Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsChemistry · 1 decade ago

Why does helium make your voice sound high? (scientific answers please)?

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    Helium is less dense than the air we normally breathe (Air is made up of approx 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen)


    When we talk air passes out from our lungs through our vocal chords and is caused to vibrate and you hear the words. When you mix helium with air the resulting mix is less dense so as you breathe out the timbre of your voice is altered. The spped of sound in a less dense helium/air mix is higher than in just air. You are increasing the speed of sound of your voice when breathing out this less dense mixture and this increase in speed will affect the frequencies that make up your 'voice'.

    If the frequencies are affected the timbre is affected too. A more dense gas may have a very wierd affect.

    Strictly speaking although most people say it is the pitch that changes, it is the actually the 'timbre' which is changed, as your vocal chords produce the same shapes and therefore the same pitch.

    • Morgan W6 years agoReport

      This answer is wrong. It's because sound travels faster in helium. Wave length times frequency is the speed of the wave. Since the wave length is the same in helium as in air, but the speed goes up, the frequency goes up. Ears hear frequency. All this nonsense about timber and pitch is just bunk

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    it replaces the air in your lungs so the gas which the vocal cord operate in is thinner and thus the sound is a higher frequency than usual when the high pitched vibrations hit the air to go to the ears. this air vibrates easier than thick air so your usual vocal action that you are trained to do, reacts differently to this changed atmosphere. the same thing would happen on the moon.

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