Physical acoustics of music
Sound spectrum is one of the determinants of the timbre or quality of a sound or note. It is the relative strength of pitches called harmonics and partials (collectively overtones) at various frequencies usually above the fundamental frequency, which is the actual note named (e.g. an A).
The spectrum analyzer is an instrument which can be used to convert the sound wave of the musical note into a visual display of the constituent frequencies. Software based audio spectrum analyzers are available at low cost, providing easy access not only to industry professionals, but also to academics, students and the hobbyist. The acoustic spectrogram generated by the spectrum analyzer provides an acoustic signature of the musical note. In addition to revealing the fundamental frequency and its overtones, the spectrogram is also useful for analysis of the temporal attack, decay, sustain, and release of the musical note.