Sound Design

  The word of sound design could be quite strange. Design is the process, planning, and making detailed drawings of something. The combination between design and sound gives synesthetic meanings to us. Sound design makes this kind of synesthesia be linked with diverse media mediums.

  The actual term “sound design” was introduced by Murch as well as to describe his innovative sound work on Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 film about the Vietnam War, Apocalypse Now. 1 From then on, sound design has been used in various fields of media such as TV, commercial films, and films. For instance, sound design helps the image of broadcasting station in the field of TV. Through using diverse music such as title music, background music, and effective music so on, it plays an important role in developing the image from news to most programme. Moreover, even though individual sounds are integrated in to one sound, audience are prone to accept entire sound. So that the role of sound in films is quite significant in terms of making the flow of story goes well.     

  I read a book which name is “Sound Design” written by David Sonnenschein. Before reading the book, I had a personal bias that sound design is only for musicians due to the term of sound design sounded unfamiliar and being expert to me. However, once I finished reading phases of sound design which are described in detail in this book, I think that anyone can be a sound designer even they do not know how to make the quarter note. The reason is that sound design is referred to put music on the right places rather than compose music. Namely, it adjusts difference of views between a director and composer.

  However, sound design is often put aside by audiences and producers. When audiences watch TV and films, they do not tend to think of sound. Even though sound is able to double effects from image, it is quite hard that this fact can be perceived by audiences. Also, some producers take on a sound designer at the point that video and music has already been made so as to save money for designing sound. In this case, there might be discord between music which was already made and video. In addition, it is not feasible to demand creative sounds and insert on to images. Despite being in this adverse circumstance, sound designer do their best to double image’s effects.      

  I thought sound design only acts as complement for video. To illustrate, if we use original sound which was recorded firstly, the quality of image could be lower when we make films or motion pictures. However, video consist of image and sound. Even though image is excellent, a perfect video cannot be made as long as sound does not support it. The book “Sound Design” made me rethink about sound and perceive a potential of sound.         

  I always felt that sound was as important as image, not only from an expressive point of view as the artist, but also from the audience’s point of view of having a complete multi-sensory experience. 2


  1. William Whittington. (2007). Sound Design: Origins and Influences. In: William Whittington Sound Design & Science Fiction. The United States of America: The University of Texax Press. p21
  2. Miguel Isaza. (2010). David Sonnenschein Present “Sound Design for Prod”, New Webinar Series [Exclusive Q&A]. Available:    Last accessed 29th Nov 2011.

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