As the year continues, many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…
While driving through the hills the other day, I risked taking my eyes off the road for a moment to look down into the valley where there was a hard line between a patch of evergreen tress and the bare grass. That’s a fairly common sight in the hills of California. It’s a striking and beautiful contrast that got me thinking about where the limitations are in creating sonic contrasts.
It’s easy to create a moment of contrast with sound, either between sounds or against the visuals. What’s decidedly harder to create is a sustained contrast, restricted to sound, that can be observed over time. I could have pulled over to stare at those trees in the valley, and the contrast would exist for as long as I chose to stay there. We can create contrast against an image that lasts over time, but sound has very few hard edges to create that form of contrast with itself. You might be arguing that it’s not so hard to do in music, but we don’t really talk about music on this site. Here we’re more interested in the ways we can use other types of sounds to convey meaning.
This is one of those puzzles that is highly dependent on context. There are definitely ways we can create and make use of “hard lines” between sounds. We’re usually subtle in pursuing those applications though, and rarely so attention grabbing as that line of trees was to me. Maybe it’s something we can be a little bolder with…in the right context, of course.