SOUND: Pitch, Dynamics, and Tone Colour

Sounds consistently besiege our ear: the sound of rainfall, laughter, birds chirping etc. Because of sound, we are informed of the occurences surrounding us. It is, thus, essential for communication. Taking note of sounds from others- such as chuckles, cries, and dialogue- allow us to observe and recognise their emotions. Although sound is communication at its core, quietness, too, communicates. For example, we believe that no vehicles are (passing down?) a street when there is stillness i.e. no presence of sound.


Sounds consistently besiege our ear: the sound of rainfall, laughter, birds chirping etc. Because of sound, we are informed of the occurences surrounding us. It is, thus, essential for communication. Taking note of sounds from others- such as chuckles, cries, and dialogue- allow us to observe and recognise their emotions. Although sound is communication at its core, quietness, too, communicates. For example, we believe that no vehicles are (passing down?) a street when there is stillness i.e. no presence of sound.


Sounds can be described as both unpleasant and pleasant. Luckily, we can avert our attention to sounds that intrigue and pleases us, disregarding the unpleasant ones. A 'composition' dubbed 4'33" by composer John Cage (1912–1992) may have intended to demonstrate this during a performance. What happened was thus: For exactly 4 minutes and 33 seconds, a pianist sat idle in front of the a piano. The audience, then- as a result of quietness- pays attention to noises and sounds that fill the room. These sounds are produced by them: shuffling, chatting, sighing, giggling etc. To experience this yourself, divert your attention to the distant sounds that fill the quietness.


So, what is "sound"? How is it produced and how do we actually hear it.


Sound exists when an object vibrates e.g. the banging of a hammer on an item or the tapping of a pen on a desk. Our ears perceive the vibrations via channeling. The medium is primarily air. Our eardrum respond vibrating as well. Our brain then receives signals which it organises and deciphers.


The art of music is essential in this universe that encompasses of sound. Music is set apart from other sounds by the four principles of melodial sounds. These are:


  1. Pitch

  2. Dynamics

  3. Tone Colour

  4. Duration

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