To the people who physically studied sound design in school

How to make that sound...
cron
KVRAF
3149 posts since 27 Dec, 2002 from North East England

Post Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:16 am

I did a Sonic Arts degree which was multidisciplinary rather than purely sound design focused, but one thing that sticks in my mind is that you're exposed to a lot of 'philosophies' of sound. We were encouraged to read Barthes and Derrida as much as Roads and Xenakis. I think the most valuable thing was coming away so many different ways of approaching and thinking about sound. It's well worth diving into the heady theoretical realm as well as the practical, because it can be a great source of unusual ideas and ways to execute them, right up to inspiring complete new workflows.

himalaya
KVRAF
4954 posts since 23 Mar, 2006 from pendeLondonmonium

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:03 am

AnX wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:12 am
biomechanoid wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:52 am
AnX wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:58 pm
is there a sound design school?

never heard of one.
MSc in Sound Design @ Edinburgh Uni:
https://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgradu ... view&id=51

Sure there are plenty of others.
im not sure if thats what the OP meant tho, i got the impression he was talking about sound design as in preset making for synths... not sound design in the larger/cinematic sense...

:shrug:
“Preset making for synths” is exactly what I teach at one particular University. It’s a module on the MA Audio Engineering/production course.
http://www.electric-himalaya.com
VSTi and hardware synth sound design

emess
KVRer
17 posts since 11 Feb, 2019

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:58 pm

vurt wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:23 am
[...]but synth sound design once you know how to make a bass, is having ideas about making that bass in to many different bass sounds.
theres no real secret beyond ideas!
Makes total sense. No point in learning stuff if you don't know what to do with that knowledge afterwards.
vurt wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:42 am
where do you actually feel you are weak/failing?
other than taking time to practice, deconstructing others patches, working out over time what each tweak will do to a sound, and being able to decide which tweaks to make.
like anything, it takes time and effort to get to a point where it's almost automatic.
I'm pretty bad at learning in a linear fashion, that's why I have a hard time sticking to programs. What I do enjoy is to dig for gold nuggets and play around with new ideas. That's kind of why I just decided to join this community ;)

emess
KVRer
17 posts since 11 Feb, 2019

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:59 pm

telecode wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:09 am
For the stuff related to just using software products to tweak, custom and tailor sounds for use with DAWs, its more of a personal journey.

A great resource I used is:

https://web.archive.org/web/20160403115 ... ecrets.htm
Thanks for sharing man. I actually did come across a PDF version of SOS's entire Synth Secrets series which seemed like an incredible vault of information, but having each article as a web page is super handy.
Last edited by emess on Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

emess
KVRer
17 posts since 11 Feb, 2019

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:59 pm

cron wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:16 am
I did a Sonic Arts degree which was multidisciplinary rather than purely sound design focused, but one thing that sticks in my mind is that you're exposed to a lot of 'philosophies' of sound. We were encouraged to read Barthes and Derrida as much as Roads and Xenakis. I think the most valuable thing was coming away so many different ways of approaching and thinking about sound. It's well worth diving into the heady theoretical realm as well as the practical, because it can be a great source of unusual ideas and ways to execute them, right up to inspiring complete new workflows.
That's what I'm talking about! Thanks for your input. Was there any particular book or philosophy that ended up influencing you more than the others?

resynthesis
KVRist
397 posts since 17 Sep, 2007 from Planet Thanet

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:30 pm

When I worked at York there was a lot of sound design stuff taught in the music dept. Maybe if Oli Larkin looks in here he could tell you a bit about it (he worked in the music dept).

cron
KVRAF
3149 posts since 27 Dec, 2002 from North East England

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:01 pm

emess wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:59 pm
cron wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:16 am
I did a Sonic Arts degree which was multidisciplinary rather than purely sound design focused, but one thing that sticks in my mind is that you're exposed to a lot of 'philosophies' of sound. We were encouraged to read Barthes and Derrida as much as Roads and Xenakis. I think the most valuable thing was coming away so many different ways of approaching and thinking about sound. It's well worth diving into the heady theoretical realm as well as the practical, because it can be a great source of unusual ideas and ways to execute them, right up to inspiring complete new workflows.
That's what I'm talking about! Thanks for your input. Was there any particular book or philosophy that ended up influencing you more than the others?
Microsound by Curtis Roads had a huge influence on the things I was doing at the time. It's nominally a book about granular synthesis, but it also encourages you to think about time scales in a different way: from the infinitely long to the infinitely short and everything in between, considering all of equal importance. It inspired a non-real time, audio editing heavy workflow. I was making this stuff I called 'twitch ambient' where I'd interrupt long drones with little flurries of attention grabbing edits and try to have something going on in every time scale. This single-source (I was quite into that too) track from is the only surviving example. The opening is a bit embarrassing in retrospect, but I'm still pleased with the rest. https://soundcloud.com/charityqueen/sev ... nd-effects

Roads latest book Composing Electronic Music is a bit more comprehensive and has a lot of jumping off points. It's very much geared toward acousmatic music, but you can apply the ideas pretty much anywhere.

emess
KVRer
17 posts since 11 Feb, 2019

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:11 am

cron wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:01 pm
Microsound by Curtis Roads had a huge influence on the things I was doing at the time. It's nominally a book about granular synthesis, but it also encourages you to think about time scales in a different way: from the infinitely long to the infinitely short and everything in between, considering all of equal importance. It inspired a non-real time, audio editing heavy workflow. I was making this stuff I called 'twitch ambient' where I'd interrupt long drones with little flurries of attention grabbing edits and try to have something going on in every time scale. This single-source (I was quite into that too) track from is the only surviving example. The opening is a bit embarrassing in retrospect, but I'm still pleased with the rest. https://soundcloud.com/charityqueen/sev ... nd-effects

Roads latest book Composing Electronic Music is a bit more comprehensive and has a lot of jumping off points. It's very much geared toward acousmatic music, but you can apply the ideas pretty much anywhere.
Awesome track. I love how you exploited the stereo field and built tension from very few elements blended with effects. Plus the granular textures are super gratifying to listen to. I checked the Kindle version of Curtis Roads' latest book and it seems like a great read, thanks for the recommendation :tu:

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vurt
addled muppet weed
41739 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:45 am

well thanks for that
i didn't know roads had done a new book :tu:
micro sound was a good if intense read, often still refer back to sections :)

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telecode
KVRist
349 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:21 am

Thanks for the Curtis Roads info. I did not read it yet.

Everyone, feel free to add any more such academic type resources you can think of. Be it computer music, or synth music related. I am trying to compile a list.
Just a keep on a goin' a forward, without a single ounce of fear
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fmr
KVRAF
8510 posts since 16 Mar, 2003 from Porto - Portugal

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:55 am

An old book that I read and found very good, by the guy who started all this: Pierre Shaeffer. I have the original in French, but the link points to an English translation: https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520294 ... al-objects
Fernando (FMR)

Shabdahbriah
KVRAF
4920 posts since 19 Jun, 2008 from Seattle

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:42 am

Designing Sound (The MIT Press) Hardcover – August 20, 2010
by Andy Farnell

Sound Synthesis and Sampling, Third Edition (Music Technology) 3rd Edition
by Martin Russ

Listening through the Noise: The Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music 1st Edition
by Joanna Demers
Perception is the ultimate "reality" ~ but not, the ultimate Truth.

cron
KVRAF
3149 posts since 27 Dec, 2002 from North East England

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:35 pm

vurt wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:45 am
well thanks for that
i didn't know roads had done a new book :tu:
micro sound was a good if intense read, often still refer back to sections :)
Composing Electronic Music is much more accessible throughout. Huge parts of Microsound were dedicated to algorithms and code and the like IIRC (my copy is mouldering in a friend's loft along with most of my uni-era books), and there's not really any of that in Composing Electronic Music. It's very much about aesthetics and practice. It expands a lot on the chapters and discussions I found most useful in Microsound.
telecode wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:21 am
Thanks for the Curtis Roads info. I did not read it yet.

Everyone, feel free to add any more such academic type resources you can think of. Be it computer music, or synth music related. I am trying to compile a list.
Trevor Wishart's On Sonic Art is a great read, but quite difficult to find these days. The appendices and sound examples mostly describe processes available in Composer's Desktop Project which recently went freeware, but the book itself is more about aesthetics.

Michel Chion's Audio-Vision (still in print at sensible prices!) is dedicated to sound in film, but is an absolutely cracking read with lots of relevant ideas for musicians. Chion is also a composer so naturally this sensibility bleeds into his approach. I haven't read Schaeffer's Treatise on Musical Objects suggested earlier which is pretty poor form for me given that it's arguably the ur-text, but Chion dives into one of Schaeffer's ideas in the Treatise about modes of listening and their applications which I found very interesting/helpful.

Stockhausen's How Time Passes is a short essay from the time he was obsessed with serialising (as in serialism) everything, and his approach in which he considered time and pitch to be the same thing happening on different time scales provides great food for thought beyond his goal of finding a unified means of serialising them. Roads and later writers greatly expanded these ideas when granular synthesis made it easy to play with the pitch/rhythm boundary that lives between around 10 and 30 Hz.

resynthesis
KVRist
397 posts since 17 Sep, 2007 from Planet Thanet

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:32 pm

+1 for Trevor Wishart. It is available as an ebook but it's at the usual (daft) CRC / Routledge price of about £70!

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BONES
GRRRRRRR!
7709 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: To the people who physically studied sound design in school

Post Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:14 pm

cthonophonic wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:04 pm
There are certainly sound design programs out there, though these are usually part of film programs, where you would get, for instance, an MFA in film production with an emphasis on sound design.

I'm not sure whether that's the kind of sound design the OP is interested in specifically, but those programs definitely exist.
Yeah, that's a very different kind of sound design to what people here think of when they hear the term. There's even an Oscar for it, I think.
emess wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:08 am
Hey gents. I merely assumed that if you were to study sound engineering or music production at school, there would be classes on synthesis and sound design. I never meant to say a whole program oriented toward that one topic.
Believe it or not, "sound design" is a relatively recent invention. For decades people just made patches for their synths because it was basically impossible to share patches, you got what came with your instrument and anything you changed you saved in your instrument and that's where it stayed. Nobody thought of it as a specialist skill or even anything worth separating from the rest of the process. It's really only since soft synths started to sport their own preset browsers, so you could actually work with hundreds of presets, that it's become a thing in its own right. That's why I find it impossible to take someone who thinks of himself as a sound designer seriously. It's a made-up job and that's how I will always see it. That people are stupid enough to pay for banks of patches continues to bemuse me.
vurt wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:23 am
synth sound design once you know how to make a bass, is having ideas about making that bass in to many different bass sounds.
theres no real secret beyond ideas!
This, which is why I have made it bold. It's not science, it's art. You have to go with the flow, do what feels right. Don't make it technical, beyond basic knowledge of how synthesisers work and how the instrument you are programming works.
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