Sound Waves and Their Properties in the Surrounding Media

Sound Waves



Introduction to Sound Waves . . .

General Definitions

 General Properties

 The Substance of Sound

 Acoustic Vibrations

 Acoustic Wave Motion

 Vibrational Properties

Particle Vibration

Particle Displacement

Wave Vibration

Simple Waves, Complex Waves

Partial Tones

Musical Tones, Noise

Sound Frequency

Sound Amplitude

Sound Quality

Propagational Characteristics

Wave Motion

The Propagation of Sound Waves

The Velocity of Propagation

The Speed of Sound

The Direction of Sound

Longitudinal and Transverse Waves

Spherical Waves

Plane Waves

Sound Pressure

Sound Density

Sound Energy

Sound Intensity

Sound Duration

The Obstruction of Sound

The Obstruction of Sound

Sound Absorption

Acoustic Impedance

Incident Waves, Cross Waves

Sound Reflection

Sound Scattering

Sound diffraction

Shear Waves

Sound Refraction

Sound Interference

Wave Systems


Sound Interference

Stationary Waves

Sound Fluctuation

Combination Tones



The Source of Sound Waves

Acoustic Sound Sources

Traveling Waves

Standing Waves

Sound Dispersion

Surface Waves

Wave Modes Acting on a Solid Surface

Circular and Cylindrical Waves

Sympathetic Resonance

Wind and Whistle Tones

Shock Waves

Sounds Produced by the Translation of an Object Through a Medium

Radial Waves

Sound Waves Produced by the Rotation of a Solid Body

Acoustic Envelope

Acoustic Modulation

The Doppler Effect

Electrical Sound Sources

Sound Waves In Various Media

Sound Waves in Various Media

Ultra and Infrasound Waves

Microacoustic and Macroacoustic Waves

Thermal Waves

Sound Waves in Gas

Sound Waves in Gas

Sound Waves in the Atmosphere

Opticoacoustical Waves

Sound Waves Produced by Lightning


Sound Waves in Liquids

Sound Waves in Liquids

Sound Waves in the Hydrosphere

Acoustic Cavitation

Sound Waves in Organic and Inorganic Matter

Sound Waves in Solid Matter

Stress Waves in Crystalline Solids

Seismic Waves

Sound Waves in Organic Matter

Sound Waves in the Biosphere

Electrochemical Waves

Sound Waves in Plasmas and Superconductors

Sound Waves in a Plasma

Electroacoustic Waves

Electron Waves

Ion Waves

Electroacoustic Waves in a Semiconductor

Sound Waves in a Superconductor

Magnetoacoustic Waves

The Effect of Gravity and Magnetism on Sound Waves

Solar Waves

Sound Waves in the Interplanetary Medium

Sound Waves in the Interplanetary Medium

The Solar Wind

Sound Waves in the Interstellar Medium

Sound Waves in the Interstellar Medium

Galactic Waves

Sound Waves in the Intergalactic Medium

Sound Waves in the Intergalactic Medium

References and Acknowledgements



 (click to view)

The Acoustic Wave Spectrum is a poster-size artist’s edition of the first comprehensive acoustic wave chart. The 30×22 full color poster combines text and graphic symbols to represent the complete catalog of acoustic waves.


A slightly smaller acoustic wave chart has been included as a separate graphic companion to the audio disc Sound Unbound edited by Paul Miller aka D. J. Spooky, available at

Acoustic Wave Spectrum © John Holland 1997, American Sound Press