The sounds of media: an interdisciplinary review of research on sound as communication

Bruhn-Jensen, Klaus The sounds of media: an interdisciplinary review of research on sound as communication. Revista Comunicar, 2010, vol. XVII, n. 34, pp. 15-23. [Journal article (Paginated)]


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English abstract

Sound remains significantly underresearched as a form of communication, as a modality of experience, and as a resource for cultural expression and social interaction. This is in spite of the centrality of sound in most media and communicative practices, including face-to-face interaction and digital networks. Recent years, however, have witnessed a revitalized interest internationally in the area. This review revisits previous research on three sound prototypes – speech, music, and environmental soundscapes – which has mostly been undertaken in separate disciplines: rhetoric, philology, linguistics, classical musicology, popular music studies, architecture, discourse analysis, and more. The article, further, outlines the potential for more interdisciplinary research on sound as communication – as a source of meaning and as a resource for action. This potential is suggested by the diffusion of mobile media and the pervasiveness of communication in everyday contexts. At present, ordinary media users are in position, not only to receive, but also to send diverse forms of auditory, visual, as well as textual information. Users are becoming senders in new configurations of one-to-one, one-to-many, and, increasingly, many-to-many communication. Ubiquitous soundscapes and other mediascapes are even challenging received notions of what a ‘medium’ is and could be. In conclusion, the article suggests that the growing current interest in sound studies itself may be the product of a reconfigured media environment in which sound has come back in style.

Spanish abstract

Es significativo que resulte todavía escasa la investigación sobre el sonido entendido como forma de comunicación, como modalidad de experiencia y como recurso para la expresión cultural y la interacción social. Y ello a pesar del papel central que el sonido tiene en la mayoría de las prácticas comunicativas y mediáticas, incluyendo la interacción cara a cara y las redes digitales. En los últimos años, sin embargo, hemos observado un renovado interés, por parte de la comunidad académica internacional, en este área. Esta revisión atiende a las investigaciones previas sobre tres tipos de sonido –la palabra hablada, la música y los paisajes sonoros ambientales– que hasta ahora han sido en su mayoría abordados por disciplinas diferentes y separadas entre sí: retórica, filología, lingüística, musicología clásica, estudios de la música popular, arquitectura, análisis del discurso y otras. Este artículo, además, enfatiza el potencial de un mayor número de investigaciones sobre el sonido como forma de comunicación, como fuente de significado y como recurso para la acción; lo que hoy resulta manifiesto por la difusión de los medios móviles y por la penetración de la comunicación en los contextos cotidianos. En la actualidad, los usuarios de los medios de comunicación tienen la capacidad, no sólo de recibir, sino también de enviar diferentes dinámicas auditivas y visuales, así como también información textual. El usuario se está convirtiendo en emisor de nuevas configuraciones de comunicación uno-a-uno, uno-a-muchos, y cada vez más, muchos-amuchos. La ubicuidad de los paisajes sonoros y de otros paisajes mediáticos desafía, pone en entredicho, las nociones tradicionales relativas a lo que es un «medio» y a lo que puede ser. En conclusión, este artículo sugiere que el renovado interés actual por los «sound studies» puede ser en sí mismo el resultado del entorno mediático reconfigurado, en el que el sonido se ha puesto de moda.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: Sound, speech, music, soundscapes, rhetoric, philology, linguistics, musicology, sonido, comunicación oral, música, paisajes sonoros, retórica, filología, lingüística, musicología.
Subjects: B. Information use and sociology of information > BC. Information in society.
H. Information sources, supports, channels. > HH. Audio-visual, Multimedia.
Depositing user: Alex Ruiz
Date deposited: 10 Aug 2012
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:23


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