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Limitations of Music Box

Please visit “The Mechanism of Music Box” before reading this

There are some limitations in making a music box which have to be considered in composing the notes in each box. The notes cannot be placed anywhere like in other instruments. That makes some songs unable to put in a music box.

  • Pins cannot be placed too close to each other As shown in a figure below, it is a music score of a song  As you can see in a red circle, there are 3 consecutive pins close to each others. With this configuration, creaking noise will be produced as the comb vibration caused by the first pin hasn’t stopped yet but the tooth makes contact with a second pin. Therefore, the music box maker needs to position the pins carefully to avoid this problem.

The solution for this problem is Instead of having only one row of the C note and strumming it with a single comb, these C notes are splitted into three rows and strummed with 3 comb saparately.This way the pins are no longer clustered together as indicated by a red circle in a figure below which is an actual pin layout.

Since 3 out of 18 teeth are already occupied by the C note, there are fewer teeth left for the other note to complete the song.

  • The teeth of a comb with the same note make the notes slightly distorted
    As mentioned earlier, the creaking issues can be solved by rearranging the teeth. However, there is a side effect from this solution due to the equal natural frequency of the teeth that are placed next to each other. For instance, teeth #1 and teeth #2 both correspond to the C note having a natural frequency of 523 Hz. Thus, when teeth #1 is strummed, teeth #2 vibrates too by itself. To solve this new problem, the natural frequency of teeth #2 has to be changed but this also resulted in a distorted noise.
  • Creaking issue is harder to avoid in a lower note
    As the tooth is longer for the lower note, making it vibrate for a longer time than a higher note. So it is much harder to make a song with many repeated low notes without a creaking problem.
  • Our solution to the creaking problem by Only One Music Box
    We found a solution to reduce creaking issue by reducing the teeth’s vibrating time, which allowed us to place the pins closer to each other. By doing so, we are able to put more notes into our comb and enhance the quality of our song.

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