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The Physics Of Sound

The physics of sound is what this little article shall be covering as this is a
very important area of sound design and music in a whole, this area is also
called Acoustics this small article should hopefully cover some of the facts
you didnt (or needed to) know for whatever course, work or trial you may be
doing. Let us begin.
Envelopes
Firstly we shall discuss what a envelope is in terms of music, what one is
used for and how it helps to make a song. Well, an envelope is used in music
quite a lot. Attack, Sustain, Decay, Release. These for words make up the
meaning of ASDR, a set of letters very closely related to Envelopes as they
help make up the shape of the sound. The envelope of an instrument is its
characteristic relating to time and intensity, often called its shape, this is made
up by ASDR, the attack is usually the large portion of the waveform, the
highest bit, then you have release which is when you release that note, the
waveform goes down into sustain where the note is still heard but is getting
quitter by the second and then we have decay where the note fades away
completely and can no longer be heard, that is the steps of ASDR. We can
see the envelope of instruments by looking at their waveforms as they make
up a shape or some description all the time.
Beats
Another terminology we use in music is beats. Beats mean many things, for
example, in film, a beat is the moment a characters emotion changes but we
arent here for film, we are here for music, of course. A beat in musical terms
is, well, a beat, like a drum beat, its the rhythm essentially. It is the basic unit
of time in a song and is used to keep a pulse going throughout the whole
melody. Another way you can look at it is like a part of the song you tap your
foot to or the things a musician counts when performing. If we look at beats,
we need to look at downbeat, upbeat, off beat and on beat respectively. Being
downbeat in a song is being the first beat in a bar, being upbeat is being the
last beat in that same bar and therefore anticipating the downbeat of the next
bar, its a way to label the beginning and ending of a bar in the
instrumentation. Being off beat in a bar means you are a weaker note, these
notes being the second and fourth in a bar, or rather beats instead of notes,
being on beat is being the first and third beat in a bar as these are usually the
loudest and have the strongest accent in the melody and are the likeliest
places for a chord change. Off beat therefore focuses much more on the
syncopation of the weaker beats in a bar as opposed to the usual on beat
ones.

Phase
Phasing in music is very odd but very impressive at the same time if pulled off
correctly. Basically, its when you have two instruments and you play the exact
same thing on them in slightly different tempi, this basically makes a weird
effect where the melody will flip in and out of time with each other. Usually at
first theres a small echo as they play slightly behind one another, then we
have a larger doubling effect because they are now playing exactly in time
before creating a confusing ringing sound due to sliding back into echo then
doubling and finally once more into unison.
Harmonics
Harmonics in music is where each sound in a sequence of sounds has the
base frequency that is an integral multiple of the lowest base frequency. A
harmonic can also be described as a single tone produced on a stringed
instrument by lightly touching an open or stopped vibrating string at a given
fraction of its length so that both segments vibrate, also called overtone or
partial tone.