Being surrounded more and more by a digital environment, could sound design be the way to share our emotions? A tailor-made sound creation is usually the key to materialize a deep sensory and emotional experience. Sound innovation thus becomes a pillar of plural and multi-sensory experiences, improving them but also making them more accessible.
Sound creation refers to the same semantics as the making of olfactory experiences. Depicting an emotion to display requires understanding its harmony, being in tune with it, adding its notes… Whether we’re talking about a fragrance or a piece of music. Adding up these characteristics allows us to use technology to create an emotional object through a scientific process. We would then create the right tune for the right scent.
This means we are able to create the sound of a perfume. IRCAM Amplify did this using the SpeaK method, made available by IRCAM’s Perception & Sound Design team, for Viktor & Rolf with the Infrared fragrance. By augmenting the scent with sound, we can convey the same emotion and sensation in another form, in any place, at any time.
More than translating sensations, sound creations allow the most optimal immersive experiences possible. The goal is to open an access for all to a sound experience, just as if you were at a live show through headphones or outside from inside your car.
To do this, Ircam Amplify is able to bring a new sound spatialization to the piece of music, while preserving the original integrity of a recording. This way, the sound ambiance that is being displayed is natural, instead of an artificially created background. No matter the quality of the listening device that you may use, the listening experience will be improved. Progressively, the sonic immersive experience is being democratized.
Immersing yourself in a sonic experience can also mean interacting with sound itself. The Group NRJ, the leading radio stations on smart speakers in France, is looking to go further than interacting with hosts through intelligent devices. Interactive audio content is now driving offers to advertisers and the group’s original content creation.
For instance, the children’s program developed for the station Chérie FM “Conte moi l’aventure” can be described as an interactive podcast. The story brings young listeners into the universe of Alice in Wonderland and regularly asks them to make a choice by answering a question to influence the narrative. Vocal interaction in real time allows everyone to take part in the stories they’re being told and immerse themselves a little bit more.
Last but not least, a plural experience can also happen outside of a fully digital environment. What we call “low tech” contexts make technology barely noticeable to make an interaction with sound even easier. This is a new way to connect with audio content even more intuitive and accessible to all.
The Philharmonie des enfants illustrates well this kind of interaction with the dispositive Maestra Maetro ! Through this experience, children are led to imitate the movements of a conductor of an orchestra and influence the music that is being played. Thanks to the technologies MuBu and Super VP developed by the team at IRCAM, interaction through movement makes a sensory experience almost complete.
Sound experiences: the new emotional eldorado
Watch the Forum on the Power of Sound in Industry 2022, to better understand the new uses of audio for a shared world.