Tuning fork – source of pure tones © Siemens Stiftung 2016 CC BY-SA 4.0 international

Tuning fork – source of pure tones


Musical instruments are tuned with the help of the especially pure tones of a tuning fork. But why does a tuning fork produce such pure tones?

English, Spanish (CREA), German
Image (121.4 kByte)
With the help of a tuning fork it can be demonstrated that audible tones are often created by vibrating objects and that the tones depend on shape and dimensions of the objects. With a tuning fork all vibrations of undesired frequency are greatly attenuated or extinguished altogether. In the end only the tone which corresponds to the self-resonant frequency of the tuning fork remains. The tone is almost ideally monofrequent pure.

Information and ideas:
To check that this assumption is correct, the following experiment can be carried out:
A piece of glass covered in soot is placed on an overhead projector. A tuning fork is struck and the point of one of the tines is put carefully on the piece of glass and pulled along it.
The students notice that the vibrations of the tuning fork go "up and down" regularly. From this it can be concluded that tones are created when objects vibrate regularly.

Relevant for teaching:
Acoustic phenomena
Sound/acoustics: parameters
Vibrations and waves
Music; Personal, social and health education (PSHE); Physics
Grade 1 to 4; Grade 5 to 6; Grade 7 to 9; Grade 10 to 13
Elementary school; Middle/high school; Vocational training
Sound; Sound (basic phenomenon); Sound production; Type of sound
Siemens Stiftung Media Portal
MediaHouse GmbH
© Siemens Stiftung 2016
Stay up-to-date!

About four times a year, we inform you about new media on this portal as well as current studies and events related to OER and STEM.

Media Portal newsletter – register now

About four times a year, we inform you about new media on this portal as well as current studies and events related to OER and STEM.

*Required fields


Liebe Nutzerin, lieber Nutzer,
El Portal de Medios – das spanische Medienportal – ist umgezogen und heißt nun CREA.
Auf CREA finden Sie weiterhin hochwertige Medien für den MINT-Unterricht und vieles mehr.

Dear User,
El Portal de Medios - the Spanish Media Portal - has moved and is now called CREA.
On CREA, you will continue to find high-quality media for STEM education and much more.

Estimado usuario, estimada usuaria,
El Portal de Medios – en español – ha sido trasladado y ahora se llama CREA.
En CREA seguirá encontrando medios de alta calidad para la enseñanza de STEM, y mucho más.

Zu CREA wechseln / Switch to CREA / Cambiar a CREA
CREA - El Portal de Medios para la Enseñanza STEM

Hierbleiben / Stay here / Quédate aquí:
Fenster schließen / Close window / Cerrar ventana