Adam Smith

Physics at the Symphony

April, 2007

I really enjoy going to the symphony. I’ve been to the San Francisco Symphony twice since moving here last October. My favorite part is watching the violinists stroke their instruments in unison. This would be artful even without the music, but with beautiful music as a side effect – oh the glory!

Xobni is staying lean, though, so I buy the nose bleed seats. If I’m 300 feet from the orchestra pit, the music is delayed about 300 milliseconds behind what I’m seeing. (Sound travels at about one foot per millisecond.)

Humans can typically observe delays over 100ms. I might just be imagining it, but I'm pretty sure I can actually notice the delay between what I see and what I hear!

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