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Section Vocabulary
 Pitch-
the highness or lowness of
 Hertz-
unit used to measure the
frequency of a sound wave
 Octave- A series
of 8 notes
Many people find it hard to be good
singers. The most difficult part of singing
is hitting the highest and lowest pitches.
Pitch is the highness or lowness of
A sound wave’s frequency directly
effects the pitch of a sound.
Remember, frequency is the
measurement of the amount of waves
produced each second.
High pitched sounds produce many
waves per second and so have a high
Low pitched sounds produce fewer
sound waves per second and so have a
lower frequency.
The frequency of a sound wave is
measured in a unit called hertz.
Some animals, including humans, have
a certain range of frequencies that they
can hear and a range that they can
Look at the chart below. People can
hear sounds as low as 20Hz and as high
as 20,000 Hz. How does that compare
to other animals?
Pitch and Music
If you have ever played the piano, you
know that the keyboard is divided into
octaves. Each series of 8 notes makes
up an octave.
Pitch and Music
Looking at the this piano, we see that
there are more than one C. Middle C is
shown as having a frequency of 264Hz.
The C that is 8 steps above has a
frequency of 528Hz, exactly double the
Pitch and Music
What does this explain…..
 It could explain why when playing both C’s,
they sound so similar.
The graph on the next page shows the
frequency range for a number of musical
instruments and for human voices.
Pitch and Music
As you can see Male voices can reach
much lower pitches than Women and
Women can reach much higher pitches
than Males.
Musical Highs and Lows
If you have ever played the guitar, you
know that thicker strings produce the
lower notes and the thinner stings
produce the higher notes.
The guitar player changes the length of
the strings by holding the string down
against the frets, the bars on the guitar
Musical Highs and Lows
Also at the top of the guitar there are pegs
that are used to change the tension on the
strings. If the string is loosened by the peg,
the pitch will sound lower.
Wind instruments are a little different. Their
pitch is controlled by the length of the
vibrating column of air. The shorter the
column of air, the greater the frequency of
vibrations and the higher the pitch.
Controlling Loudness
The amplitude of the sound waves
produced by musical instruments is
heard as loudness.
 Example:
 Sting Instruments- Stronger pluck= louder
 Wind Instruments- Hard the musician
blows= louder sound
 Percussions Instruments- Harder strike of
the object= louder sound