#4.1 Sound Design


While reading Sound Design, the first point that intrigued me was how Alten described sound as an emotional, perceptual and physical force. Sound can excite feeling, convey meaning, and, if it is loud enough, resonate the body. Sound is everywhere. Sound is attention demanding (Alten 1994).

Alten touches on how we speak of “watching” movies. It is true that we in a way take sound for granted. But not fully. Personally, and for as long as I can remember, sound and music has played an important role in my everyday life. I´ve always been aware of the power of sound. When it comes to movies, to me, the sound is as important as the visual part. I´m more scared of listening to movies than I am watching them. Up till this day, I´ve sat through countless off horror and thriller films with my hands over my ears in a desperate attempt to block all sound from coming in. But a funny thing is; I hardly ever cover my eyes, because without the sound the images don’t scare me.

Sound affects the mood or feeling of words and sentences (Alten 1994). That´s another thing I am intrigued by and always keep in mind while writing stories; The aural mood of words and sentences. The sounds in each word not only contribute to the overall meaning but are contained in the other words to enhance further the mood of the line.

As an example, Alten demonstrates a line written by the poet Robert Lowell “Waves crashed against the rocks” and “Waves hit upon the boulders.” These two sentences mean the same thing, but they sound completely different. The first sentence I would definitely think to use, because it has more power to it, exactly what I associate with waves and rocks. The second one would never even crossed my mind because the words don’t impact me as much. As a native Norwegian, I find my knowledge of the English vocabulary and phraseology quite restricted. Because of that I easily fall into the trap of using clichés. Something that I would rather avoid.


Alten, S. Audio in media, (p. 5-12, p. 266-286). Belmont: Wadsworth, 1994.


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