Sound Language

So this may seem an unusual type of blog post compared to my recent ones, but in a recent lecture from a tutor on Audio Application module he briefly discussed how we can really define the way in which we discuss sound, mentioning words such as deep and full, and asking what these words really mean. When he first said this I completely agreed, and it wasn’t until on my long walk home I began to question it. For my undergraduate course last year I wrote a Dissertation about the Sound in Doctor Who and I used such phrases to discuss the sound. So I do agree with my tutor that it is perhaps not the best way to describe sound, but it does have some relevance and can be used on occasions. I have set myself the challenge of taking the words “Clear, Full and Grating.” I am going to describe them and find examples, whether it is music or a film scene.


In general I would describe clear to be more about a musical note rather than a piece of music, although it could be used to describe a piece of music too. I believe it to be something that is very clear, easy to hear and easy to notice whilst being very simple.

This example is from the film adaptation of Les Miserables and it’s the music which I would describe as being clear, especially from 1:04 to 1:46.

Taken from ildivo95 on Youtube.


To describe music as being full it should sound big and dramatic. It should stand out and be distinctive. If I was using the word full in a description it would be for music rather than a sound effect.

This example is from the 2005 Doctor Who theme tune. It uses an orchestra rather than electronic music, and the brass instruments especially are what I would describe as full.

Taken from moonraker79 on Youtube.


Now for grating I automatically want to use the word sharp. I think they are both describing something similar. It is a sound effect or music that should almost make the ear tingle and ring and make you feel uncomfortable.

The example I have found is music from Hitchcock’s Psycho, and I believe it really does have the ‘ringing in the ear’ effect.

Taken from BetOOoOoo FluoRescente! on Youtube.

So yes I believe I have managed to describe these words and find examples. These are how I view these words and you may think differently, but isn’t that the point. We all see, hear and think differently.


Dictionary Cambridge (2014) Clear Definition. [online] Dictionary Cambridge. Available from [Accessed 25th November 2014]

Dictionary Cambridge (2014) Full Definition. [online] Dictionary Cambridge. Available from [Accessed 25th November 2014]

Dictionary Cambridge (2014) Grating Definition. [online] Dictionary Cambridge. Available from [Accessed 25th November 2014]



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