which the sound passes being the air. A sounding body in the middle of a room, for instance, must send out shells of sound as it were, in all directions, because people above, below, and all round it, would hear the sound. Replace the stone by a tuning-fork. To one prong of this fasten a mirror, and on this mirror throw a powerful beam of light. When this tuning-fork is bowed, and a sound is heard, the light thrown by the attached mirror shows the fork to be vibrating, and when the tuning-fork is moved we get an appearance on the screen which reminds us of the rope; or we may use the fork as shown in Fig. 3, and obtain a wavy record on a blackened cylinder.
Experiment shows that we have at one time a sphere of compression—that is to say, the air is packed closely together; and, again, a sphere
of rarefaction, when the particles of air are torn farther apart than they are in the other position. The state of things, then, that travels in the case of sound, is a state of compression and rarefaction of the air. Hence, the particle of air travels differently from the particle of water; it moves backward and forward in a straight line in the direction in which the sound is propagated.