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English definition

Sunday 2 January 2005, by Rob Weale

The rate of repetition of the cycles of a periodic quantity, such as a sound wave. Thus, frequency is the inverse of the period. More generally, frequency can be thought of as the rate of change of phase. Frequency is denoted by the symbol f, and is measured in hertz (Hz) - formerly called cycles per second (cps or c/s) - kilohertz (kHz), or megahertz (mHz). The only sound which consists of a single frequency is the pure sine tone. All other sounds are complex, consisting of a number of frequencies of greater or lesser intensity. The frequency content of a sound is its spectrum. The subjective sense of frequency is called pitch. That is, frequency is an acoustic variable, whereas pitch is a psychoacoustic one. (Source: Barry Truax - Handbook for Acoustic Ecology CD-ROM Edition. Cambridge Street Publishing, 1999 - CSR-CDR 9901)

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