Sound : Waveforms – Four Octaves

KS3/4 physics: how different sounds create a range of waveforms This short demonstration on waveforms is ideal for use as a lesson starter on sound. It can be used with KS3/4 classes.

A physicist plays his saxophone, using an oscilloscope to show the waveform of the saxophone’s sound. He then plays ranges of notes, in low and high octaves, watching the oscilloscope to monitor the changing shape of the sounds.

The question posed for students is: What’s happening to the shape of the wave?

See the accompanying teachers’ notes for a full explanation of the science underpinning the demonstration, plus suggested extension activities.

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