What is sound?
Have you ever wondered what sounds really are? How a mother can recognize the sound of their baby’s cries, in a room full of babies or how a man can tell when his car’s engine is a little off? The answer is the science of sound waves.
The shortened scientific explanation of sounds is a series of compression and rarefaction waves traveling through a medium. I know that is a little over the top for most of us so I’ll break it down and make it a little simpler.
When anything creates sound, it doesn’t matter if it is a tuning fork, the human vocal cords, or the proverbial tree in the forest, what it is doing is creating areas of high (compression) and low (rarefaction) pressure in the air. It is literally pushing the air molecules’ around creating waves just like a pebble thrown into a still pond.
Waves become sound
Still, there is more, from a purely technical stand point; there is not a sound until these waves react with something like the human eardrum. So, no the tree doesn’t make a sound if no one hears it, it just makes waves.
When these waves strike the eardrum a magical thing happens. The eardrum vibrates with the pressure shifts from the air, transfers those vibrations through a set of small bones, until they become nerve impulses that our brains can interpret.
Sound as art
The wonder of all this science is that it provides so much beauty to our world. The variations of sound that can be produced in our world are endless. The sweet tweet of a Piccolo, the deep penetrating bravado of a French horn, the hard hitting thump of a Bass Drum and yes the sweet sound of a loved one’s voice are all products of sound.
There is now evidence that our brains can actually interpret sounds that we cannot consciously hear. That is how we distinguish that familiar voice from a background of sound and that is also the key to a wonderful new melding of science and art.
Every voice, every sound is unique to its producer. The human vocal cords are capable of such subtle nuances that we can recognize and react to them without thought and thanks to the science of voice printing we can now express these in a visual medium, Voice Art, if you will.
This wonderful new fusion of art and science takes your unique voice print (more unique than your fingerprint) and creates wonderful representations in a visual form. You can tell someone you love them, ask them to marry you or preserve your child’s first words for all time and in a way where it is hanging on your wall to be seen every day.