Intro  A good detective uses all of their senses and never leaves a stone – or a sound – unturned! If you want to be able to discuss sounds with your team, you are going to need to learn a thing or two about the language of sound. Whether you come across some wondrous music or a ghastly shriek, these terms will help you describe it like the best detectives!  The Basics  These first few terms are the building blocks of sounds. We use them just about any time we are talking about sound!  Sound is simply vibrations that travel through the air, like ripples in a pond, that land in your ear so you can hear them!   Pitch is whether the sound is high, low, or anything in between! Santa Claus has a nice low laugh while a mouse has a high little squeak. In music, we use notes to figure out which pitch an instrument should play for the song.  Frequency is a term that scientists use to measure pitch.  Loudness is how powerful a sound wave is. A quiet sound is like a ripple in a pond while a loud sound is like a tidal wave at the beach!Descriptors  An Echo is a sound that repeats itself a moment after it’s made. It happens when a sound flies through the air, bounces off something far away, and flies all the way back to your ear! All that flying takes time, leading to that delay. If you shout at the top of the mountain, you might hear an ECHO… echo….e c h o…  Bubbly is a popping sound made by lots of bubbles. Bubbles are filled with air. When they pop the air shoots out and makes a noise!  Sizzling is the sound food makes when you heat it up on a pan. Actually, sizzling is a kind of high pitched bubbling! The water and juices in the food boil on the pan making lots of really tiny popping bubbles. We call that sizzling! Q: Do you think a soda can is more of a bubbling sound or a sizzling sound?  Buzzing sounds like a lot of Z’s strung together. Like this: Zzzzzzzzzz! Insects buzz because their tiny wings are moving really fast, vibrating the air around them.   Wet is when a sound has something to do with water or some other liquid. It could be anything from mud to slime to rain! This is where your trenchcoat can really come in handy. A Crunch is when something hard is squished or crushed down. This could be as quiet as a crunching leaf or as loud as crushing a car! Crunching can be loud, which is why you should never pack carrots for a stakeout!  A Splat is a wet sounds that happens when something squishy hits something hard, like accidentally dropping an egg on the floor! That’s why you should never, ever put all of the eggs in one basket.   A Slam is a loud sound when something hard hits something else that’s hard, like a door closing. Remember, young detectives, close your doors gently.   Sputtering is when something is forcibly pushed out of a small hole, like squirting mustard out of a bottle.  Wheezy is when air tries to get through a small opening, kind of like sputtering but for air. I tend to get wheezy after chasing a suspect.A Clang is when a big metal thing falls down. If it’s a small metal thing, we call that a Clink.  Whirring is when a machine is quietly rumbling, like it’s thinking of what to do next. Detectives don’t whirr when they think, but they do ‘hmmmm.’  A Beep is a quick high pitched sound that is normally used to alert you of something, like a pressed button, truck backing up, or a metal detector finding a clue.  Distortion is an effect put on an instrument to make it sound really different. When a rockstar is playing a guitar solo, they are using distortion on their guitar.  A Bright sound has a lot of high pitches but not a lot of middle or low ones.A Warm sound has a lot of middle frequencies, but not a lot of highs or lows. Kind of like when a voice speaks over an old-timey radio or leaves a voice message.  A Booming sound is loud and has a lot of low frequencies, but not a lot of highs or middles.  A Thunderous sound is loud. Very loud. Very, very, very loud! Like thunder! And remember young detectives, where there is thunder there is also lightning!   A Grating sound is unpleasant and makes you wince, like when you accidentally bump your teeth with a fork! (I’m wincing just thinking about it…)  Rhythmic sounds have some kind of pattern, almost like they’re being played by a drummer!  Melodic sounds feel like they are trying to sing you a songRowdy sounds are loud and wild, like a bunch of puppies wrestling!  Babbling is the soft quiet noise that a small river makes running over rocks. Not to be confused with a detective’s long winded monologue.  Squeaky is a high pitched sound. Sometimes it can be from an animal like a gerbil. Other times it can come from something like a door slowly opening in a scary house!  Conclusion  Now that you have some of these basic terms down, try to identify your own sounds in the wild! That bump in the night? Was it squeaky, rhythmic or grating? Hopefully it wasn’t wet! Take out your own trusty notebook and try describing the sounds around you and their qualities.