Slow jam: the violent physics of music
We all know that sound is vibration. Being we hardly ever see it, however, we tend to put that into the corner of our brains that also knows that the Giants game comes into our radio through electromagnetic waves in the air, or that King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215. We take it on faith, though we have not seen it happen.
Thanks to the miracle of modern video technology, however, we can. 3000 frames per second may be too slow to pick up sound (has the audio side not kept pace with video?), but the wrenching stresses and distortions placed on strings, drumheads, cymbals and lips are eye-opening.
Take a look:
Cymbal crash at 1000 frames/second:
Snare drum head at 3000 FPS:
Guitar strings, 2000%/4000% slower:
Bass string wobble — this one's not really slow motion, as such, but is still pretty cool: the frequency of the strings and the high shutter speed of the camera let us clearly see string wobble in real time. It's called a temporal aliasing effect.
Trombone embouchure — lips, that is:
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