What Is Pitch?
The relative height of a sound, ranging from high to low.
Here are a few different pitches. Each of these are at a different height.
The three pitches in the soundfile above might be described respectively as Low, Medium and High.
Beyond Traditional Ideas of Pitch
This is a pitched sound. A sine tone is the most simple pitched sound.You can see the simplicity and the focus of this sound energy by looking at a spectrogram of the sound.
This is a spectrogram of a triangle wave. A single triangle wave is itself made up of many individual pitches, we see them here as stripes.
What Causes Pitch?
Pitched sounds are caused by regular vibrations. If an object vibrates in a regular way (moving back and forth smoothly), then it will create a pitched sound. The less regular the sound vibrates, then the noisier it is. We can experience this by rubbing our finger around the damp rim of a glass to make it sing.
- Ask someone at home if you can borrow a wine glass (or any glass with a stem).
- Pick a glass that makes a good ring when you tap it.
- Wet your finger and the rim of the glass.
Then, while holding the glass firmly with your non-writing hand, take the first finger of your writing hand and rub it smoothly and steadily around the rim of the glass.
By changing the level of liquid in the glass, it is possible to change the pitch. This is because the liquid dampens the vibrations where it touches the glass, thus changing the amount of the glass which is free to vibrate.
The more liquid in the glass, the smaller the surface that can vibrate and the higher the pitch produced.This process is similar to the way in which changing the length of a string on a guitar or violin will change the pitch made (shorter string = higher pitch).
Changing the Pitch
This is the original unedited recording.
Try to use a mixture of high, medium and low pitched sounds in your compositions.Using a range of different pitches allows you to fill up the whole sound range and provide a much richer soundscape.