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Loudness vs. Pitch: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 4, 2024
Loudness is the perception of the strength or intensity of a sound, while pitch is the perception of how high or low a sound is, determined by its frequency.

Key Differences

Loudness is a subjective measure, perceived as the volume or intensity of a sound and can be measured in decibels (dB). Pitch, on the other hand, is the perception of the frequency of a sound wave and is measured in Hertz (Hz).
Loudness depends on the amplitude of the sound wave; higher amplitude results in a louder sound. Pitch is determined by the frequency of the sound wave; higher frequencies produce a higher pitch.
The human ear perceives loudness through the amplitude of sound waves hitting the eardrum. Pitch is perceived through the frequency of these waves as they are interpreted by the inner ear.
In music, loudness would refer to how loud or soft a note is played, while pitch refers to the note itself, whether it's high like a soprano's C or low like a bass G.
Prolonged exposure to high loudness can damage hearing, whereas pitch determines the range of frequencies a person can hear, from low to high.

Comparison Chart


Perception of sound intensity
Perception of sound frequency


Measured in decibels (dB)
Measured in Hertz (Hz)

Physical Characteristic

Depends on amplitude of sound wave
Depends on frequency of sound wave

Perception in Human Ear

Amplitude impacts eardrum
Frequency interpreted by inner ear

Role in Music

Determines volume level of a sound
Determines highness or lowness of a note

Loudness and Pitch Definitions


Can vary based on the environment and listener's hearing ability.
In the busy cafe, the loudness of our conversation had to be raised.


The perceived highness or lowness of a sound.
The pitch of the violin's E string is very high.


The perceived volume or intensity of a sound.
The loudness of the concert left my ears ringing.


Determined by the frequency of sound waves.
A higher frequency results in a higher pitch.


Influenced by the amplitude of sound waves.
The loudness of her voice increased as she became more excited.


A characteristic that allows differentiation of sounds.
Her ability to sing at different pitches is remarkable.


Typically measured in decibels (dB).
The loudness of the machinery was measured at 85 dB.


Integral to melody and harmony in music.
The composer played with pitch to create an intriguing melody.


A subjective measure of sound pressure level.
He adjusted the loudness of his headphones to a comfortable level.


Measured in Hertz (Hz).
Middle C has a pitch of 261.63 Hz.


Characterized by high volume and intensity. Used of sound
A loud whistle.


Any of various thick, dark, sticky substances obtained from the distillation residue of coal tar, wood tar, or petroleum and used for waterproofing, roofing, caulking, and paving.


Is pitch the same as volume?

No, pitch relates to the highness or lowness of a sound, not its volume.

Can loudness be objectively measured?

Yes, loudness can be measured in decibels (dB).

What factors affect the perception of loudness?

Factors include sound intensity, frequency, and the listener's hearing ability.

What defines pitch in sound?

Pitch is defined by the frequency of a sound wave.

What is the unit of measurement for pitch?

Pitch is measured in Hertz (Hz).

Is pitch perception the same for everyone?

No, pitch perception can vary based on individual hearing abilities.

Can two sounds have the same pitch but different loudness?

Yes, sounds can have the same pitch but vary in loudness.

Can pitch affect emotional response to music?

Yes, different pitches can evoke different emotional responses.

What is loudness in simple terms?

Loudness is how loud or soft we perceive a sound to be.

Can loudness damage hearing?

Yes, prolonged exposure to high loudness can damage hearing.

How does loudness relate to sound waves?

Loudness is related to the amplitude of sound waves.

Does the distance from a sound source affect loudness?

Yes, the farther you are from the source, the lower the loudness.

What is the range of human hearing for pitch?

The average human can hear pitches from about 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

Why do some sounds appear louder at night?

Lower background noise at night can make sounds appear louder.

Can two instruments playing the same note have different pitches?

No, the same note on different instruments has the same pitch, but the timbre may differ.

How is pitch used in music?

Pitch is used to create melodies and harmonies in music.

Are pitch and frequency the same?

Frequency is the physical measurement, while pitch is the perceived effect.

What is an example of a high-pitched sound?

A whistle or a bird chirping are examples of high-pitched sounds.

Does loudness increase with higher amplitude?

Yes, higher amplitude generally results in greater loudness.

Can a sound’s pitch change over distance?

No, a sound's pitch remains the same regardless of distance.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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