Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wiki: Music; Sound

Music is an art form whose medium is sound organized in time.

is vibration transmitted through a solid, liquid, or gas; particularly, sound means those vibrations composed of frequencies capable of being detected by ears.

Physics of sound

The mechanical vibrations that can be interpreted as sound are able to travel through all forms of matter: gases, liquids, solids, and plasmas. The matter that supports the sound is called the medium. Sound cannot travel through vacuum.

Longitudinal and transverse waves

Sinusoidal waves of various frequencies; the bottom waves have higher frequencies than those above. The horizontal axis represents time.

Sound is transmitted through gases, plasma, and liquids as longitudinal waves, also called compression waves. Through solids, however, it can be transmitted as both longitudinal and transverse waves. Longitudinal sound waves are waves of alternating pressure deviations from the equilibrium pressure, causing local regions of compression and rarefaction, while transverse waves in solids, are waves of alternating shear stress.

Matter in the medium is periodically displaced by a sound wave, and thus oscillates. The energy carried by the sound wave converts back and forth between the potential energy of the extra compression (in case of longitudinal waves) or lateral displacement strain (in case of transverse waves) of the matter and the kinetic energy of the oscillations of the medium.

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