Any quantity or body is in a state of oscillation when its value or motion is continually changing so that it passes through maximum and minimum values or positions. When a system, body or quantity is set in PERIODIC motion or vibration, it is said to be in oscillation.
A swinging pendulum, a vibrating string, or a bobbing buoy are all examples of oscillation and SIMPLE HARMONIC MOTION. However, RANDOM NOISE is also an oscillation since it passes through maximum and minimum values.
An oscillation is said to be forced when it is in response to an excitation; otherwise it is called free vibration (see EIGENTON, RESONANCE, STANDING WAVES, SYMPATHETIC VIBRATION).
Oscillations whose FREQUENCY lies within the audible range are heard as SOUND. Compare: VIBRATION.
See also: AMPLITUDE, CYCLE, DECAY TIME, HARMONIC, PARTICLE VELOCITY, RISE TIME, SOUND PRESSURE, SOUND WAVE, TREMOLO, VIBRATO, WAVELENGTH, WOW. Compare: ALTERNATING CURRENT, OSCILLATOR.