- A picture of a clarinet, an instrument that utilizes a vibrating reed and a resonating chamber to produce sounds.
Resonance is a sound phenomenon in which sounds with particular frequencies are amplified more than other sounds in a system. The system could be anything from a solid structure such as a steel beam, to a trapped column of air. In a resonant system, the specific frequencies which cause the highest amplitude are those which match the natural frequency of the system.
The natural frequency of a system is the frequency at which the system vibrates naturally when set into motion. This frequency often corresponds to the length and shape of the system. For instance, skyscrapers and bridges have natural frequencies whose wavelengths correspond to their height and length respectively. For this reason, engineers who build structures like this must be very careful in their designs. If too many components of such structures resonate at the same frequency, then the amplitude could become great enough to cause structural damage or failure. Such was the case of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940.
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