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Transformation of a Jewish Harp

September 16, 2009

I chose to play with the sound of a Jewish harp. It’s a pretty interesting sound, with audible “waves” and a series of partials that return over and over again throughout the duration of the sound, but do not remain throughout. The sound has a relatively lengthy decay, which is good for tinkering around with.

Changing the speed to twice as fast moved the pitch of the harp up an octave; halving the speed moved it down an octave. Timbre stayed about the same in both instances. These were the most interesting transformations, to me.
Reversing the sound made the harp seem louder, although this might just be because of the crescendo effect (since the original sound “decrescendo-ed,” or reduced in volume); altered in this way, the sound was also a bit brighter(?) and even more nasal than it already was.
Equalization showed me that most of the harp’s frequencies lay in the middle range, from about 100Hz to 2000 Hz. Low-pass and high-pass filters made no different in the sound. When I cut off frequencies outside this middle range, the sound of the harp remained pretty much the same as that of the unaltered original sample. Filtering frequencies within this range however, resulted in both lower volume and a less “buzzy” tone; the timbre felt “tighter” and “muted,” with a noticeable loss of the its characteristic “edge.”
Time-stretching the sound sample to twice its original length gave its timbre a noticeable “warbly” quality – no “buzz” but not solid-sounding at all. The pitch and volume stayed fairly constant.

Will post links in a comment once sound files are approved!

Ben-Zhen 🙂

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