General Question

fremen_warrior's avatar

A sound description?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5461 points ) October 23rd, 2012

How do you describe sound? Specifically concrete sounds in a music piece that are not easily distinguishable i.e. we have no words for them, it would seem. I ask because I like a certain type of synthesizer effect and it is ever so rare, I would like to hear more music with that type of synth, but I have no idea how to translate that into, say, an accurate google search query, and I basically have to rely on saying “like the one used in song x”. Thoughts?

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7 Answers

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dabbler's avatar

A lot of synthesizer effects are described by their technical aspects, waveform(s) / attack / delay / sustain.
Are you generating this sound yourself on a synthesizer ? If so you may be able to piece together the characteristics.
Do you have a way to see the generated waveform? Some are described by the way they look, ‘squarewave’, ‘sawtooth’, sine/cosine.

fremen_warrior's avatar

I listen to music, I don’t create it, so looking at the wave patterns is not viable.

Silence04's avatar

Synth sounds are usually broken down into several categorys; leads, bass, bells, pads, hits, pianos, brass, etcs. They can further be described by their technical attributes; saw, square, sine, oscolation, modulation, envelopes, pitch and effects. You can also simply use relatable terms such as wet, dry, thick, thin, dirty, metallic, empty, etc.

I play the synthesizer and listen to a lot of different styles of music with synths. If you tell me a part of a song you are referring too, I can give you a technical discription of what that sound is. However, that doesn’t mean other songs will be easier to find with that knowledge.

However I can probably point you in the right direction, song-wise.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@Silence04 here are a few examples:

Any colour you like by Pink Floyd – to me this sound is like dripping honey: thick, sweet, flowing and (don’t laugh) I see it as a yellow/golden colour

most Fury of the Furries tunes you can find on youtube

the main synth from this classic First Samurai

These are just a few I’d like to disinguish, this might be a tall order, I know, but any help with this would be greatly appreciated :-) Thank you!

Nullo's avatar

@fremen_warrior Those are associations that you describe, rather than objectively quantifiable elements. Still, they work.
Perhaps you can offer descriptions – “the warm, runny synth piece at this speed that fades in and out” sort of thing.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Funny, I think of the synth elements of Any Colour You Like to be too hard to describe as honey. It’s blue to me.

edit

moving into purples and reds when Gilmour does his thing.

@fremen_warrior – perhaps you need to acquaint yourself with a little music and sound synthesis theory. At the very least, it can’t hurt, and it will likely have additional phenomenonological benefits like heightened appreciation of music, as well as cognitive benefits over the long term.

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