Our modern world of devices and gizmos specializes in sounds as well as visuals and electronic advances. The acoustic element might be overwhelmed by all of the technological wizardry, but it’s just as crucial to the whole experience — and in my view, pretty intriguing, too.
I’m not sure who picks the sounds, or what process they follow, but it’s got to be a pretty interesting job. For example, the remote log-in process for our firm’s computer system requires you to follow several password steps and work through multiple stages of security. If you successfully navigate all of the safeguards, you get a little audio cue that tells you you’re in. It’s a rising three-note piping sound that makes you think that Pan is gleeful, perhaps even prancing, about your success in obtaining access. On the other hand, if you’ve made a false move or mistyped a letter or number in a password, you get the sound of a colossal thud, as if a pallet of bricks has crushed a roomful of outdated electronic equipment and old Blockbuster videos. It’s the quintessential sound of failure.
Wouldn’t you like to know what other sounds were considered for these purposes? How many thousands of snippets of sound were evaluated and tested on focus groups before the final sounds were determined? It’s hard to argue with the happy piper, but I wonder whether the initial notes of Trumpets Voluntary, or the first few chords of Ticket to Ride, were among the finalists? And while the colossal thud conveys, quite effectively, that you’ve flopped, how about a descending two-note foghorn sound, or the crash of breaking china?
And don’t get me started on ringtones.