Coppens, Alan B. Formerly, Physics Department, U.S. Navy Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.
Last reviewed:December 2018
Show previous versions
- Acoustic pressure
- Plane waves
- Harmonic waves
- Transient and continuous waves
- Standing waves
- Particle speed and displacement
- Description of sound
- Intensity, loudness, and the decibel
- Frequency and pitch
- Consonance and dissonance
- Frequency spectrum and timbre
- Propagation of sound
- Speed of sound
- Reflection and transmission
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The mechanical excitation of an elastic medium. A source of sound undergoes changes of shape, size, or position that disturb adjacent elements of the surrounding medium, causing them to move about their equilibrium positions. These disturbances in turn are transmitted elastically to neighboring elements. This chain of events propagates to larger and larger distances, constituting a wave traveling through the medium. If the wave contains the appropriate range of frequencies audible to humans—that is, not infrasonic or ultrasonic— and impinges on the ear, it generates the nerve impulses that are perceived as hearing (Fig. 1). See also: Hearing (human)
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information