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Thread: Lowest frequencies

  1. #1
    Civilian
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    May 2016
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    Lightbulb Lowest frequencies

    I'm new, so I don't know where the thread is that I was reading about the lowest frequency on a pipe organ. I have an incredible story; actually several, but maybe not related to this thread.

    After 50 years of riding a motorcycle on freeways and surface streets, and 4 years on a noisy aircraft carrier, I am a bit hard of hearing; for at least the last 10 years.

    About 5 years ago I was listening to music I found on the internet; have good speakers and sub-woofer on my desk. Being a Christian, I latched onto one of my favorite songs performed by the Morgan State University Choir, accompanied by a pipe organ. Although I played many instruments from 6th grade up into the US Navy, a never mastered any, and never studied music theory.

    As I listened to "How Great Thou Art," I said to myself, that lowest note on the organ must be 17 Hz. I had absolutely no way of knowing this for a fact, but my brain just sensed that many oscillations in the tone. No, it was not just "feeling" the vibration; I swear, I heard it.

    Soon after that I was discussing the experience with a student teacher's assistant of mine at my high school. She was the president of the orchestra club, and very well accomplished on the contra-bass. We decided to google the formula for determining the frequency for musical notes, realizing that it is not a linear progression.

    When we looked up the frequency for the lowest note on a pipe organ I was absolutely SHOCKED, and elated, that I got it, basically, right; 16.31 Hz. How much closer could a person get???? I have absolutely no training or experience that would cause that. My late wife and current girl friend tell me I cannot sing, at all, or carry a tune to speak of. But I know I nailed that frequency.

    Wikipedia says the lower limit of normal hearing is about 20 Hz, and does not provide a sample below 31 Hz.

    There is something ??? spiritual, magic, or something, when I hear certain songs; this is one of them. One reason I cannot sing in church is because the songs I know and like instantly choke me up so bad that I physically cannot sing a note. "How Great Thou Art," "Amazing Grace," bag pipes playing at a funeral, and others.

    Well, the story goes on, but I hope you all enjoyed reading this and have comments about my experience.

    Ron Hartigan

  2. #2
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    Welcome to the forum Ron

    Enjoyed reading about your experience with the low frequency of the pipe organ. That low frequency would relate to a pipe that would be 32 feet in length. The longest pipe is 64' which when played alone has the sound of the flatulence of an elephant (as a member described this a few years back. That pipe rank is in Sydney Australia.

    Seldom do most church organs here have anything lower than a 16' pipe ... in some installations the 32' sound is created digitally with an amp and some beefed up speaker(s).

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