Sound Physics: The Difference Between Sound and Noise
Musical sounds are periodic and somewhat regular. They are pleasing to our ears and minds, and sound has been one of the greatest forms of expression since the beginning of time. Unpleasant sound is often described as noise. Noise is more irregular. When looking at the waveform, a visual representation of sound, music has more patterns and gradual variances in volume, but noise is jagged and sporadic.
What is or is not auditory "noise" often depends on who is listening. Tapping a pencil on a desk may be rhythmic and musical to someone, but an irritating noise to another.
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