When we learn new concepts or terms, we often try to relate them to each other or to something we already know. This can help us remember and understand them better. However, sometimes we may make incorrect or misleading associations that can confuse us or lead to errors. In this article, we will look at some examples of such incorrect pairings of terms and explain why they are wrong. We will also provide some tips on how to avoid making these mistakes and how to check if our pairings are correct.
Frequency and Loudness
One of the most common incorrect pairings of terms is frequency and loudness. Frequency is a measure of how many times a sound wave repeats itself in a given time, usually expressed in hertz (Hz). Loudness is a measure of how intense or strong a sound is, usually expressed in decibels (dB). Frequency and loudness are not directly related, meaning that a higher frequency does not necessarily imply a higher loudness, and vice versa. For example, a dog whistle has a very high frequency, but it is not very loud. A jet engine has a very low frequency, but it is very loud.
The reason why frequency and loudness are not directly related is that loudness depends on other factors besides frequency, such as amplitude, distance, and the sensitivity of the listener’s ear. Amplitude is a measure of how high or low a sound wave is, usually expressed in meters. Distance is a measure of how far the sound source is from the listener. The sensitivity of the listener’s ear is a measure of how well the ear can detect different frequencies and amplitudes. These factors affect how loud a sound is perceived by the listener.
To avoid confusing frequency and loudness, we should always use the appropriate units and terms to describe them. We should also remember that frequency and loudness are independent of each other, and that changing one does not necessarily affect the other. We can also use tools such as frequency analyzers and sound level meters to measure frequency and loudness objectively.
Quality and Frequency
Another incorrect pairing of terms is quality and frequency. Quality is a measure of how complex or simple a sound is, usually expressed in terms of harmonics, overtones, or timbre. Frequency is a measure of how many times a sound wave repeats itself in a given time, usually expressed in hertz (Hz). Quality and frequency are not the same thing, meaning that a higher quality does not necessarily imply a higher frequency, and vice versa. For example, a violin and a flute can play the same note with the same frequency, but they have different qualities. A violin has a richer and more complex quality, while a flute has a purer and simpler quality.
The reason why quality and frequency are not the same thing is that quality depends on the shape and composition of the sound wave, not just on its repetition rate. The shape and composition of the sound wave are determined by the source of the sound, such as the instrument, the voice, or the object. The source of the sound can produce different harmonics and overtones, which are additional frequencies that are multiples or fractions of the fundamental frequency. The harmonics and overtones give the sound its characteristic timbre, which is the distinctive quality of the sound.
To avoid confusing quality and frequency, we should always use the appropriate units and terms to describe them. We should also remember that quality and frequency are different aspects of sound, and that changing one does not necessarily affect the other. We can also use tools such as spectrograms and oscilloscopes to visualize the shape and composition of the sound wave.
In this article, we have seen two examples of incorrect pairings of terms: frequency and loudness, and quality and frequency. We have explained why they are wrong and how to avoid making these mistakes. We have also suggested some tools that can help us measure and understand these terms better. By avoiding these incorrect pairings of terms, we can improve our knowledge and communication of sound and acoustics.