# frequency and pitch of sound

## high or low

How high or low a sound seems to a listener is its pitch. Pitch, in turn, depends on the frequency of sound waves. Wave frequency is the number of waves that pass a fixed point in a given amount of time. High-pitched sounds, like the sounds of the piccolo in the Figure 1.1, have high-frequency waves. Low-pitched sounds, like the sounds of the tuba Figure 1.1, have low-frequency waves.

## can you hear it

The frequency of sound waves is measured in hertz (Hz), or the number of waves that pass a fixed point in a second. Human beings can normally hear sounds with a frequency between about 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Sounds with frequencies below 20 hertz are called infrasound. Infrasound is too low-pitched for humans to hear. Sounds with frequencies above 20,000 hertz are called ultrasound. Ultrasound is too high-pitched for humans to hear. Some other animals can hear sounds in the ultrasound range. For example, dogs can hear sounds with frequencies as high as 50,000 Hz. You may have seen special whistles that dogsbut not peoplecan hear. The whistles produce sounds with frequencies too high for the human ear to detect. Other animals can hear even higher-frequency sounds. Bats, like the one pictured in the Figure 1.2, can hear sounds with frequencies higher than 100,000 Hz! Q: Bats use ultrasound to navigate in the dark. Can you explain how? A: Bats send out ultrasound waves, which reflect back from objects ahead of them. They sense the reflected sound waves and use the information to detect objects they cant see in the dark. This is how they avoid flying into walls and trees and also how they find flying insects to eat.

## instructional diagrams

No diagram descriptions associated with this lesson

## questions

the pitch of sound depends on the amplitude of sound waves.

``````a. true

-->  b. false
``````

compared to a higher-pitched sound, a lower-pitched sound always has a

``````a) shorter wavelength.

b) smaller amplitude.

-->  c) lower frequency.

d) two of the above
``````

the frequency of sound waves is measured in

``````a) meters.

b) meters/second.

-->  c) hertz.

d) none of the above
``````

dogs can hear sounds that are too high in pitch for humans to hear.

``````-->  a. true

b. false
``````

what is the highest-frequency sound that humans normally can hear?

``````a) 20 hz

b) 200 hz

c) 2000 hz

-->  d) 20,000 hz
``````

## diagram questions

No diagram questions associated with this lesson