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Overview of How Pitches are Used

15 January, 2016 - 09:13
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The pitch of a sound is a quality related to its frequency and wavelength. In English we describe sounds with higher frequency (and shorter wavelength) as "sounding higher" or having a "higher pitch." Sounds that do not have a specific frequency (such as a cymbal crash or a drum hit) are unpitched. Sounds that slide quickly from one pitch to another (such as a siren or the chirping sound made by some birds) have variable pitch. Sounds that stay on a particular pitch long enough to be considered a sound with that pitch are called tones.

  • How is the use of unpitched and/or variable-pitch sounds typical or unusual for this type of piece? (For example, if the piece includes bird calls but no unpitched drums, is that typical of this type of piece?)
  • Are there any tones in the piece? (If the answer is no, skip the rest of the questions in the Pitch section.)