My Understanding of Sound

I didn't go to school for this. I think you can tell. The only things that I did go to school for was graphic design. It was at a tech school in Waynesville, Missouri. Waynesville Career Center. Six years later I can not remember the reason why I went. It was free, paid for by the district. I learned a few things about raster and vector graphics and how to nearly fail the class. All was going good...decent up until my run in with sound production. I was more focused on my book ideas and cover art than anything else. At least I tried at something I am not good at. Vector and illustrating. I couldn't even draw straight lines in software. My book has developed, but at the time it was all just dark fluff. I was decent at writing. I could get my readers to imagine the sick world inside me, but I couldn't draw it. Even now with 3D graphics I struggle with it.

My understanding of things is visual. There is a pattern, a mesh. Near tangible material. His voice has texture, a sandy texture for exhale. Cold hollow ice for a voice. Dark, but not distorted to sound evil. Like the voice of a ghost in a dream. I envision this sound has a hollowed out ice cylinder with water vapor made from fine sand or glass. Gives an empty feeling and stays to remind you over and over again. That's what the vapor is there for. It is what really haunts you, that sound.

People come and go but our memories of them stay and each jester, posture, expression can be explained with synthesis. There are wavelengths that describe such things. The texture. You can image the shift of feelings by the tone of the sounds, their positions along time, and the smallest of detail or even a hint of a higher pitch in a controlled burst can change your mind. What you imagine. What fantasies your mind comes up with. All the sounds around you of water drops in shallow pools in a closed in unsee-able environment. You can feel the cold breeze, a shallow ambient scene with short wisps of pitch differences. Warm wind and air sound different than cold wind and cold air. You are in a cave. I could describe the taste of the air with the texture of the audio. Add grains of noise and easy static crossed between a high pass and a low pass filter. It is the ocean.

There are many sounds that are simple to remake if you know how to break them down and manipulate the raw materials. Not the materials of the sample itself though. No cheating. I was put in a situation where I needed authentic sounding wind that you could feel the freeze. I did this with modulating static and using an equalizer. Wind, waterfalls, and the ocean as we perceive it; and as we attempt to record it, breaking it down it comes to static. The rushing wind muffles our ears and microphones. The closest thing to the sound of wind that we know of sounds very similar to static. The crash of the waves on rocks blur together. It would have the same effect if we layered hundreds of water drop samples to play at and around the same time to remake this. That would be time consuming and could distort if you're not careful, but it still creates fluctuations of static. Very simple stuff.

There is no other way for me to understand sound design besides visual. I design to take listeners on to what I see. The sick things in my head or the natural world where I want to live. Space bases on distant moons and planets. Survival on an unknown planet. Just the beginning.

I only know what I see. I do not understand the construction of sound on a technical level. All that gibberish. A delay makes things repeat. An LFO makes stuff wobble. A reverb is like that time I interrupted church. Echo is the bounce-back of that rude comment. I don't get numbers and equations, octaves and I can't think of another one. I don't know what all these words mean on my synthesizers, but I do know what they make other things sound like that I later make to sound like something else.

Ask me something on computer hardware and I should be able to help you out, but not with music production. I know how to mimic feelings with sound, but I do not know how to make the music that you are used to.

I hope that you have a good night and I will talk to you soon.

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