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172. WATERS, in the noise they make as they run, represent to the ear a trembling noise; and in regals, where they have a pipe they call the nightingale-pipe, which containeth water, the sound hath a continual trembling and children have also little things they call cocks, which have water in them; and when they blow or whistle in them, they yield a trembling noise; which trembling of water hath an affinity with the letter L. All which inequalities of trepidation are rather pleasant than otherwise.
173. ALL base notes, or very treble notes, give an asper sound; for that the base striketh more air, than it can well strike equally and the treble cutteth the air so sharp, as it returneth too swift to make the sound equal: and therefore a mean or tenor is the sweetest part.
174. We know nothing that can at pleasure make a musical or immusical sound by voluntary motion, but the voice of man and birds. The cause is, no doubt, in the weasand or wind-pipe, which we call aspera arteria, which being well extended, gathereth equality; as a bladder that is wrinkled, if it be extended, becometh smooth. The extension is always more in tones than in speech: therefore the inward voice or whisper can never give a tone. And in singing, there is, manifestly, a greater working and labour of the throat, than in speaking; as appeareth in the thrusting out or drawing in of the chin, when we sing.
175. THE humming of bees is an unequal buzzing, and is conceived by some of the ancients not to come forth at their mouth, but to be an inward sound; but, it may be, it is neither; but from the motion of their wings for it is not heard but when they stir.
176. ALL metals quenched in water give a sibilation or hissing sound, which hath an affinity with the letter Z, notwithstanding the sound be created between the water or vapour, and the air. Seething also, if there be but small store of water in a vessel, giveth a hissing sound; but boiling in a full vessel giveth a bubbling sound, drawing somewhat near to the cocks used by children.
177. TRIAL would be made, whether the inequality or interchange of the medium will not produce an inequality of sound; as if three bells were made one within another, and air betwixt each; and then the outermost bell were chimed with a hammer, how the sound would differ from a simple bell. So likewise take a plate of brass, and a plank of wood, and join them close together, and knock upon one of them, and see if they do not give an unequal sound. So make two or three partitions of wood in a hogshead, with holes or knots in them; and mark the difference of their sound from the sound of an hogshead with out such partitions.
Experiments in consort touching the more treble,
and the more base tones, or musical sounds.
178. It is evident, that the percussion of the greater quantity of air causeth the baser sound; and the less quantity the more treble sound. The percussion of the greater quantity of air is produced by the greatness of the body percussing; by the latitude of the concave by which the sound passeth; and by the longitude of the same concave. Therefore we see that a base string is greater than a treble; a base pipe hath a greater bore than a treble; and in pipes, and the like, the lower the note-holes be, and the further off from the mouth of the pipe, the more base sound they yield; and the nearer the mouth, the more treble. Nay more, if you strike an entire body, as an andiron of brass, at the top, it maketh a more treble sound; and at the bottom a baser.
179. It is also evident, that the sharper or quicker percussion of air causeth the more treble sound; and the slower or heavier, the more base sound. So we see in strings; the more they are wound up and strained, and thereby give a more quick start-back, the more treble is the sound; and the slacker they are, or less wound up, the baser is the sound. And therefore a bigger string more strained, and a lesser string less strained, may fall into the same tone.
180. CHILDREN, women, eunuchs, have more small
and shrill voices than men.
The reason is, not for that men have greater heat, which may make the voice stronger, for the strength of a voice or sound doth make a difference in the loudness or softness, but not in the tone, but from the dilatation of the organ; which, it is true, is likewise caused by heat. But the cause of changing the voice at the years of puberty, is more obscure. It seemeth to be, for that when much of the moisture of the body, which did before irrigate the parts, is drawn down to the spermatical vessels, it leaveth the body more hot than it was; whence cometh the dilatation of the pipes: for we see plainly all effects of heat do then come on; as pilosity, more roughness of the skin, hardness of the flesh, etc.
181. THE industry of the musician hath produced two other means of straining or intension of strings, besides their winding up. The one is the stopping of the string with the finger; as in the necks of lutes, viols, etc. The other is the shortness of the string, as in harps, virginals, etc. Both these have one and the same reason; for they cause the string to give a quicker start.
182. IN the straining of a string, the further it is strained, the less superstraining goeth to a note; for it requireth good winding of a string before it will make any note at all: and in the stops of lutes, etc. the higher they go, the less distance is between the frets.
183. IF you fill a drinking-glass with water, especially one sharp below, and wide above, and fillip upon the brim or outside; and after empty part of the water, and so more and more, and still try the tone by filliping; you shall find the tone fall and be more base, as the glass is more empty.
Experiments in consort touching the proportion of treble and base tones.
THE just and measured proportion of the air percussed, towards the baseness or trebleness of tones, is one of the greatest secrets in the contemplation
of sounds. For it discovereth the true coincidence of tones into diapasons; which is the return of the same sound. And so of the concords and discords between the unison and diapason, which we have touched before in the experiments of music; but think fit to resume it here as a principal part of our inquiry touching the nature of sounds. It may be found out in the proportion of the winding of strings; in the proportion of the distance of frets; and in the proportion of the concave of pipes, etc. but most commodiously in the last of these.
184. TRY therefore the winding of a string once about, as soon as it is brought to that extension as will give a tone; and then of twice about, and thrice about, etc. and mark the scale or difference of the rise of the tone: whereby you shall discover, in one, two effects; both the proportion of the sound towards the dimension of the winding; and the proportion likewise of the sound towards the string, as it is more or less strained. But note that to measure this, the way will be, to take the length in a right line of the string, upon any winding about of the peg.
185. As for the stops, you are to take the number of frets; and principally the length of the line, from the first stop of the string, unto such a stop as shall produce a diapason to the former stop upon the same string.
186. BUT it will best, as it is said, appear in the bores of wind instruments: and therefore cause some half dozen pipes to be made, in length and all things else alike, with a single, double, and so on to a sextuple bore; and so mark what fall of tone every one giveth, But still in these three last instances, you must diligently observe, what length of string, or distance of stop, or concave of air, maketh what rise of sound. As in the last of these, which, as we said, is that which giveth the aptest demonstration, you must set down what increase of concave goeth to the making of a note higher; and what of two notes; and what of three notes; and so up to the diapason: for then the great secret of numbers and proportions
will appear. It is not unlike that those that make recorders, etc. know this already for that they make them in sets and likewise bell-founders, in fitting the tune of their bells. So that inquiry may save trial. Surely it hath been observed by one of the ancients, that an empty barrel knocked upon with the finger, giveth a diapason to the sound of the like barrel full; but how that should be I do not well understand; for that the knocking of a barrel full or empty, doth scarce give any tone.
187. THERE is required some sensible difference in the proportion of creating a note, towards the sound itself, which is the passive: and that it be not too near, but at a distance. For in a recorder, the three uppermost holes yield one tone; which is a note lower than the tone of the first three. And the like, no doubt, is required in the winding or stopping of strings.
Experiments in consort touching exterior and interior sounds.
THERE is another difference of sounds, which we will call exterior and interior. It is not soft nor loud: nor it is not base nor treble: nor it is not musical nor immusical: though it be true, that there can be no tone in an interior sound; but on the other side, in an exterior sound there may be both musical and immusical. We shall therefore enumerate them, rather than precisely distinguish them; though, to make some adumbration of that we mean, the interior is rather an impulsion or contusion of the air, than an elision or section of the same: so as the percussion of the one towards the other differeth as a blow differeth from a cut.
188. IN speech of man, the whispering, which they call susurrus in Latin, whether it be louder or softer, is an interior sound; but the speaking out is an exterior sound; and therefore you can never make a tone, nor sing in whispering; but in speech you may: so breathing, or blowing by the mouth, bellows, or wind, though loud, is an interior sound; but