Sounds all around

The second half of Software Studies really intrigued me with some interesting thoughts, namely the power of system event sounds to dictate and impact our emotional state and how we take in and comprehend sound. Sounds can make us anxious – like the sound of someone else’s phone receiving a text alert causing us to check our own phones. But how about feeling vibrations? Surely I can’t be the only person in the world who has ever felt my phone vibrate, only to be welcomed by an empty lock screen – no messages, no calls, nothing (my heart maybe drops a little).

I also recently saw the movie Don Jon (out of boredom and because it was free to stream on Netflix; but also who doesn’t like Joseph Gordon-Levitt??), in which he plays this guy who is addicted to porn – and I remember this one line where admits he gets aroused from simply hearing the start up sound on his computer. It points to how the sounds around us alone can stimulate our emotions. What else is interesting is the idea of ‘female’ and ‘male’ stereotypes of sound, as well as the usage of ascending and descending melodies to dictate certain actions. Like the MTA NYCT subway door sounds for instance, which has two dings that descend in key (to symbolize sitting down or letting go – or ‘negative’ actions). Here is a video compilation I found on YouTube that someone made of various subway door closing chimes and beeps from different cities. Even in different countries, the tones have similar dings and chimes.

I know for a fact that whenever I get sent interactive sites with a scary vibe, I turn my sound off or down to the lowest volume because I know that without the sound, the videos are much less scary. (check out these sites: or and try it for yourself haha). Likewise, I feel like scary movies are 10x scarier when you watch it in theaters and have the theater speakers projecting the eerie, suspense building, dragged out sounds we all hate but also secretly love.


~ by ixangelala on October 18, 2014.

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