Monday, November 10, 2014

The Sound of Creativity

By Rich

At the start of November, NASA added 60 space-related sounds to SoundCloud for free download. Some of them, like rocket test fires, Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon, or the real "Houston, we have a problem" announcement could be considered common. And then there are those which you'll probably listen to over and over again, such as lightning on Jupiter, a passing comet, or radio emissions from Saturn. Those snippets are both fascinating and somewhat chilling to listen to, especially in a dark and quiet room.

In examining these samples, I wondered about the sounds of creativity. Sure, you could point out the clacks of a keyboard, the slurp of a coffee, and the screams of anger followed by the crumpling of paper, but these are heard on a regular basis. Like NASA did converting interstellar plasma into a series of soundwaves, how would some of our creative instances transfer into audible samples?

Let's take success as an example, because this is what many of us want to achieve in our lifetime. Does his transfer into a John Phillips Sousa march, fireworks, or a huge sigh of content? What about failure? For some the sound would be a deflating balloon or the Wah Wah heard when a contestant doesn't win a The Price is Right game. For others, the sound of failure is the continuous rolling thunder of frustration.

Then there are the sounds an individual hears during the creative process. Of course, since a good many of us are from the Saturday morning cartoon generation, a brilliant idea is signified by the ding of an illuminated light bulb. However, it can also be signified by a crash of glass, or a pop, or a heavy gust of wind clearing the baffles of the mind. On the opposite end of the scale, those who can't think of a new concept hear the sound of steel gates crashing all around them. Think the ending credits of Get Smart.

The fact creative people can match hundreds of sounds to their successes and failures means they are truly creative and have an endless supply of material to work with. And for that we hear nothing but applause.

What sounds to you hear in your creative process?


Sarah Sullivan said...

What a creative post! (can you hear the sound of two hands clapping together in delight?) I have never considered the sound of creativity but now that I think about it, the entire time I was helping to design our home, Bach's Jesu Man of Joy's Desiring ran on a continuous loop in my head. When we moved in it was the first CD I played.

Shirley Drew said...

I love this post, Rich! First, I loved the reference to "Get Smart"--I can hear those gates slamming shut--thanks for the memory. And I play soundtracks when I write. I always find what I deem the most appropriate soundtrack for the topic--either because of mood or some other connection.

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