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47: Pitch & Frequency

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Lesson 47: Pitch & Frequency

This lesson explains what musical pitch "actually is", i.e. what happens in the physical world to make a pitch, and how we measure pitch.

First, a brief definition of sound: Sound is what happens when an object vibrates or "shakes"; the shaking object makes the air shake; and the shaking air makes your ear shake. Note that these "sound shakes" are too weak, and too fast, for your body to feel them, which is why we have ears that can feel them, as sound.

However, not all sounds have pitch. When the air shakes back and forth ("vibrates"), over and over, at a constant speed, long enough for your ear to "measure" the speed, that's when you hear a pitch. Slow vibrations make "low" pitches; fast vibrations make "high" pitches.

A pitch is measured by its frequency, which just means its "speed" in vibrations per second. Vibrations-per-second is also called Hertz; the abbreviation for Hertz is Hz. For example, the pitch "A above middle C" has a frequency of 440 Hz; that means that it's vibrating back and forth 440 times in a second.

If you understand pitches and their frequencies, then you can go on and learn how a single musical tone contains multiple frequencies, in Harmonics.

Lessons

1: Introduction
2: Practicing Songwriting
3: Pitch Names
4: Letters Game
5: Sharps & Flats
6: Half-Steps & Whole-Steps
7: Steps Game
8: Scales
9: Major Scale 1-2-3
10: Major 1-2-3 Games
11: Major Scale 1-5
12: Major 1-5 Games
13: Chords: Major Triads
14: Major Triad Games
15: Minor Triads
16: Minor Triad Games
17: Major Scale 1-8
18: Major Scale Games
19: Keys
20: Roman Numeral Chords
21: Scales Above 8
22: Diatonic Triads
23: Using Diatonics
24: Tonic Function
25: Subdominant & Dominant
26: Diatonic Function Analysis
27: Natural Minor Scale
28: Natural Minor Games
29: Minor Key Triads
30: 7th Chords
31: 7ths Games
32: Suspended-4th Chords
33: Time: Beats & Measures
34: Starting a Song: Hook Chords
35: Melody: Chord Tones
36: Treble Staff
37: Treble Staff Game
38: Note Lengths
39: Tied & Dotted Notes
40: Rhythm: Rests
41: Key Signatures
42: Diatonic 7ths
43: Non-Root-Bass Chords
44: Major Pentatonic Scale
45: Embellishing Tones
46: Melody Rhythm: Rolling Stone
47: Pitch & Frequency

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