Difference between Sound, Noise & Music

What is a Sound?

A sound is what we hear, right? That’s it? Is it that simple? Physicists tend to complicate things; they define sound as a vibration that propagates the mechanical wave of pressure and displacement, through a medium that can be any matter. Sound just got complicated!

The first statement of the above paragraph is as correct as the rest. What we hear is the effect produced due to the to-and-fro motion of the particles in any medium. The to-and-fro motion is termed as vibration. Sound moves through a medium by alternately contracting and expanding parts of the medium which it is travelling through. This expansion and compression create a minute pressure difference that we perceive as sound. Hence, it is a mechanical wave of pressure and displacement. In other words, sound is the thin line between Noise And Music

Types of Sound

Sounds are of many types, depending on the pitch, loudness, amplitude and frequency of the sound wave, but not all of them please our sense of hearing. Depending on whether we like it or not, the sound is broadly classified into noise and music. Music is what pleases our sense of hearing. It depends on numerous factors and varies from person to person. On the other hand, the definition of noise is hazy, it’s not clear. The boundaries that separate musical sound from noise is blurry. What is music to someone, can be a noise to somebody else.


How do we create Noise?

Our ideas about objects in the case of both visual and auditory is subjective, as it depends from person to person. A person who listens to bands like Linkin Park or Rage against the Machine will love the loud music but it is not the same with the one who prefers classical music or soft music. To that person, the rock music will feel like noise. Due to this, the definition of Noise is confined as many different versions of sound which is unwanted, mainly because it cannot be heard clearly due to the mixing of sounds or due to the loud and jarring nature of the sound. One cannot try to increase or decrease noise. It just enters the system as you make sounds. noise is everywhere, even when we are talking to each other in a room. In your classroom, if you talk while your teacher is teaching, you’re creating noise in the system.


In a nutshell, we can say that there is no such line that separates noise from music; the distinguishing line is highly subjective.

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Practise This Question

The following spring block systems having same mass of the block and same spring constants were stretched or compressed to different lengths (x) and released. Match the following: