Sound design is the art and practice of creating soundtracks for a variety of needs.

A sound designer is one who designs sounds. Sound designers use some techniques and tools to create new sounds. These can be anything from multiple sound effects above one another or sound that don’t exist in the world.

Today, from the special effects in films and video games to the ambiance of some songs, we use the sound design for many things.

Brief History Of Sound Design

We have been using sounds to evoke emotions since prehistoric times. Back then, people used sounds in religious practices.

In the Medieval Era, stage managers used sounds to enhance the performances of plays. Then, in the Elizabethan Theatre, people used bells, whistles, horns to produce sounds. They wrote cues in the scripts for music and sound effects to enter. Luigi Russolo wrote a treatise on the use of noises in the theatre. The name of that treatise was The Art Of Noises. It is the earliest document about sound design. He built devices to create sounds for theaters.

A London theatre used a sound of a baby’s cry in 1890. It was the earliest use of a recorded sound. In 1906, H. B. Tree used recordings in a play. Back then, no one was using the sound designer term yet. Instead, they call them effects men. Over the 20th Century, people started using recorded sounds instead of live effects.

Sound Design In The Music

In 1896, Thaddeus Cahill invented Telharmonium. In 1906, it was presented to the public in a series of concerts. Then, Russian inventor Leon Theremin invented Theremin in 1919. It was an instrument that a performer could play without touching. In Europe, Maurice Martenot invented Ondes Martenot in 1928. All of these efforts lead to the development of synthesizers.

Digital World

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, with the help of digital audio, things got easier for sound designers. Digital technology allowed them to create more complicated sounds. They could just use their computers to create sounds. Modern control rooms made it easier to play sounds in theaters. They also started using MIDI Show Control (MSC). Walt Disney World‘s Magic Kingdom was the first user of MSC.

Game Audio

The rise of interest in games forced people to improve sound technology. As a result, they created tools such as sound engines. So, even if they don’t know computer programming, they were able to use audio engines.

World Wide Web

With the help of the Internet, sound designers can have sound sources quicker and cheaper.  Nowadays, we can preview, purchase and download sounds from the comfort of our home. We can also design, share and sell our products on the Internet.


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Gökhan Damgacı

Gökhan Damgacı

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