The Nature Of Sound And Recording

IN: Foundations in Sound Design for Linear Media, Routledge 2020. https://www.routledge.com/Sound-Design/book-series/SDS

Chapter Review:

“Stand out chapters include Knight-Hill’s comprehensive overview of “The Nature of Sound and Recording.” There are many books and chapters covering such fundamental theory but few that do so as thoroughly yet concisely as Knight-Hill’s. The accompanying diagrams are simple enough for an undergraduate student to grasp, yet the chapter also serves as a good refresher for advanced students.”

Book Review, J. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 68, No. 1/2, 2020 January/February


In order to unlock the full creative potentials in sound design one must first understand how sound functions, both as a physical material and a perceived phenomenon. Centered around the creative process, while exploring the physics of sound and introducing psychoacoustic realities of listening, the reader builds an understanding of sound as object and sensation. This knowledge of sound contextualises the design and application of sound recording technologies, which the reader is encouraged to apply creatively and experiment with in order to realise their aesthetic and narrative intentions.

1. Introduction

This chapter explores sound as material and phenomenon. It is vital to understand the properties of the medium with which we work so as to be able to achieve the greatest level of control, and to be best able to articulate your ideas and intentions through Sound Design.

We will cover an introduction to the physical and acoustic properties of sound, the processes of hearing & listening and we will explore the tools: microphones and recording technology. These topics are expansive areas, so you will find that this chapter provides a wide breadth of knowledge, with links to additional resources that can be taken advantage of in order to further extend your knowledge.

The question of what sound is, and how it operates, brings together ideas and approaches from physics and philosophy, biology to engineering and design. All of these approaches culminate in our understanding of sound and how we can capture and manipulate it creatively.

By the end of this chapter you will have begun to understand how sounds are created, how the physical properties of sound relate to the sounds that we hear and how best we can begin to approach the process of capturing and recording sounds.

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