Sound Materiality

Sound is created when an object vibrates and the vibrations travel through the air until someone can hear the sound. It is a big part of our lives and media.  Sound in moving image is very important as it can set the mood and theme. Certain sounds can create feelings of  suspense, fear, joy etc the audience hears the sound and it captures the emotion .  A moving image without sound does not have the same effect/impact on the audience as a moving image with sound would have.  Sound effects are not always as they seem for example the sound of bats flying can be made by opening and closing an umbrella in a rapid motion also the sound of a blow to the head can be made by beating  with a blunt object a frozen water melon with crackers glued to it. The mind has its own idea of what something sounds like which may not be the actual sound.  Foley  is the name of artificial sound effects like the ones mentioned above.  A famous example is the film Saving Private Ryan. The scene where the tanks can be heard coming towards the characters  where created  by two thousand students in a car park dragging metal trays along the ground.

The body and mind are not easily dichotomised, which means that they cannot be split, they work in sync with each other. This is why physical sound such as clubbing can make a person’s heart beat fast due to the vibrations of the sound and a heavy bass.

Sound and Perspective

Figure- is the most important melody/sound or the voice of the person singing the lyrics to the music.

Ground- The audience/public/customers/listeners/social world. i.e. the people who listen to the sound.

Field-  The physical world around the listener. i.e. the surroundings/place the listener/audience is at when they hear the sound. i.e. a concert hall, a car, at home etc.

Sound and Distance

All sound interaction has forms of distance.

1. Formal. For example, formal speaking to an audience, like a presentation to an employer or customer.

2.Informal. i.e. speaking to a peer .

3. Personal. i.e. speaking to a friend family member.

4.Intimate. i.e. speaking to a close loved one.

The closer you are to a person or the more intimate you get with speaking to someone the lower the volume is. Or the more people tend to whisper.

Sound as Semiotics

Semiotics is the study of signs. Signs for example could be road signs, star signs, painting, photos,  text , sound and body language.

The concept of sound as semiotics is argued by Roland Barthes, in the late sixties with his book/ essays called  mythologies.

Barthes argues that images, music and text applies to sound as well as the visual imagery.

The Signifier- Signified- Sign (triad)

 The Triad is applicable to sound and noise.

During class we participated in an exercise which played a sound clip of historical news and a sound clip famous song from the same year. The class had to then figure out who or what the news was and who was it about also the name of the artist, song and year.

The class soon realised that events can trigger sounds and vice versa.  Sounds can trigger memories and emotions.  For example if a rugby team was going for the final winner take all match  before the match the coach played loud, upbeat music the team will react in a positive manner.  The team will get psyched up for the match mentally believing they can beat the other team.  This can go both ways if the music changes to a low beat tune it will have an adverse effect on the team.

Sound is most associated  by Avant garde. This refers to creative people, musicians, artists who  wish to break free from the “norm” or the main stream culture. Before time- Ahead of time.

An example of a none main stream musician is Christian Marclay who is said to be one of the first Dj’s . Marclay decided he wanted to create music people did not want to hear. He would scratch vinyl  records to get a beat. One of his most famous sounds with a political message is the sound and visual of a guitar being trailed behind a moving car. The political message was that this type of thing used to happen to black people.

Sound is an art form. It can be changed into art format very easily.  If we look at professor Paul Moore’s sounds of the lymbian desert we can see that any sound even rocks, telephone wires etc can be put together and create an interesting and surprising composition. Also the composition of The River Sings (Foyle) we can hear how a river can be made into sound art and how it always sounds different.

“There is no such thing as silence” John Cage.