Rhetorical Answer


A response to the question never asked


My first assignment for Sound Design puts the “woo!” in homewoork. I’m supposed to watch the animated movie The Triplets of Belleville and note how the filmmakers distinguish characters by giving each of them a signature sound.

The instructor demonstrated the use of signature sounds in class by showing a brief clip from another animated movie, Monsters Inc. As each monster slithered or waddled across the screen, it made a distinctive sound that set it apart from the others. This got me wondering, if I were a character in a movie, what would my signature sound be?

During the a capella song-building exercise my improv ensemble does in rehearsals, I noticed that I have a tendency to riff based on a few patterns of notes like da da da da (beat) ba dum! Repition of these patterns frees up my brain to play around with the tempo and pitch so that my vocalization harmonizes with and reacts to those of the other improvisers. If my signature sound were a pattern like this, I imagine it would vary according to my emotional state in a similar fashion. If I were hopped up on root beer, it would be a manic da da da da (hic) ba dum! If I were debugging code at work, it would be a slower, deliberate da da da daaa baaa DUM.

In the soundtrack of life, what would your signature sound be?

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