introduction to sound theory
Knowing the theory behind sound's behaviour is a vital skill for a sound engineer: both recording and mixing (and every stage of the production process) involve a huge amount of dealing with sounds of different degrees of complexity. Every decision that a sound engineer is expected to make will influence the way sounds are recorded, reproduced or mixed together, thus the necessity of being able to predict what would happen if a certain processing is applied to a certain sound. But there is something that due to some sort of irrepressible desire to start tweaking knobs and pushing buttons is often overlooked by beginners: listening. Before cutting or boosting or compressing or applying any process to our sound, we must learn to distinguish, recognise, identify, know what we are dealing with.
How do we do that? Through experience and dedicated training we can educate our ears to a critical listening. In other words, throughout this course we will make our ears able to recognise and identify simple sounds first, and more complex ones secondly.
This first set of classes will concentrate on three main topics:
- The characteristics of sound as a physical phenomenon
- The way that sound is perceived by human ears
- The identification of simple sounds (pure tones)
After the completion of this set of lessons you will be able to:
- Describe the physical attributes of sound and its behaviour
- Name the main units used to measure different sound-related measurements
- Recognise and identify pure tones within a given frequency range, with the help of a reference tone.
In the test section some self assessed tests to evaluate your progress. The tests also serve the purpose of undertaking the practice that is vital to develop an educated ear: the tests are progressively more difficult so it is recommended to take them in the order they appear. Further explanation is provided in the respective test groups.
After having completed the whole set of tests, you will be able to progressively:
- Recognise and identify pure tones within a wider given frequency range with the help of a reference tone.
- Recognise and identify pure tones in the audible spectrum with a 1/3 of an octave of accuracy with the help of a reference tone.
For passing the competency tests you must be able to recognise and identify pure tones in the audible spectrum with a 1/3 of an octave of accuracy WITHOUT the help of a reference tone, which is the ultimate purpose of this part of this curriculum.