What is Frequency? (The Introduction)

Have you ever thought about what makes sound – a sound? Everyone loves listening to a wonderful arrangement of sounds which is commonly referred to as music. While this is true, however, not many people wander into the idea discovering the mysteries behind sound. If you are among those folks who have long been searching for discussions that would enlighten you with this topic, you have found the right article. Read further.

In this page, you will learn about one of the fundamental components of sound – frequency.
Frequency, when you talk about sound, is the number of sound waves/wavelengths passing through a fixed place in a particular period of time. With this being said, if sound wave requires half-a-second for it to pass a given space, there is a frequency of 2 for every second. In the same way, if it would take 1/50 in 30 minutes, the frequency of the sound is 50 per 30 minutes or 50/0.5 hr.

Whenever you study sound frequency, you can never avoid encountering the term “hertz”. Generally, the frequency of sound is measured in terms of Hertz (or Hz when abbreviated). This unit of measurement is named after Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (19th century), a German physicist who was the first person to prove that the theory of the presence of “electromagnetic waves” by James Clerk Maxwell is true. Hertz is interpreted as the number of waves or vibrations for every second. For example, if you bang a huge church bell and it vibrates at around 500 Hz in one second, it has a frequency of 500 Hz per second. This figure may go lower or higher as the sound waves are affected by a certain variable such as distance and blockage.

The frequency of sound waves is generally classified into two categories: high-frequency sound waves and low-frequency sound waves. Bear in mind that the volume (loudness or softness) of sound does not necessarily determine the frequency of sound. A particular sound can be loud but has low frequency and vice-versa.

To clearly illustrate, imagine a continuous curve line going up and down from left to right or vice-versa. This is how sound wave is represented. The number of curves that is being counted within a second determines the frequency. If there are 5 curves that pass in a time frame of a second, you have 5Hz/sec. The more that a curve line gets straightened means the lower its frequency can be.

These days, there are a lot of state of the art devices that can determine the real-time frequency of sound waves, no matter how fast or slow its wavelengths move. Using such devices, you will be amazed by the fact that even a single press on the piano’s “A” key can register thousands of wavelengths in an unbelievable frequency. Now, try imagining how massive and diverse the sound frequency a whole musical piece can have.

Appreciation of something depends on how you know about it. Now that you’ve learned how complicated sound patterns can be, you have probably learned how wondrous indeed the gift of sound is.