Topic covered

`color{red} ♦` INTRODUCTION
`color{red} ♦` PRODUCTION OF SOUND


Sound is a form of energy which produces a sensation of hearing in our ears. There are also other forms of energy like mechanical energy, heat energy, light energy etc.

We have talked about mechanical energy in the previous chapters. You have been taught about conservation of energy, which states that we can neither create nor destroy energy.

We can just change it from one form to another. When you clap, a sound is produced. Can you produce sound without utilising your energy?

Which form of energy did you use to produce sound? In this chapter we are going to learn how sound is produced and how it is transmitted through a medium and received by our ear.


Activity _____________`12.1`

♦ Take a tuning fork and set it vibrating by striking its prong on a rubber pad. Bring it near your ear.
♦ Do you hear any sound?
♦ Touch one of the prongs of the vibrating tuning fork with your finger and share your experience with your friends.
♦Now, suspend a table tennis ball or a small plastic ball by a thread from a support [Take a big needle and a thread, put a knot at one end of the thread, and then with the help of the needle pass the thread through the ball]. Touch the ball gently with the prong of a vibrating tuning fork (Fig. 12.1).
♦ Observe what happens and discuss with your friends.

Activity _____________ `12.2`

♦ Fill water in a beaker or a glass up to the brim. Gently touch the water surface with one of the prongs of the vibrating tuning fork, as shown in Fig. 12.2.

♦ Next dip the prongs of the vibrating tuning fork in water, as shown in Fig. 12.3.

♦ Observe what happens in both the cases.
♦ Discuss with your friends why this happens.

From the above activities what do you conclude? Can you produce sound without a vibrating object?

In the above activities we have produced sound by striking the tuning fork. We can also produce sound by plucking, scratching, rubbing, blowing or shaking different objects. As per the above activities what do we do to the objects?

We set the objects vibrating and produce sound. Vibration means a kind of rapid to and fro motion of an object. The sound of the human voice is produced due to vibrations in the vocal cords.

When a bird flaps its wings, do you hear any sound? Think how the buzzing sound accompanying a bee is produced. A stretched rubber band when plucked vibrates and produces sound. If you have never done this, then do it and observe the vibration of the stretched rubber band.

Activity _____________`12.3`

♦ Make a list of different types of musical instruments and discuss with your friends which part of the instrument vibrates to produce sound.


Sound is produced by vibrating objects. The matter or substance through which sound is transmitted is called a medium.

It can be solid, liquid or gas. Sound moves through a medium from the point of generation to the listener. When an object vibrates, it sets the particles of the medium around it vibrating.

The particles do not travel all the way from the vibrating object to the ear. A particle of the medium in contact with the vibrating object is first displaced from its equilibrium position.

It then exerts a force on the adjacent particle. As a result of which the adjacent particle gets displaced from its position of rest. After displacing the adjacent particle the first particle comes back to its original position. This process continues in the medium till the sound reaches your ear.

The disturbance created by a source of sound in the medium travels through the medium and not the particles of the medium.

A wave is a disturbance that moves through a medium when the particles of the medium set neighbouring particles into motion. They in turn produce similar motion in others.

The particles of the medium do not move forward themselves, but the disturbance is carried forward. This is what happens during propagation of sound in a medium, hence sound can be visualised as a wave. Sound waves are characterised by the motion of particles in the medium and are called mechanical waves.

Air is the most common medium through which sound travels. When a vibrating object moves forward, it pushes and compresses the air in front of it creating a region of high pressure. This region is called a compression (C), as shown in Fig. 12.5.

This compression starts to move away from the vibrating object. When the vibrating object moves backwards, it creates a region of low pressure called rarefaction (R), as shown in Fig. 12.5.

As the object moves back and forth rapidly, a series of compressions and rarefactions is created in the air. These make the sound wave that propagates through the medium. Compression is the region of high pressure and rarefaction is the region of low pressure.

Pressure is related to the number of particles of a medium in a given volume. More density of the particles in the medium gives more pressure and vice versa. Thus, propagation of sound can be visualised as propagation of density variations or pressure variations in the medium.

Q 3235601562

A sound wave has a frequency of `2 k H z` and wave length `35 cm`. How long will it take to travel `1.5 km`?
Class 9 Chapter 12 Example 1

Frequency, `ν = 2 kHz = 2000 Hz`
Wavelength, `λ = 35 cm = 0.35 m`
We know that speed, `v` of the wave `=` wavelength frequency
`v = λ ν`
`= 0.35 m xx 2000 Hz = 700 m//s`

The time taken by the wave to travel a distance, d of `1.5 km` is
Thus sound will take `2.1 s` to travel a distance of `1.5 km`.


Sound is a mechanical wave and needs a material medium like air, water, steel etc. for its propagation. It cannot travel through vacuum, which can be demonstrated by the following experiment.

Take an electric bell and an airtight glass bell jar. The electric bell is suspended inside the airtight bell jar. The bell jar is connected to a vacuum pump, as shown in Fig. 12.6.

If you press the switch you will be able to hear the bell. Now start the vacuum pump. When the air in the jar is pumped out gradually, the sound becomes fainter, although the same current is passing through the bell.

After some time when less air is left inside the bell jar you will hear a very feeble sound. What will happen if the air is removed completely? Will you still be able to hear the sound of the bell?


♦ Take a slinky. Ask your friend to hold one end. You hold the other end. Now stretch the slinky as shown in Fig. 12.7 (a). Then give it a sharp push towards your friend.
♦ What do you notice? If you move your hand pushing and pulling the slinky alternatively, what will you observe?
♦If you mark a dot on the slinky, you will observe that the dot on the slinky will move back and forth parallel to the direction of the propagation of the disturbance.

The regions where the coils become closer are called compressions (C) and the regions where the coils are further apart are called rarefactions (R). As we already know, sound propagates in the medium as a series of compressions and rarefactions.

Now, we can compare the propagation of disturbance in a slinky with the sound propagation in the medium. These waves are called longitudinal waves.

In these waves the individual particles of the medium move in a direction parallel to the direction of propagation of the disturbance. The particles do not move from one place to another but they simply oscillate back and forth about their position of rest.

This is exactly how a sound wave propagates, hence sound waves are longitudinal waves.

There is also another type of wave, called a transverse wave. In a transverse wave particles do not oscillate along the line of wave propagation but oscillate up and down about their mean position as the wave travels.

Thus a transverse wave is the one in which the individual particles of the medium move about their mean positions in a direction perpendicular to the direction of wave propagation.

Light is a transverse wave but for light, the oscillations are not of the medium particles or their pressure or density it is not a mechanical wave. You will come to know more about transverse waves in higher classes.