Humpback Whales Singing…..

Well, this is something I never thought I was going to write on an AV/Production company page…..

I like the sea and I like the animals in it. I was looking around for some cool facts about sea animals with my daughter, and being a sound guy, I started to look at the audio side of it. Well, I just discovered that a Humpback whale produces moans, grunts, blasts and shrieks (called songs… possibly better than some of the songs I’ve seen on the net).  Each part of their song is made up of sound waves. Some of these sound waves are very high frequency but the Humpback Whale also emit very low-frequency sound waves. The range of frequencies that whales use is from 30 Hertz (Hz) to about 8,000 Hz, (8 kHz). These sound waves can travel very far in water without losing energy. Researchers believe that some of these low-frequency sounds can travel more than 8,000 miles in some levels of the ocean!


Here is a bit of background why the sounds travel that far.  I know some of you won’t believe me.

We all know that sound is a pressure wave, but this wave behaves slightly differently through the air as compared to water. Water is denser than air, so it takes more energy to generate a wave, but once a wave has started, it will travel further than it does in air.


Sound in air

In a gas like air, the particles are generally far apart so they travel further before they bump into one another. There is not much resistance to movement so it doesn’t take much to start a wave, but it won’t travel as far.


Sound in water

In water, the particles are much closer together, and they can quickly transmit vibration energy from one particle to the next. This means that the sound wave travels over four times farther than it would in the air, but it takes a lot of energy to start the vibration. A faint sound in air wouldn’t be transmitted in water as the wave wouldn’t have enough energy to force the water particles to move.


So basically, I think the Humpback Whale has a great set of lungs, can you imagine what they could do on a stage with a mic and a big PA?  


BTW Humpback Whales need to remember to breathe.  Differently, to humans, who breathe automatically, humpback whales do it voluntarily.  My daughter told me this….They breathe using their lungs and blowhole and have an amazing capacity for holding their breath.

Hee is a link from the National Geographic.  Thank you!


Image result for humpback-whale

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