Western TanagerSeptember/October 2010
Fig. 6. 2 upslurred notes.
Next here's part of a song that is a smooth “slur” thatrises and then falls in pitch and contains rich harmonics.You can see the harmonics as “shadows” above thedarker, fundamental pitch. By the way, the mottling or background “dots” of most audio spectrograms arecaused usually by the background noise present duringthe recording.
Fig. 7. Rich up/down slurs with harmonics.
If you take two sounds of different pitches but equalvolume and play them at the same time, you would hear them both at once and it would sound like a chord. TheAS would look like this:
Fig. 4 Sonogram of chords.
Now let’s take five sounds and stack them on top of each other. This time we’ll make all but the lowest muchsofter and place each an octave higher than the next.Instead of sounding like a chord, it would sound like justone pitch, the pitch of the lowest note. However it wouldsound much richer than a simple sine wave. If youremember back to your physics class again, this is whathappens when a bow excites a string and the resultingsound consists of one or more harmonics. The moreharmonics, the richer sounding the sound.
Fig. 5. Pitches showing fundamental with harmonics.
When you are reading a sonogram for a bird song,it's important to remember that the more harmonicsvisible in the audio spectrogram, the richer the sound.Moving closer to how bird audio spectrograms mightlook, here’s how two simple up-slurred tones wouldlook. Notice they start low and end higher.