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Acoustics - Vibrations Of A String, Vibrations Of An Air Column, Sound Production In General, Transmission Of Sound - Production of sound

body material medium sounds

Acoustics is the science that deals with the production, transmission, and reception of sound. Sound may be produced when a material body vibrates; it is transmitted only when there is some material body, called the medium, that can carry the vibrations away from the producing body; it is received when a third material body, attached to some indicating device, is set into vibratory motion by that intervening medium. However, the only vibrations that are considered sound (or sonic vibrations) are those in which the medium vibrates in the same direction as the sound travels, and for which the vibrations are very small. When the rate of vibration is below the range of human hearing, the sound is termed infrasonic; when it is above that range, it is called ultrasonic. The term supersonic refers to bodies moving at speeds greater than the speed of sound, and is not normally involved in the study of acoustics.


There are many examples of vibrating bodies producing sounds. Some are as simple as a string in a violin or piano, or a column of air in an organ pipe or in a clarinet; some are as complex as the vocal chords of a human. Sound may also be caused by a large disturbance which causes parts of a body to vibrate, such as sounds caused by a falling tree.


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