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Pitch is the sound that a note makes. Not all musical instruments make notes with a clear pitch; percussion instruments are often distinguished by whether they do or do not have a particular pitch. A sound or note of definite pitch is one of which it is possible or relatively easy to discern the pitch. Sounds with definite pitch have harmonic frequency spectra or close to harmonic spectra.

A sound or note of indefinite pitch is one of which it is impossible or relatively difficult to discern a pitch. Sounds with indefinite pitch do not have harmonic spectra or have altered harmonic spectra. It is still possible for two sounds of indefinite pitch to clearly be higher or lower than one another, for instance, a snare drum invariably sounds higher in pitch than a bass drum, though both have indefinite pitch, because its sound contains higher frequencies.

In other words, it is possible and often easy to roughly discern the relative pitches of two sounds of indefinite pitch, but any given sound of indefinite pitch does not neatly correspond to a given definite pitch. A special type of pitch often occurs in free nature when the sound of a sound source reaches the ear of an observer directly and also after being reflected against a sound-reflecting surface. This phenomenon is called repetition pitch, because the addition of a true repetition of the original sound to itself is the basic prerequisite.