How can the human ear differentiate between sounds?
The sound waves
The human ear differentiates between the sounds that reach it through the different factors which are the sound pitch, the sound intensity and the sound quality.
The sound pitch
The sound pitch is a property by which the ear can distinguish between the rough and the sharp voices, The sound is described as high pitched or low pitched, where the high pitched sound is sharp (soft), and the low pitched sound is rough (hard).
You noticed that the voice of the women is high pitched as it is sharp, and the voice of the men is low pitched as it is rough, When the sharpness of the voices increases, the level of the voice (the sound pitch) gets higher.
|Low pitch sound of the guitar and the high pitch sound of a whistle.|
The sound pitch depends on the frequency of the sound source, and the sound pitch increases by increasing the frequency and vice versa.
The sound intensity
The sound intensity is the property by which the ear can distinguish between the sounds either strong or weak, Every sound around us has a level of sound intensity.
You notice that the shouting is stronger than the whispering, and the drum produces strong sound when it is beaten strongly, and it produces weak sound when it is beaten softly.
|The level of the sound intensity changes from one person to another.|
The factors affecting the sound intensity
The sound intensity at a point depends on the distance between the ear, and the sound source.
It depends on the amplitude of the vibration of the sound source.
It depends on the direction of the wind, and the area of the vibrating surface.
It depends on the density of the medium through which the sound travels.
The sound quality
The sound quality (type) is the property by which the human ear can distinguish between the different sounds according to the nature of the source even if they are equal in the intensity and the pitch.
The harmonic tones
|The human can distinguishe between the sounds from the different sources.|
The harmonic tones are tones that accompany the fundamental tone, but they are lower in the intensity and higher in the pitch, and differ from one instrument to another.
The human ear distinguishes between the sounds from the different sources even if they are equal in intensity and the pitch due to the harmonic tones that associate the fundamental tone of the source of the sound and are lower in intensity and higher in the pitch.