# Frequency, Pitch and Range – A Pictorial Guide

These pictures will help you understand the concepts of pitch and frequency.

Here is a collection of images to help with understanding frequency, pitch and range.

The sound of your singing voice is, from a physics point of view, a wave of particles. When we want to measure what a certain note is, this is done by speaking in terms of the number of waves that pass by a certain point in one second.

A high note is one where there are more waves per second, or a higher frequency of waves per second. A low note is where there are less waves per second – a lower frequency of waves per second.

For those who like a bit of technical information: waves are measured in Hertz (Hz). 1 Hz = one wave per second. That’s a very slow sound wave! It is so slow – and therefore so low – that the human ear cannot pick it up. The lowest note on a piano (the A0) is about 27 Hz – human hearing typically begins at 20HZ It is the speed of waves that determines whether or not a note is high or low.

Our system of octaves has a mathematical side: take a look at the illustration below to see that when you double or halve the number of Hertz, you are jumping an octave. Doubling or halving the number of Hertz causes a note to jump up or down an octave.

It will be helpful for singers to know that octaves have numerical designations. The reason this is handy is that, once you have determined your singing range, you will be able to express it in short hand. For example, ‘My range is E3 to A5.’

Western music typically divides an octave into 12 parts, known as semitones. You will see that as you ascend up through the semitones, their frequencies increase (i.e. they have a greater number of Hertz). Take a look at one octave and the frequencies of each semi-tone: