harmonic vs. inharmonic sounds ("Ferguson, Sarah Hargus" )

Subject: harmonic vs. inharmonic sounds
From:    "Ferguson, Sarah Hargus"  <safergus@xxxxxxxx>
Date:    Fri, 9 Mar 2007 09:41:50 -0600

Hello list - I feel really silly asking this, but I can't seem to dig up a straight answer to this question. When I present complex sounds to my Physics of Speech class, I present different classifications: periodic vs. aperiodic, harmonic vs. inharmonic, continuous vs. transient, etc. One of the tasks the students will have in homework is to determine whether a given sound is harmonic or inharmonic. I tell them a sound containing energy at 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 Hz is harmonic because all of those are integer multiples of the same fundamental (which happens to be missing). I have two questions: 1) Is this actually correct? 2) If so, it seems to me there must be some constraint on which harmonics of the fundamental are there. In the example I gave above, I've had students say "Couldn't the fundamental be 50 Hz? Or 25 Hz? Or even 1 Hz?" Is there a rule I can give them? ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Sarah Hargus Ferguson, Ph.D., CCC-A Assistant Professor Department of Speech-Language-Hearing: Sciences and Disorders University of Kansas Dole Center 1000 Sunnyside Ave., Room 3001 Lawrence, KS 66045 office: (785)864-1116 Speech Acoustics and Perception Lab: (785)864-0610 http://www.ku.edu/~splh/ipcd/Faculty/FergusonBio.html

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