Hearbirds.com : Introduction to Bird Song

Why birds sing

About the voice box, the syrinx

About sound "pictures"



About sound "pictures"

Song "pictures" show rhythm and pitch. These are called sound spectrograms, sometimes referred to as sonograms. The visual display reinforces what you hear. The markings in the example below represent the notes of a bird song, similar to the way musical notation represents a melody.


In this graph, the blue color indicates the sound intensity of the song notes. The horizontal length of a marking indicates the duration of the note, usually fractions of a second for bird notes. The vertical scale is kilohertz, and the horizontal scale is time in seconds. High pitch notes are drawn higher in the picture than low pitch notes.

You can make similar sketches on your own. Drawings help you remember what you hear.

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