Sound Analysis

McKee provides a framework for sound analysis: vocal delivery, sound effect, music and silence. McKee also talks about the modal relation, but the three pieces are merely audio, so we only focus on the four aspects of the audio.

In Own Worst Enemy, since this is an audio drama, the audio tries to imitate the actual sense of drama. There are many sound effects used in the audio. The noisy restaurant background, the ringtone and the cars all serve as the context of the story so we know implicitly where the story happens. Also the phone conversation is edited to feel like it is happening in the phone. The vocal quality also varies. There are actually two voices producing the same exact words but have different effect. The pitch, linkage between words and tone differ in the two voices to produce the different effect. One is the actual communication between the man and the lady, which sound very gentle and polite. While in the recording of the conversation, the man sounds flippant. During the conversation, there are also several silences serving as the clue of the development of the story. After a relative long silence, we know the plot would change. Music also plays an important role here. At first the music is quite deep. When the man finally succeed to improve his voice, the background music become rising and quick, which feels happy.  This piece is the one among the three using most of all the elements provided by McKee.

In The Super Always Rings Twice, there are several voices that are distinguishable by the voice quality. One male monologue is narrative to indicate the development of the story. When some interesting part of the story happens, some other voice will appear and tell that part. In most of the part, the pitch, tone, speed and loudness will change. This will attract the attention of the audience. Music here is to enhance the emotion of the story. The most interesting part is John Mascol’s storytelling. The background music is quite silent and slow and feel mysterious. There are also several intended silences to make this part even more extraordinary and enhance the terrified feeling.

Basically Big Brains is made from several male and female voices. Their voice varies when the stories proceed in order to express some particular emotion at the point of the story. The voice variation is ordinary for native English speaker. For example, when the lady finally realizes that his old knowledge of meal that chicken is for dinner all the time is wrong, her pitch and loudness increase to express a kind of astonishment. It seems that it is a special design that each story is broken into two pieces, sometimes separated by music. The first part is how the narrator forms the wrong knowledge and the second piece is that how he/she realizes that the knowledge is wrong. The choice of music is not arbitrary. Mostly the music is of jazz style, which aims to make the whole atmosphere relaxed and easy. This is harmonious with the stories because they are fun and anecdotal. I do not find any special sound effect. Mostly there are music as the background. But different from the previous two, the music also serves as a transition of different stories. Also, there is no specially designed silence effect in the audio. The silence in the audio is quite natural.

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