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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Intensity (Amplitude)

Another important property of musical tone is the intensity—also known as the volume, or how loud or soft the sound is. While the frequency is governed by the length of the sound waves, the intensity is governed by their height. The wave height can also be referred to as the wave amplitude. To understand this, think of the waves in the sea. Huge, high waves carry more energy than small, shallow ones. It is the same with sound. High-amplitude sound waves produce sounds of loud volume, compared to low-amplitude sounds, which produce sounds of a softer volume. Consequently, an increase of amplitude will register to the ear as an increase in volume, and vice versa. So Figure 1.8 denotes a musical note that is getting louder. ...

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