Sound is something of an ephemeral phenomenon, existing in the moment that vibrations travel through the air. Those vibrations also exhibit distinct patterns, depending on frequency, which can be visualized by scattering a fine dust over a vibrating plate. This was the inspiration for Resonantia, an album whose…
Beneath the hum of ship traffic and the chatter of marine life, another sound is emanating from the Caribbean Sea. It’s far too low pitched for humans to hear, but its signature can be detected from space. Scientists have never seen—or heard—anything like it.
Most people have a modest two-octave vocal range when they sing, but some rare talents can manage five octaves or more. Think the late great, Freddie Mercury of Queen, or Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose, although composer-singer Tim Storms holds the Guinness World Record for the largest vocal range: a whopping 10 octaves.
Using machine learning, researchers from MIT have developed a system that produces sound effects that are so realistic they even fool human listeners.
The growing popularity of so-called “vocal fry,” particularly among young women, is either a hot new trend or the bane of cultured discourse, depending on who you ask. But when it comes to popular music, vocal fry actually enhances expressiveness.
Back in 2006, Nike introduced the high-performance SUMO 2 golf club driver, specially engineered to help golfers hit straighter shots, even for slightly off-center hits. There was just one problem: the newly designed club made an unpleasantly loud, tinny sound when it struck the ball—so much so, that most players…
Chances are you’ve seen the gorgeous patterns that sound waves produce when sand is sprinkled on a vibrating metal plate. Now French physicists have produced inverse versions of these patterns using microbeads suspended in a liquid. They described their work in a recent paper in Physical Review Letters.
Majestic North American elk are known for producing high-pitched, screeching calls that carry for miles, particularly during breeding season. Known as “bugling,” it sounds for all the world like the piercing shrieks of the Ringwraiths from Lord of the Rings. This has puzzled scientists, because the pitch of an…
Cheese, aubergine, ham, and tortillas are tasty in their own right, but in the hands of artist Matthew Herper, they also make beautiful music. He uses laser-etching to make edible—and still playable—record albums to explore the acoustical properties of food.
Violin makers routinely finish their instruments with a thick coat of varnish, the better to protect and preserve the wood. Now Swiss scientists claim that this varnish also plays a role in the overall sound quality of the instrument.
Deep rumbles, unearthly moans, high pitched screeching: these are but a few elements of the alien soundscape researchers have now recorded for the first time at Challenger Deep, the deepest known valley on the seafloor.
Every day, troves of hungry marine organisms—shrimp, jellyfish, squid and bony fish—migrate from the ocean’s murky depths to the surface. For the first time, marine biologists have captured the sound of their collective lunch outing. May it be the sonic backdrop to all of your future, jellyfish-induced nightmares.
It’s natural to think of sound as an exclusively auditory experience. But if you were to see a sound wave, what would it look like? Science photographer Linden Gledhill decided to find out using water and neon lights. And the result is some psychedelic synesthesia.
Here’s something for all you hardcore party animals: when you can’t get to the rave, you now have the option of the “Audiopill.” It’s a miniaturized sound system housed inside a plastic microcapsule that you can swallow to groove internally to those sweet beats. And yes, it’s as crazy dangerous as it sounds.
Walk into a roomful of people, and your first impression is just noise. Within seconds, you start to pick out words, phrases, and fragments of conversations. Soon you’ll be merrily chatting with friends, oblivious to the din around you. But most of us never stop to think about exactly how our brain manages to pick out…
The sounds bamboo chopsticks emit when they’re snapped in half are remarkably similar to the laws that govern the magnitude and frequency of earthquakes. Such insights could one day help engineers determine more precisely when a bridge or dam, for instance, might be about to fail.
Many have savored the arresting visual beauty of Raphael’s “Madonna del Prato” (1505). Now you can listen to it as well, thanks to a new series by Athens-based artist and physicist Yiannis Kranidiotis, who transformed this and other classic paintings into haunting digital soundscapes.
The first thing an architect or graphic designer will do at the start of a project is to produce some preliminary sketches — just to rough out their ideas on paper, perhaps augmented with computer-aided design software. But sound designers don’t have similar tools. A consortium of European researchers is seeking to…
Imagine attending a live concert where the musicians aren’t even in the performance space. Instead, they’re 500 miles away, playing their hearts out, while a holographic sound image of the music is mapped and then recreated in the performance space for your listening pleasure. It sounds like science fiction, but it’s…
You’ve probably watched enough Animal Planet to know that humpback whales communicate using clicks and whistles. But put on a pair of headphones and listen to the video above. Beneath the shrill chatter we’ve all heard before, there’s a much lower-pitched tone, eerily reminiscent of a human heartbeat.