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If you’ve ever gone to hear an orchestra play, you know that the performance begins only after a session of tuning. An oft-repeated story tells of a visiting foreigner attending a concert in Paris. Afterwards, when asked which part of the performance he liked best, he replied, “The beginning, just before the man with the stick came in.”
Tuning means adjusting the pitch of an instrument. The pitch of a sound depends on its frequency, the number of vibrations per second that produce the sound. For example, plucking a cello string might cause it to vibrate back and forth 200 times each second. You hear that sound as a low pitch of 200 cycles per second, or 200 hertz.
An orchestra tunes itself to a very particular frequency, usually 440 hertz, a note known as A 440. The note is played by the oboist, and the rest of the orchestra tunes their instruments to match it. The oboe leads the tuning because of all the instruments, it is least affected by humidity or other weather conditions. Music is more than meets the ears directly. Just as no sound exists in a vacuum, every space sculpts the sound within it. Like a site-specific equalizer, reflections, absorption, and resonances combine to give each venue a unique acoustic stamp.
A subway tunnel is “live” space, rich with reverberations that trap and reflect sound in a well of hard tile. True to their name, “dead” spaces do nothing: The only sound heard is what travels directly from instrument to ear. An open field is the ultimate dead space.
As you follow this wandering riff, listen to the changes wrought by environment. Distance is also a factor here—the sound you hear is recorded from the camera’s vantage. Which spaces sound live? Which sound dead? Do the acoustic changes affect the feeling of the music?
Saxophonist Michael Pearce plays with the Highwater Blues Band in the San Francisco Bay Area. Watch as the best teachers on the planet battle it out for the title of Iron Science Teacher. In this zany competition teachers will have ten minutes to create a science activity. This week's "secret" ingredient - Valentine gifts! Stepping is rhythmic movement that uses the hands and feet as an instrument. Known best among African American fraternities and sororities, stepping draws on a long African tradition of using the body to make music.
Synchronized movement and chants are coordinated by the leader, or step master. Sometimes improvising, always cultivating their own distinctive moves and rhythms, step teams reflect and reaffirm both the unity and the unique style of their group. This short preview clip of the larger B-Roll video has footage of the Exploratorium, inside and out, including scenes of children interacting with museum exhibits. A humorous look at thermodynamics at the Exploratorium, part of the
Exploratorium's "For the Curious Ones" campaign. A humorous look at interactivity in the operating room, part of the
Exploratorium's "For the Curious Ones" campaign. The only thing to beat out Iron Science Halloween! Holiday madness right when you could use a laugh.... today's secret ingredient: fruitcake! Watch as Exploratorium staff and local teachers compete for the title of Iron Science Teacher. Each contestant has 10 minutes to make a science lesson out of a science ingredient. This is a Halloween edition of Iron Science Teacher, and today's secret ingredient is: Bones! Watch as the best teachers on the planet battle it out for the title of Iron Science Teacher. In this zany competition teachers will have ten minutes to create a science activity. Tee off with this week’s “secret” ingredient-pet supplies!