The most basic characteristics of a sound wave are pitch, loudness and tone. A sound wave's frequency is experienced as the wave's pitch. The amplitude determines loudness or volume. The tone of a sound wave can be recognized by the regularity of its vibration.Continue Reading
A higher frequency has a higher pitch, whereas a lower frequency has a lower pitch. Human ears detect a large range of frequencies from to 20 to 20,000 Hz. When a sound is below a 20 Hz frequency range and inaudible to human hearing, it is called infrasound. Sounds above 20,000 Hz are known as ultrasound.
A larger amplitude means a louder sound, while a smaller amplitude means a softer sound. The sensitivity of an ear also determines the loudness of a sound, as human ears are more sensitive to certain frequencies than others. The volume of a sound is dependent on both a sound wave's amplitude and the more or less sensitive region of the ear that the frequency is picked up in.
While a simple tone has a single frequency, a complex tone is created from two or more simple tones. A sound's lowest-frequency tone is referred to as the fundamental tone, while the rest are called the overtones. If the overtones have frequencies that are whole multiples (2, 3, 4, etc.) of the fundamental frequency tone, they are called harmonics of the fundamental tone. A musical tone is the combination of these harmonic tones.Learn more about Optics & Waves
An echo is weaker than the original sound because the sound wave imparts energy to the surface from which it bounces. When a sound wave is directed at a distant surface, particles of air in the path transmit the energy to the next particle, until it reaches the surface. When the sound wave hits the surface, it transmits energy to it. This loss manifests itself as a weaker return signal.Full Answer >
The distance that sound can travel depends on what medium the sound wave has to go through. The speed of the wave affects the distance that it can travel. Temperature and atmospheric pressure also can directly affect the amount of distance a sound wave can cover.Full Answer >
Amplitude affects the loudness of sound by using vibration to make the sound larger or smaller than it is in actuality. Amplitude is a factor which directly impacts the sound.Full Answer >
Pitch refers to the frequency of a sound, while loudness refers to the size or amplitude of the sound. Every sound has both a specific pitch and loudness.Full Answer >