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## Stone Tones

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.

 Puzzle ID: #13390 Fun: (2.8) Difficulty: (2.4) Category: Science Submitted By: willymapo Corrected By: cnmne

In the magical island of Nowhere, the lost boy was trying to find the entrance to the celestial garden he saw from a hill. A high wall surrounded the garden. Walking around, the boy found a door, very tall, with 12 stone locks placed vertically, from top to bottom, and so thin that they looked like stone strings. In fact, when touched, the stone locks vibrate, producing a beautiful note just like a crystal string singing. He also found that the tones in the stone were a semitone apart, just like a regular musical keyboard.
The boy liked to play music, so he played some melodies with that natural instrument. After some time, he remembered that he wanted to enter the garden, so looked for a sign. There was one that said, "The melody is the key to the beauty in the heart". At that moment, he remembered that the phrase was an old melody his grandma used to whistle to him (he was also a great melody whistler), and then figured out that that melody was the key to open the door. So he started touching the stones, playing the melody, all but the last note, because it was the highest stone in the door and he was too little to reach it. If only he could find a way to make the stone vibrate without having to touch it...
How could that be done?

Since he was a very good whistler, he just had to whistle a note one octave below the one that he wanted to vibrate. That stone will vibrate by the harmonics effect, in which the waves made from one frequency make another frequency to sympathetically "respond", thus making the other source vibrate a little. The second harmonic is the one that is double the base frequency, that is, one octave above.
Needless to say, the boy was a good musician and knew about the harmonics physics.

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 MrIxolite Jul 05, 2003 Love this one. The story is wonderfully written. willymapo Jul 14, 2003 Well, Thanks a lot! We do what we can. gingimo711 Aug 23, 2003 corretct me if im wrong, but isnt one oactive 8 notes? oct meaning 8? willymapo Aug 25, 2003 YES AND NO! You see, 8 means 8 complete tones. and octave contains 12 half tones. C, D, F, G, A are one complete tone each, and E, B are half tone each, that will give you 12 half tones. rose_rox Aug 30, 2003 liked it, but I could never understand the post above b/c I just am not smart in music. curtiss82 Dec 24, 2003 This is a great teaser. Not too many people understand the physics of harmonics though. (user deleted) Jul 30, 2005 Couldn't the kid have simply whistled precisely at or near the resonant frequency of the stone, such that it oscillated at the fundamental harmonic, rather than the less powerful 2nd or higher. (user deleted) Jul 30, 2005 Couldn't the kid have simply whistled precisely at or near the resonant frequency of the stone, such that it oscillated at the fundamental harmonic, rather than the less powerful 2nd or higher. EVOLNI Sep 15, 2005 there are 8 notes in an octave and if u count sharps and flats that would be C C# D Eb E F F# G Ab Bb and C which would be 11 but still one octave... willymapo Sep 16, 2005 You missed A. C c# D e# E F f# G g# A a# B C But you might be rigth, that are 12 semitones from C to C, but then 13 stones! willymapo Sep 16, 2005 Hey, I remembered! The last note was B. So, the 12 stones are right, (there is no mention that the last note was a high C, the teaser only says "the highest stone"). bookworm91 Nov 27, 2005 good one i was totally stumped!! Vudluxi Jun 03, 2006 Excellent teaser. I guessed it was something to do with resonance from the whistling. vbguy101 Aug 22, 2006 Resonance physics... AndrewWalker Jun 20, 2008 I voted easy b/c before I joined I saw this brain teaser and knew the answer several months later