A band is composed of many different instruments. If a guitar and a sax each play the same tune we can recognize that it is, indeed, the same tune-made up of the same notes. And yet we also recognize that two very different instruments have been played. How are they similar and how are they different?
Pitch and quality or timbre are two of the characteristics of a musical sound. Musicians use "pitch" to describe how low or high a sound is while scientists use "frequency" to describe the same thing. Most sounds are a combination of many frequencies. The "fundamental frequency" is the lowest frequency present and this determines the pitch of the sound. Additional frequencies that are present-called "overtones" or "higher harmonics"-determine the quality or timbre of a sound and provide the distinction between, say, a flute and a trumpet.
|Chapter 12 Sound and Music|
|12.1 Characteristics of Sounds|
|12.2 Fundamental Frequencies|
|12.3 Sound Quality|
|12.4 Musical Scales|
|12.6 Doppler Effect|
|12.7 Sonic Boom|
|12.8 End of Chapter Materials|