Sound Art Reading Assignment

What is sound?

Sound is a form of energy that creates the feeling of hearing. Sound exists in wavelengths and can be transmitted through all three states of matter before reaching our ears to leave an audio effect on us. Humans can hear sound waves with frequencies between 20 Hz and 20 kHz, and the frequencies can be adjusted to even have selective hearing to certain people or animals. Sound can be manipulated to create music.

How has it been use in culture and society?

The most basic usage of sound in society is communication. Starting from the lungs, humans can generate vibrations through the air past our vocal cords to create sound in the form of speech, singing, crying, laughing and such. Humans make use of sound to create communication alongside writing and gestures. Sound has also been used to create music, either via the human voice such as singing, or via instruments to by producing vibrations in sound tuned to something pleasant to one’s audio senses.

What makes it an art?

Sound is always around, but to appreciate it, one must learn to listen. Like any other art form, sound requires one to actively observe to gain an appreciation for it. By manipulation of sound, we can create sensations that make invoke different emotions similar to observing literature or art performed on physical mediums. Before the 1990s sound art was a type of experimental music and before “sound art” was made a term, sound art was even viewed as an extension of written poetry rather than an art of sound.

How does advancement in audio technology affect our sense?

Sound art used to be created by voice and instruments performed, but now with advanced audio technology we have recordings of sound, convenient playback of sound, even editing of sound. But however, even though technology has made sound art more commonplace and more easily accessible, it has also made sound art too easily taken for granted. One just needs to press the play button on a device to hear the recorded and edited audio which may have taken a long time to create, yet not appreciated in the least, unlike going to an orchestra in the past. Audio technology may have dulled our acknowledgement for the sound arts, unless one truly sits down to listen, and to understand and appreciate it.


Leave a Reply