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Q & A: What Sounds Sound Like

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
What causes some sounds to have a higher pitch than others?
- mchael (age 11)
virginia
A:
Sound is a pretty interesting thing. When we hear a sound, we're actually hearing vibrations. A good example of this would be to drag a stick across some concrete. When you move the stick across the concrete, you can hear the scrape because of the stick rubbing on the concrete. But if you move the stick faster, the sound has a higher pitch. So if you move the stick the same distance at different speeds, you get different sounds. The reason this happens is because the pitch of sound depends on the frequency of the vibration. Frequency is basically how close together the vibrations are. So the faster you make the vibrations, the higher the pitch will be.

Adam

(published on 10/22/2007)

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