Conceptual Physics (12th Edition)

Published by Addison-Wesley
ISBN 10: 0321909100
ISBN 13: 978-0-32190-910-7

Chapter 20 - Think and Explain: 83

Answer

The piano string should be loosened.

Work Step by Step

The beat frequency of 3 Hz tells us that the piano string frequency is either 3 hertz above or 3 hertz below the tuning fork's frequency, but we don't yet know which. When the string is slightly tightened (which raises its natural frequency) the even higher beat frequency of 5 Hz means the piano tuner is moving the wrong way. The piano string's frequency must have started out 3 Hz above that of the tuning fork, and now it is 5 Hz above. The string should be loosened slightly until no beats are heard, at which point the string's frequency matches the tuning fork's frequency.
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