The Basics of Sound: A blog on all things sound including frequency, amplitude and phase.
The Basis of Sound
This post is an introduction to the basics of sound waves. It will cover what they are and how they are used in electronic music today. The main focus is on the waveform graph and how it relates to sounds we hear everyday. This will be useful for anyone who wants to learn more about making music with computers or understanding how it all works behind the scenes!
What Is A Waveform?
A waveform shows us a visual representation of what our sound looks like over time. The two most common types are sine waves (sinusoidal) and square waves (rectangular). They can be used as oscillators in synthesizer programs like Ableton Live, FL Studio etc. or even just drawn out by hand! If you want to download some royalty-free samples, here’s one from Splice Sounds that has a bunch of different sounds including some really cool sine waves which will work great for this tutorial!
The Basics of Sound – A blog on all things sound including frequency, amplitude and phase. In this article, I’m going to explain in detail exactly what these terms mean and how they affect the way our ears perceive sound. The aim is to help electronic musicians understand the relationship between oscillators, filters and envelopes in their synthesizer so that they can more efficiently create new sounds from scratch.
So what is sound? Sound is a wave of pressure that propagates through a medium like air. It begins at a source (like a loudspeaker) and causes particles in the medium to vibrate. This vibration creates changes in air pressure which then propagate away from the source as a wave of pressure.
Your ear can detect these changes in air pressure by sensing the compression and rarefaction of tiny hairs inside your inner ear. When these hairs are excited they send nerve signals to your brain which are then interpreted as sound.
There are a few basic concepts regarding the way sound is produced, detected and processed by our sense of hearing. These concepts are important for anyone wanting to learn or develop an understanding of how sound is created, reproduced and recorded for later playback. They are also important for musicians and audio engineers who want to produce, record and play back sounds in the best manner possible.
The three most important concepts are frequency, amplitude and phase. They can be thought of as being responsible for the quality of sound we hear. These qualities can be described using the following terms:
– Frequency – how high or low a note sounds.
– Amplitude – how loud a note sounds.
– Phase – whether it sounds like a note is coming from the left or right speaker (or between them).
To understand the basics of sound we will look at what an oscilloscope is, and how it works. An oscilloscope is a device that displays the voltage over a period of time. When a signal is given to the ‘scope it draws the waveform on its display. The horizontal axis represents time and the vertical axis represents voltage. By looking at the waveform you can determine frequency, amplitude and phase. Frequency is measured in Hertz (Hz) or cycles per second, amplitude is measured in volts (V) and phase can be measured in degrees or radians.
The Basics of Sound
Sound is the result of something vibrating. When an object vibrates, it causes a disturbance in the air particles around it. These air particles bump into other air particles and so on. There is a very interesting relationship between how much these air particles are disturbed and how loud we perceive the sound to be. This is called the decibel scale.
The decibel scale is logarithmic, which means that every increase of 10 dB represents sound that is ten times more powerful (louder). The decibel scale also goes negative, which means that sounds below 0 dB are quieter than silence!
Sound Pressure Level (dB)
0 dB Threshold of hearing
10 dB Rustling leaves or light traffic
20 dB Quiet office or refrigerator hum
30-40 dB Conversation at home or quiet restaurant
50 dB Moderate rainfall
60-70 dB Lawnmower or noisy restaurant
80-90 dB Vacuum cleaner or hair dryer
100-110 dB Siren or jackhammer
This is a very basic introduction to some of the acoustic principles that are important for electronic musicians to know. There are many more topics that could be discussed but I am trying to keep this brief as much as possible.
For most electronic music we generally think of our sound sources as being in two categories, musical and non-musical. Musical sounds are those like a piano or guitar and non-musical sounds are just about anything else, like a car door slamming or an explosion. Generally speaking, many musical instruments produce their sound in the same way. For example, they usually involve some sort of vibrating object (string, body etc.) which causes neighboring air particles to move around in a regular way creating areas of high and low pressure – this is called “longitudinal” movement (as opposed to “transverse” movement where particles move left and right). The diagram below shows the air flow patterns created by a vibrating string – you can see the regular up and down motion of the string is transferred into a similar up and down motion of air molecules (dark blue) around it. The surrounding air particles then bump into other air particles causing them to vibrate in turn – this is how sounds waves travel through the air by setting off vibrations in
Musicians come in all shapes and sizes. Some are great at singing, some at playing instruments and others have a flair for writing music. However, there is one talent that seems to be increasing in popularity: electronic musicians.
The world of electronic music is a very diverse one. From the early days of synthesizers right up to modern techniques such as sampling and Ableton Live, there are many different ways for musicians to compose music using technology. But what exactly is an electronic musician? Is there more to it than just pressing play on a CD player? And what do you need to know to get started?
First off, it’s worth pointing out that there are two main types of electronic musician: Producer and DJ. A producer generally creates their own music from scratch using software like Logic Pro or Cubase. They will write the melodies, record the sounds, mix the tracks together and master the finished product. They may also perform live either by simply playing the track using a laptop or by using MIDI controllers with loops and other effects.
A DJ on the other hand doesn’t create any music themselves but instead mixes together tracks created by others in a way that’s entertaining for the audience. This usually involves beat matching (matching tempos between tracks) as well as