Functional Sounds: State of Research

In 2013 the first international conference of the European Sound Studies Association chose the topic Functional Sounds: Auditory Culture and Sound Concepts in Everyday Life. A selection of the most outstanding and contributions to this conference subsequently were published in two publications in 2014 and 2015 – constituting an exhaustive compendium regarding the state of research in sound design and functional sounds:


Part I:
Functional Sounds in Sound Art and Popular Culture

Journal of Sonic Studies 4 (2014) No. 7
(edited by Marcel Cobussen, Julia Krause & Holger Schulze)

Part II:
Functional Sounds in History and the Public Sphere

SoundEffects 5 (2015), No. 1
(edited by Carla J. Maier & Holger Schulze)

The 11 authors deal in their articles e.g. with the sound of Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw (Darryl Cressmann, P.II), with the historical apparatus of the théâtrophone (Melissa Van Drie, P.II), with background and recording/storage media noise in sound recordings (Melle Jan Kromhout, P.I) or with the sound of the band Sunn O))) (Olivia Lucas, P.I); they explore the sound in prison movies (Philippa Lovatt, P.II), the disappearance of the object in recorded commercial music (Francisco López, P.I), they propose and analyze affective soundscape composition for evoking sonic immersion (Mark Nazemi, P.I) and the functional aspects of an acousmatic composition (James Andean, P.I) or they adapt Peircean semiotics to sound theory and practice (Leo Murray, P.II).

As a whole this selection of articles represents not only a state of research on functional sounds in the 2010s – these articles also intend to inspire and to provoke further research in this still underresearched field of expertise.