Kalantzis and Cope on Audio Design Elements


What do the meanings refer to?

  • What is the particular meaning of the rhythm, pitch, volume, tempo, texture, directionality of a sound? e.g. a bell ringing, a voice heard over background noise).
    • How is a person noticeable in the sounds they make? (e.g. the sound of walking, breathing)
    • How is time referred to? (e.g. tempo, rhythm).
    • How is place referred to? (such as sound distance and directionality e.g. the sound in relationship to the conditions of its transmission and hearing).
    • How is an object represented by its distinctive sound? (e.g. a shower compared to an keyboard)
  • What general concept does a sound represent? (a doorbell, a car horn).
  • How is are the characteristics of the meaning represented in sound? (e.g. volume, pitch, texture).
  • How are relations represented in sound? (e.g. foreground/background sounds).



How do the meanings connect the people in the action and the people who are communicating?

  • How do sounds position the sound maker? (e.g. a door opening, a steak frying).
  • How might another person interpret the sound? (e.g. information, a warning).



How does the overall meaning hold together?

  • How is the audio meaning structured? What constitutes completeness/incompleteness? (such as a piece of music or entering-starting and leaving ending a soundscape e.g. a song, a movement, a symphony; the sounds of the street/the sounds of the store).
  • What are its internal components and how do they combine to make meaning? (such as sound sequence e.g. notes to bars to whole pieces of music).
  • How is does an integrated set of sounds cohere? (e.g. musical scales, keys).
  • What are the perceptible ways of referring (such as literal sound likeness/abstract-symbolic reference e.g. a door bell compared to car horn).
  • What media are used to make the sound? (e.g. voice, musical instrument, sounds incidental to the use of an object).



How are the meanings shaped by where they are situated?

  • How is sound framed by its context of situation? (e.g. incidental sound/focused sounds, prominent sounds/ambient sounds, such as sound effects in a movie, elevator music, iPod music, live music performed in an auditorium).
  • How does an audio meaning connect into a universe of sounds? (such as soundscapes, musical keys, musical genres e.g. major/minor musical keys, baroque/reggae genres).



Whose interests do these meanings serve?

  • How do sounds or constellations of sounds establish certain priorities? (e.g. warnings, mood in musical keys).
  • Whose interests does the audio meaning serve? (e.g. ambient store music).
  • What affinities does it express or suggest? (e.g. serious/easy listening music).


Table 11.1: Audio Design Elements

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