Sound design

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Welcome to the Department of Sound Design, part of the School of Music and Dance.

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A Sound Designer editing a sound file on a workstation

Content summary[edit]

Sound design is the process of specifying, acquiring, manipulating or generating audio elements. It is employed in a variety of disciplines including filmmaking, television production, theatre, sound recording and reproduction, live performance, sound art, post-production and video game software development. Sound design most commonly involves the manipulation of previously composed or recorded audio, such as music and sound effects. In some instances it may also involve the composition or manipulation of audio to create a desired effect or mood. A sound designer is one who practices the art of sound design.

Prerequisites[edit]

Learning Objectives[edit]

  1. What are sound and timbre? What sounds are perceived as what emotions?
  2. Operate a recording studio (like Audacity). Record samples and mix them into a track.
  3. What are the different kinds of synthesis? What are VCO, VCF, VCA, LFO and ADSR?
  4. Score or add effects to a song or a video.

Learning Materials[edit]

Texts[edit]


Sound Design Lessons[edit]

  • Characteristics of sound

In music, timbre, also known as tone color or tone quality from psychoacoustics, is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the perception of timbre include spectrum and envelope. It is often important in sound design to differentiate, characterize and control qualities such as timbre with technology.

  1. Wikipedia article:w:Timbre
  2. Wikipedia article:w:Sonic_Visualiser
  3. Wikipedia article:w:Acousmatic sound
  4. Wikipedia article:w:Acoustic ecology
  5. Wikipedia article:w:Psychoacoustics


  • Introduction to Sound Recording

Sound recording and reproduction is an electrical or mechanical inscription and re-creation of sound waves, such as spoken voice, singing, instrumental music, or sound effects. The two main classes of sound recording technology are analog recording and digital recording. Sound Recording essentially means capturing a piece of sound onto a storage media, so as to archive it and review it afterwards. It is not just storing sounds but also maintaining its quality, i.e., the playback of the recorded sound must be an exact imitation of the original sound that was recorded. To do this we need the proper equipment, and some essential skills and knowledge.

  1. Wikipedia article:w:Sound recording and reproduction
  2. Wikiversity course: Getting started with sound recording
  3. Wikiversity course: Audacity
  4. Wikipedia article:w:Foley_(filmmaking)


  • Sound Editing and Synthesis

Audio signal processing, sometimes referred to as audio processing, is the intentional alteration of auditory signals, or sound, often through an audio effect or effects unit. As audio signals may be electronically represented in either digital or analog format, signal processing may occur in either domain. Analog processors operate directly on the electrical signal, while digital processors operate mathematically on the digital representation of that signal.

  1. Wikipedia article:w:Audio signal processing
  2. Wikipedia article:w:Synthesizer
  3. Wikipedia article:w:Karplus–Strong_string_synthesis
  4. Soundation free DAW with Synthesis
  5. Wikiversity course: DAW


  • Production for Sound Design

In the application of sound design, it is important to be aware of the human perception of sound and music. Moreover it is critical that a student of sound design study and apply the principles at hand, therefore a study of Film Scoring and the lesson items there may, for the most part, be very useful to the student of sound design.

  1. Wikipedia article:w:Sonification
  2. Wikipedia article:w:Algorithmic composition
  3. ACToolbox free Algorithmic Composition tool (for Mac)
  4. Wikipedia article:w:Leitmotif
  5. Wikiversity course: Film scoring

Assignments[edit]

Preliminary Study guide[edit]

  1. Wikipedia article:w:Sound_design

Activities[edit]

References[edit]

Additional helpful readings include:

Active participants[edit]

Please sign up!! Active participants in this Learning Group

See also[edit]