The Nature of Sound

February 19, 2008 - By

Isn’t sound fascinating?

Ryan sings into the mic, a bass guitar is strummed, Miles hits the drums. Ryan’s vocal chords pass noise through vibrations in the air, this air vibrates a membrane in a magnet-filled tube called a microphone. These vibrations move as signals through wires into a recording device. The CPU interprets this sound as a collection of zeroes and ones. The sound of the vocals, bass and drums are captured visually as a single sine wave. Sound has been born and captured.

To look at this recorded sound wave you could think that it was one sound. Press play! The CPU reads the zeros and ones back and sends electrical signals to a magnet-filled box called a speaker. It vibrates a membrane, which moves the sound waves through the air. The recorded sound is reborn, and released back into the wild.

This sound now travels through the air and is captured by your amazingly shaped ears. The sound has no choice but to travel into your inner ear and move around some little hairs. Your brain interprets this as sound; and you “hear”.

You are hearing that one sound wave played back, but your amazing brain has broken this one sound into several parts: some words being sung, a stringed intrument being played, and drums being hit. At this point your brain may release some endorphins as a sign that you are pleased with what you hear.

Isn’t that amazing? It’s beautifully complex and perfect. I for one take this for granted.
I do not believe we evolved into these translators. I believe we were created this way.


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This post was written by ArleyM