Portraying Sounds Using a Morphological Lexicon

Invited paper

Maxime Carron

SNCF Innovation & Recherche

Wednesday 3 june, 2015, 11:20 - 11:40

0.1 London (90)

Speaking about sounds is not an easy task. Although there are many words available in our language to describe acoustic sensations, there is no strong consensus on the meaning of sound descriptors. Whereas visual stimuli can easily be described by everyone using simple words such as shapes, colours and textures, the characterization of sound stimuli is much more delicate, especially for people who don’t have a proper sound expertise. Therefore several practical domains are suffering from barriers in the communication of sound related matters. Sound pratictionners such as sound designers, acousticians, composers, sound engineers… are using a very technical lexicon to talk about sound and music. Speaking to non-experts in such terms can easily lead to misunderstanding. On the other side, people from the industry often need to formulate requirements for a desired sound (either product sounds, digital sounds, soundscapes…) in the early stages of a design process and they do not have a standard way to express themselves. In this study we tried to developp a common sound lexicon adapted for communication purposes based both on theoretical literature and on sound experts practice. A didactic software which presents 35 « sound words » along with their definitions and some sound illustrations has been developped and confronted to both experts and non-experts. The application of this educationnal tool for sound sensory analysis purposes has also been investigated by the authors.

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