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44: Pitch & Frequency

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Lesson 44: 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.

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Lessons

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

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