube, four or five feet long, be


gently but firmly clamped in a table-vice at its middle, after
winding a piece of broad tape about it at that part to protect it
from the vice, and if a wet piece of the same tape be passed

Thus,

if

once round the tube not far from its middle, and the ends
rather lightly and quickly pulled backwards and forwards at
right angles to the tube by the two hands, the torsion vibrations
will be easily produced.

When the rod is not cylindrical the friction of a bow (charged


Thus the torsion
as usual with powdered rosin) should be used.
vibrations of a rectangular deal rod may be excited by clamping
one end in a vice and drawing the bow across one of its edges
at right angles to the rod, at

a point distant from the fixed end

about a fourth of the length.

THE END.

I Lai

^^t:^

jL-h^^CUd-

/..
'1

//,

-O'

^7L

,/

/-^Jl^-^Ut^

.'^/MU^lC^

...^

A^

<^

f,

lO
to
o^
ID

u
05

P4

1O
^

o
o