The Shepard Tone Is A Sonic Barber Pole

The Shepard Tone Is A Sonic Barber Pole

The Shepard tone is an auditory illusion that has been described as a "sonic barber pole." In the same way that the classic red-and white-striped barber pole seems to perpetually spin upward when it's just staying still, Shepard tone seem to infinitely rise or fall in pitch. This sound is made of multiple sine waves that trick our brain. The tones in the sound do rise, but when they reach a certain point they hop back down an octave and start again. However, our brains don't hear that jump, instead they hear the tones rising or falling forever.


Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    The Shepard tone is a noise that seems to continuously rise or fall in pitch forever. (0:17)

  • 2

    The Shepard tone is referred to as a "sonic barber pole." (0:36)

  • 3

    People in the United States pronounce the word "adidas" differently from the rest of the world. (1:17)

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