RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Harmonic vibrations. Diagram illustrating how an oscillator (such as a guitar string) can vibrate at different frequencies called harmonics. The simplest and lowest frequency (red, bottom) is called the fundamental frequency. Still remaining fixed at either end, the string can oscillate with higher frequencies. These waves are called standing waves because they do not progress along the string. Instead they are produced by the interference of equal but opposite waves travelling along the string in opposite directions. The still points or nodes (orange dots) occur at points where the troughs and peaks cancel each other out.
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