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# What does the frequency of a sound wave determine?

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The frequency of a sound wave determines what people hear as pitch. A higher frequency has a higher pitch, and a lower frequency is heard as a lower pitch. The frequencies that humans can hear range from 20 to 20,000 Hertz.

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Frequencies below 20 Hz are called infrasound, and those above 20,000 Hz are ultrasound frequencies. Animals like dogs and dolphins can hear at lower and higher frequencies than humans. For example, dolphins hear frequencies between 0.25 and 200,000 Hz.

A wave's frequency is defined as the rate at which a particle vibrates through a medium or material. Hertz is the unit of measurement used for frequency; 1 Hertz is equal to 1 vibration per second.

Loudness, which is another component of sound waves, is determined by a sound wave's amplitude. A large amplitude represents a louder sound.

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## Related Questions

• A:

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.

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• A:

The formula for finding the velocity of a wave is to multiply its wavelength by its frequency. In this case, 30 m x 12 Hz = 360 meters per second.

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• A:

The Doppler effect is an observed shift in the frequency of a wave as the source of the emission moves relative to the observer. As a sound- or light-emitting object moves closer to an observer, the pitch of the emissions rises. As the object recedes, the pitch falls.