01 Sound Science


To understand a sound

and how it behaves,

you must have a working knowledge

of the theory of waves.

Listen to these sound waves

and soon you’ll have found,
sound science in the science of sound.


A sound is a pressure wave moving in air.

Catching the wave is the job of the ear.

Each note wiggles a tiny hair,

and that’s how people hear.

A second definition of a sound would be

the way that it’s interpreted in biology.

Sound waves, transduction, electricity,

score a hundo P and sing along with me.


Track a wave and you will see

sound waves move at a certain speed.

Their velocity equals 343 (meters/second),

but 5 times faster for a whale in the sea.

A sound is a wave of a special kind

where wiggling and wave motion are aligned.

Other waves wiggle to the side instead

but sound waves wiggle

pointing straight ahead.

Ooh ooh sound wave (x3) that’s how people

Hearing is complex, so here we go.

Hair cell channels do something

that you should know.

Stretching while they wiggle is what hair cells do.

Channels open up and let some ions through.

Ions are electric so the sound waves change

into electric signals as they enter the brain.

And that is how we hear sounds like this song.

Just think about those signals as you sing along.


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