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    Sound + Image in Computer-Based Design: Learning from Sound in the Arts

    International Conference on Auditory Display

    University of Glasgow, UK. 1st - 4th November 1998


    M. Cooley


    Sound is underutilized in software and on the web, in spite of its obvious value to other media, such as film. Many practitioners in computer-based design, particularly those with backgrounds in programming and print design, are simply unfamiliar with the medium of sound.

    The performing arts has a long history of creating sound which makes a powerful impression on human perception and emotion, and has accumulated a rich body of theories and practical insights for how this is done.

    These theories and insights should be explored for their usefulness in improving sound design in software.

    The purpose of the research discussed in this paper has been to learn from the principles and practices of sound design in the performing arts, and to discuss and demonstrate ways in which some of these ideas might be helpful to designers of computer-based media and software.

    This research considers performing arts theory with an emphasis on sound, validates some of this theory in the form of a series of interactive multimedia exercises, and describes commentary from performing arts professionals who discuss practical and theoretical issues in sound design from an experienced perspective.

    Games tend to make better use of sound than other computer based products and, because of their narrative qualities, occupy a place in design somewhere between traditional performing arts and software.

    For these reasons, games have lessons to offer to other areas of computer-based design in terms of sound use, and some analysis of game design is included here, as well.


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