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What is the Highest and Lowest Pitches that Most People Can Sing?

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Updated on Aug 31, 2012

Grade Level: 6th - 8th; Type: Physics

Objective:

Discover the highest and lowest pitches most people can sing.

Research Questions:

  • How does an oscilloscope work to determine sound frequency?
  • What are the typical voice frequencies of men and women?

The human voice throws energy into the molecules of the air, which causes them to vibrate at a rate we call frequency. In this experiment, we'll try to map the range of the human voice, from very low to very high.

Materials:

  • Oscilloscope
  • Microphone
  • 20 test subjects divided evenly between men and women
  • Pen and paper for notes

Experimental Procedure

  1. Read the manual of your oscilloscope to get used to the controls.
  2. Connect the microphone to the oscilloscope.
  3. Ask your test subject to sing in the highest pitch they can and hold the note.
  4. Check the oscilloscope and record the displayed frequency.
  5. Ask your test subject to sing in the lowest pitch they can and hold the note.
  6. Check the oscilloscope and record the displayed frequency.
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 for all test subjects.
  8. Compare and find the average high and low frequencies for your test group.

Suggested Chart

Highest Pitch

Lowest Pitch

Test Subject #1

#2

#3

Terms/Concepts: Frequency; Voice; Oscilloscope; Sound waves; Voicebox/larynx

References:

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