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# Fundamental vs. Overtone

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• Overtone

An overtone is any frequency greater than the fundamental frequency of a sound. Using the model of Fourier analysis, the fundamental and the overtones together are called partials. Harmonics, or more precisely, harmonic partials, are partials whose frequencies are numerical integer multiples of the fundamental (including the fundamental which is 1 times itself). These overlapping terms are variously used when discussing the acoustic behavior of musical instruments. (See etymology below.) The model of Fourier analysis provides for the inclusion of inharmonic partials, which are partials whose frequencies are not whole-number ratios of the fundamental (such as 1.1 or 2.14179).

When a resonant system such as a blown pipe or plucked string is excited, a number of overtones may be produced along with the fundamental tone. In simple cases, such as for most musical instruments, the frequencies of these tones are the same as (or close to) the harmonics. Examples of exceptions include the circular drum, – a timpani whose first overtone is about 1.6 times its fundamental resonance frequency, gongs and cymbals, and brass instruments. The human vocal tract is able to produce highly variable amplitudes of the overtones, called formants, which define different vowels.

Wikipedia
• Fundamental (noun)

A leading or primary principle, rule, law, or article, which serves as the groundwork of a system; an essential part

"one of the fundamentals of linear algebra"

• Fundamental (noun)

The lowest frequency of a periodic waveform.

• Fundamental (noun)

The lowest partial of a complex tone.

Pertaining to the foundation or basis; serving for the foundation.

Essential, as an element, principle, or law; important; original; elementary.

"a fundamental truth;"

"a fundamental axiom"

"A need for belonging seems fundamental to humans."

• Overtone (noun)

A tone whose frequency is an integer multiple of another; a member of the harmonic series

• Overtone (noun)

An implicit message (in a film, book, verbal discussion or similar) perceived as overwhelming the explicit message. See undertone.

Wiktionary

Pertaining to the foundation or basis; serving for the foundation.

• Fundamental (noun)

A leading or primary principle, rule, law, or article, which serves as the groundwork of a system; essential part, as, the fundamentals of the Christian faith.

• Overtone (noun)

One of the harmonics faintly heard with and at a higher frequency than a fundamental tone as it dies away, produced by some aliquot portion of the vibrating sting or column of air which yields the fundamental tone; one of the natural harmonic scale of tones, as the octave, twelfth, fifteenth, etc.; an aliquot or "partial" tone; a harmonic. See Harmonic, and Tone.

Webster Dictionary
• Fundamental (noun)

the lowest tone of a harmonic series

serving as an essential component;

"a cardinal rule"

"the central cause of the problem"

"an example that was fundamental to the argument"

"computers are fundamental to modern industrial structure"

being or involving basic facts or principles;

"the fundamental laws of the universe"

"a fundamental incompatibility between them"

"these rudimentary truths"

"underlying principles"

far-reaching and thoroughgoing in effect especially on the nature of something;

"the fundamental revolution in human values that has occurred"

"the book underwent fundamental changes"

"committed the fundamental error of confusing spending with extravagance"

"profound social changes"

• Overtone (noun)

(usually plural) an ulterior implicit meaning or quality;

"overtones of despair"

• Overtone (noun)

a harmonic with a frequency that is a multiple of the fundamental frequency

Princeton's WordNet