Sound has existed since time immemorial and shall outlive people. Humans have manipulated sound to create vocal sounds needed to communicate.
Sound is a form of expression used in communication. A newborn announces his entry to this world by creating the sound of crying. Animals communicate with one another using sound.
Humans have also manipulated sound to create music to evoke feelings. So, it can be said that the sound is representational. Sound is used to represent images that have been conjured up by the mind; sound is used to represent an experience whether good or bad. One might be left with a feeling that all pieces of audio art are creations, which in some way represent a thought or idea and could potentially be interpreted as such. Take for example any movement (a term in western classical music) from Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony or Frederick Chopin’s compositions like Ecossaise where the music composition is representative of nature’s beauty. Just as nature can be represented through literature or paintings, man has manipulated the sound of music so that it can be used as medium of representation.
To cite an instance of what could be understood by the representation of sounds, The Carnival of Animals, by the French Romantic composer Saint-Saens is just right. In this music series, there is an inherent association made with specific types of sounds. The higher notes use gentle piano sounds whereas notes created with force hit a deeper tone and are understood as weighted or strong. There is a piece in The Carnival of the Animals titled “Elephant,” which uses sounds to represent the elephant. When the music thunders, one tends to imagine the creature and everything we know about the animal such as its size and weight. Thus, a relationship is created. All the adjectives used to describe the heavy sound could very well be used to describe the physicality of the animal itself.
In the auditory world, the many different sound sources or auditory objects have their own distinctive, pitch, timbre, location, and loudness. There are times when the source is recognized as familiar in a certain way, such as some spoken word. Similarly, to interpret certain emotions humans create some type of sound to communicate. This is the science behind how the brain recognizes sounds. This helps to understand the ways our mind can analyze sounds and add meaning to sounds through association. Some expressions supported by the sounds in normal day-to-day life are fear, anger, happiness, joy, surprise, wonder, pain, etc.
Interpretation of sound as a concept is both psychological and personal. There is general acceptance that certain sounds will evoke the same feelings in most people. We can also create our own unique sounds to represent expressions based on our personal experiences.
We use our sight, which is the primary sense, to focus on objects. It might therefore be presumed that one may attempt to comprehend sound and potential representation that exists in sound by linking what they hear to what they see. The relationship of sound and visual is so strong that in many cases, whether the artist wishes it or not, and whether the viewer is aware of it at a conscious level or not, there will most likely be an association to an image through heard sound.
One’s visual experience includes awareness of everyday objects, items, and the like. Sounds cannot pass for good examples of ordinary objects or substances. Sounds are not identified in shapes and sizes although they are included with colors, tastes, and smells among the secondary or sensible qualities attached to objects When an actor represents any expression through a sound there is a body expression or a gesture or any physical movement which supports the sound. Sound can be used to give rise those very feelings in the actor that he/she would want to evoke from the viewer.
In addition to the sense of hearing being stimulated whenever we hear a sound, it is natural for other senses to be stimulated as well, although in a lesser way and form visual impressions.
Music composers will write music scores for films and television shows keeping in mind the atmosphere that has to be created. It is vital for the music composer to grasp the concepts of sounds so that he understands how a viewer would understand them. Creating spooky or eerie soundtracks requires the music composer to choose particular sounds his music instruments are capable of producing and what the audience is likely to associate with feelings of fear. If the mood of scene is light, the music composer will apply the same thought process to create optimistic music.
Have you ever heard someone say, ‘the silence is deafening’? The absence of sound can also be used for impact. The absence of sound can also be used as a representational sound. No sound can be the sound itself.
The process through which sound art is created can result in indirect representations of ideas that are created through the act of making a sound even before the sound is heard for example the music build up before the sound of actual thunder can suggest that the crashing sound of thunder will soon follow.
Many ideas can be created or unlocked through the process of creating a sound. The exploration of these ideas probably would not be possible otherwise.
The way in which sound can be manifested, altered by its creators and understood by the audience are many. Similarly, the reaction or feelings that a sound produces in people are also seemingly infinite. However, some specific methods of manipulation and general understanding of human nature allows one to see the similarities that exist in any representation created by sound through any means by which sound is produced or altered.
- Vocal Action
- Vocal Action and Breathe
- Diction and Practicing
- Speech and Text
- Voice Quality
- Acquiring Good Communication Skills
- The Actor and the Voice
- Using the Lines
- The Actor and Subtext
- Constantin Stanislavski
- Internal and External Communication
- Sounds You Can Practice
- Speech Patterns
- The Way People Want to Hear You
- Personal Disconnection
- Making Sure You’re on the Right Lines
- In short – Acting Voice and Speech