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2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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Displaying Sounds with Real-Time Frequency Analyzers
  Location: HC 3040
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.2
  Time: 8:40 AM -8:50 AM
  Author: David Keeports, Mills College
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: Real-time frequency analyzers (RTFAs) are available as free online downloads, and they are incorporated even in entry-level music production programs such as Apple's GarageBand. Outputting the sound of a drawbar organ though an RTFA clearly shows the analyzer's function. I will present some ways in which this software can be used to display spectral subtleties of sounds that single instantaneous Fourier transforms cannot reveal. When a string is plucked, harmonics initially decay at different rates. Real-time spectral analysis of speech exposes difficulties in representing vowel and consonant sounds as Fourier series. An RTFA provides a useful tool for showing how "resonance box beating" extends to the beating of harmonic waves. Additionally, an RTFA explains why the sound of harmonic waves beating resembles sound processed by a musical phase shifter.
  Footnotes: None
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