Sound Off! // Comment Klatsch #19: Take Us to the Bridge!
klatsch \KLAHCH\ , noun: A casual gathering of people, esp. for refreshments and informal conversation [German Klatsch, from klatschen, to gossip, make a sharp noise, of imitative origin.] (Dictionary.com)
Dear Readers: Fall is almost upon us and the SOCK is back! Today’s question asks you to think of this time of year, when one season moves to the next, a time of beginnings, endings, and flux. —J. Stoever, Editor-in-Chief
When and how has a particular sound eased an important transition, personally or historically?
Comment Klatsch logo courtesy of The Infatuated on Flickr.
In television shows, particularly narrative sitcoms or dramas, the show will open with a scene. Something dramatic will happen, reach a point of tension. Then the opening credits will roll and the theme song will play. This is a moment that engages the listener/viewer, enticing them to continue watching the show to see how the tension will resolve itself–or not. It’s also a moment of comfort. So nervous and excited, the sound of something we have heard before soothes us. Yet the theme song is also the aural sign for the show itself, and the show is the supposed impetus for our tension. Pleasure and discomfort, as one, in ebb and flow, made possible by the theme song-as-sign.
After having moved across the US multiple times in the past few years and hardly unpacked (and then donated) a significant amount of boxes, I find myself more and more drawn toward functional sounds designed for the specific purpose of “easing” transitions. Some of these sounds include, but are not limited to: aquatic rise and falls of text message bubbles, TV station ID’s that take the listener between programmed content, and the work of vaporwave artists who spend time with and do surgery on music for lobbies, malls, and empty banks. The utilitarian nature of telephone hold music, radio/tv bumpers, and other functional sounds are often designed to be heard but not listened to. Can transitions be re-interpreted? Must they continue to act as things to pushed through as quickly as possible? Or is there anything to be gained by lingering in the doorway, immobilized in a mobile space?
For me, these sounds also do the work of re-amplifying hazy affective fabrics woven by threads of suburban television watching sessions and backseat muffled top-40 radio easing long carpool rides. By zooming in on these sounds and musics, the stakes raise and fill these sounds with a kind of relational resonance to reconfigure “transitions” as welcomed, recurring parts of life…(yes, I’m moving again at the end of the year). In essence, this is a practice of listening and mislistening, embracing and subverting the functions of these musics and sounds. My listening ear stops in the doorway and remembers that the transitional moment rushes toward the “there” of the future, it has just as much potential to be the “here” of right now