Sonograms of popular music

/ 9 June 2003

For a long time now, I’ve been fascinated by “soundscapes” and certain that we’re not paying enough attention to them when we think about how meaning is constructed. (One exception to this is Simon Frith, and another is J. Ritter Werner, who worked on the New Media Bible.) Try a simple test: watch a particularly scary scene from a movie you like with the sound off. Chances are good that, even if you remember the sound involved, watching the scene without it won’t feel as scary. Today I wandered over to Rebecca’s Pocket, and picked up a link to a site whose author is using sonograms to analyze popular music. It’s a fascinating study, and I think his ideas provide an innovative way into thinking about soundscapes.