Spectrum View

Scale on a flute

A spectrogram or sonogram. It shows the frequencies present in a sound. In this graph a flute is playing a rising and a falling scale over a single octave. Click for larger image

Spectrum View: Wow! How can this app exist on a phone? The app digitizes sound from the microphone, computes the frequency spectrum about 100 times a second, and displays a graph showing how the spectrum changes with time. This particular app is free, which means I shouldn’t complain. And I’m not. But since the app doesn’t provide any way to export the data, it is really nothing more than a fascinating toy. But I think it is fascinating enough to earn a place in my ‘Science’ folder. While looking around I notice that there are several semi-professional apps that will export spectra, and function as oscilloscopes as well. I will review them when I pluck up the courage to blow £15 on an app!

A constant note (F) on a flute.

A constant note (F) on a flute.

2 Responses to “Spectrum View”

  1. JennyWren Says:

    You play the flute also? If it can’t be downloaded, how did you get it on the blog?

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:


      My son played the flute. Actually got really interesting spectra off a guitar too – with very regular patterns of harmonics. The data can’t be exported so I took a screenshot by pressing the ‘sleep’ and ‘home’ buttons simultaneously. This puts a picture of the screen into the ‘film roll’ of the camera.

      All the best


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