A sonogram is a visualization of a sound generated by filtering the sound through a windowed FFT. If the sound is generated by an animal, be a bird, human or other, the sonogram looks like a series of dark bands layered one on top of one another with varying distances between them. Another way of describing a sonogram is several similar functions chopped into little pieces that do not cross each other drawn on the same chalkboard in different places (times) that have then been drawn more thickly with the edge of a piece of chalk.

Each phoneme a person makes roughly maps onto a single series of these bands (much like a UPC going vertically), and when a person changes the phomeme to make a dipthong sound consisting of two sounds blended together whether it be a vowel-consonant, vowel-vowel or other, the two different series of bands blend together as well.

The shape of a sonogram is affected mostly by vowels; that is /tu/ and /ku/ are "closer" in shape on a sonogram than /ku/ is to /ki/ or /tu/ to /ti/.

Sonograms are often used in studying and determining the species of birds (http://research.amnh.org/ornithology/crossbills/diagnosis.html) and in training people to simulate foreign accents and in speech pathology. Musicians such as Aphex Twin have also been known to embed images in sonograms to produce strange and novel sound effects.

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