Properties of Sound

Sound is a vibration that travels through the medium in the form of longitudinal waves. This means that sound waves are waves in which the particles of the medium vibrate parallel to the direction of wave propagation. Sound waves are called mechanical waves since they require a medium to propagate. The medium can be solids, liquids or gases.

5 Important Properties of Sound

Property 1: Pitch/Frequency

The perception of frequency of sound by human ear within the range of human hearing is called the pitch. The higher the frequency of the sound the higher is its pitch and a lower frequency means a lower pitch. Frequency is the number of periodic compression and rarefaction cycles that occurs each second as the wave propagates through the medium.

Property 2: Amplitude/Loudness

The amplitude of the sound waves determines its loudness. The amplitude of the sound is a measure of the magnitude of the maximum disturbance of sound. The amplitude is also a measure of the energy of vibration. More energetic vibration causes a larger amplitude.

Property 3: Speed

The speed at which the sound waves travel through the medium is called the speed of sound. The speed of sound is different for different mediums. Sound travels fastest in solids since the atoms in a solid are closely packed.

Property 4: Reflection of sound

When sound waves hit the surface of a solid or light, it bounces back to the same medium. This is called the reflection of sound. Sound waves, like light waves, follow the laws of reflection.

Property 5: Timbre

Timbre is the property used to differentiate sounds of the same frequency. Timbre depends on the material through which the sound is produced.

Frequently Asked Questions on Properties of Sound

Can sound waves travel in the vacuum?

No, sound waves require a material medium for propagation.

What is the nature of sound waves?

Sound waves are longitudinal in nature.

Why is the voice of a woman shriller than that of a man?

Shrillness depends upon frequency. Since the frequency of a woman’s voice is more than that of a man, the voice of a woman is shriller than that of a man.

What are ultrasonic waves?

The waves whose frequencies are greater than 20,000 Hz.

Test your Knowledge on Sound