At the heart of many of the world's musical instruments is the same, simple component—a string stretched tight between two points. Plucked, bowed, or struck, each of an instrument's strings creates ear-catching vibrations.
Now, mathematicians in Canada say that they have invented a family of music-making devices based on a network of three or more string segments—for instance, a Y-shaped string anchored at three endpoints. The extra segments supply exotic overtones that a single string doesn't, say the researchers.
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