Sound

I have been in love with music since I was born basically, putting on headphones, turning the volume up and spacing out. Why focus on anything when you can disappear in a song? My initial plan for this blog post was creating a podcast and uploading it but turns out that requires a lot of work and also I’d rather not have to listen to my own voice for hours while editing that, thank you very much.

So, alas, here we go: the property of sounds that determines the pitch is the frequency. It is measured in hertz (Hz) and the human hearing range captures 20 to 20,000 Hz. The hearing range gradually declines with age, which means young people can hear sounds older people cannot. Years ago this was used by shop owners to make young customers, mainly teenagers, leave their stores.

In order to record sound you need a microphone. (Big surprise there.) There are multiple microphone categories which are used for different purposes. Let’s say someone wants to record group vocals, like a choir, an omnidirectional microphone with its maximum ambient pickup would be perfect for that situation. It has a frequency of 20 to 18,000 Hz (wow!) and can either be powered by battery or phantom power, which means it is connected to the camera and uses the camera’s power.

Other types of microphones are, for example, stereo microphones which have a great spacial impact and the realism of a live sound field. They can capture between 30 and 20,000 Hz and are mainly used for radio and TV recordings. But, traditionally, they were only powered by battery. Another microphone is the cardioid microphone, a cheaper version of the classical studio microphone which has the same frequency as stereo microphones. They do not pick up background sound easily and have a minimal sound distortion which makes them ideal for vocal close-ups, overhead recordings or piano and string concerts. Like most microphones on this list, they too run on battery and phantom power. The mini cardioid microphone is fundamentally the same as a cardioid microphone, but records with a frequency between 40 and 20,000 Hz and is often attached to a power and a transmitter module. It results in crips and full sounding voices and an overall clear sound. Finally, the unidirectional microphone is set at a 30 degree angle. It has a normal setting for close up and medium distance and a tele setting for long distance recordings. Its frequency is from 70 to 18,000 Hz.

The Zoom H4 Stereo Recorder is very sensitive, which means it picks up lots of unwanted noise. To avoid this, you need to get as close to the sound source as possible when you record. The recorder then saves the data on its SD card in either .wav or .mp3 format (wav is basically like raw but for music). A very big advantage is that you can plug in your headphones and immediately listen to recordings.


Personally, I liked getting a short ten minute break to take a stroll around Tower C. Yes, I did have to record surrounding sounds and like some creepy stalker I did not only record birds and cars but also random students talking. Although I shortened that recording and looped it so you cannot actually hear their conversation. Below is a screenshot of my project in Logic Pro and the link to the final song (it is quite short).

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-1-53-53-pm


Sadly, the workshop was mainly focused on the technical theory of music and less on the affect it has on our brains which is extremely interesting and cool, so I did some personal research on it and decided to include some of it in this blog post.

The author of this article lists eight things music does to our brains. Since I’m quite sure you don’t have the time to read all of this, here is a quick summary:

  1. Music affects how we see neutral expressions: If you listen to sad music, you are more likely to interpret a neutral face as a sad one and vice versa with happy music.
  2. Less is more: If you turn the volume level to moderate, it can improve your creativity.
  3. Music determines your personality or rather your personality determines your taste in music. (I can’t summarise this, it’s really complex and cool but I will include the graphic they used in the article. Funnily enough, according to this I have both low- and high-self esteem, but I am very creative and lazy, okay…)
  4. Music distracts you when you drive. (What a crazy, surprising fact.)
  5. Taking music lessons as a child makes you smarter and cooler and superior. (Jk, but it does apparently improve motor and reasoning skills.)
  6. Music makes you pay attention: Classical music improves your visual attention the most
  7. Listening to people talk on the phone is distracting, especially  when you hear only one side of the conversation.
  8. Music makes you feel less tired when you exercise: Listening to music when you work out, makes you unconsciously train longer and harder.

music-and-personality

Furthermore, here are three youtube videos. The first two actually explain how music affects our brains and are quite interesting. I also found a TED Talk by Hauke Egermann, but it was pretty long and I stopped paying attention halfway through so I chose not to include it. (Why am I mentioning it now then? Honestly, I don’t know. I cannot explain my brain to you.) Finally, the third video I included is not actually that relevant because it is a quite literal interpretation of how music changes us, but it’s funny.

Cheers.

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