Harmonic Series

This demonstration examines the notes associated with a harmonic series and how it may be used to generate a pentatonic scale.  The first part plays the first 9 notes of a harmonic series (scale) with a variable first harmonic (starting frequency).  The frequency of each note is an integer multiple of the starting frequency.

Starting frequency [Hz] (default is F2 sharp below middle C, C4)

MUTE Play harmonic scale
Interval Harmonics
Octave 1:2
Fifth 2:3
Fourth 3:4
Major Third 4:5
Minor Third


~Major Second


Minor Third 7:8
Minor Second 8:9

These intervals give five unique notes that make up a pentatonic scale.  The interval between harmonics 6 and 7 is noticeably in the cracks of the piano but it is usually taken to be a major second.

This applet requires Java 1.1 and a sound card.  The highest frequency that can be produced without aliasing problems is ~3500Hz.   This demonstration was created by Dan Boye.