For the uninitiated, the present year is 2016. As a species, we’ve been around for quite some time. I heard the Earth was created 5,000 years ago. BecauseI was not around at that time I cannot speak with total confidence to this end, so that year-count could be off by a fair margin.
In the arc of our time on Earth, whatever that may be, we’ve been hearing quite a diverse array of noises. Some musical, some biological, some technological. I’d like to take a moment to pay homage to some sounds that are either long gone, or on the verge of extinction. Long may you reverberate in noise-heaven.
Dial Tone/Phone Off the Hook (USA)
United States Dial Tone
I feel good about the dial tone. It’s actually just two sine-wave (pure tones with no harmonies or overtones) played at once; 350 hz and 440 hz. But it occurred to me recently that this quite-pleasant friend on the phone was probably going to be phased out in our lives. My sister argues that we’ll “always” have phones in businesses, etc, but she’s wrong. Please e-mail her on my behalf.
Terror-Inducing “Off-The-Hook” Tone
I feel a lot less good about the off-the-hook sound, because it obviously means a killer is loose in your house. Yikes! I’m okay with saying goodbye to this sound, as it presumably means there will be a sharp drop in murder-rates nation-wide.
An Angry Mob of Sword-Wielding /KnightsBarbarians Storming a Castle
Knights Storm a Castle
When an angry mob or army showed up at your fortress, you definitely knew it. From the sweet “shhhhing!” of swords being drawn, to the unmistakable cries of raged-out men growing louder, there’s a lot to be said about this sound. While it is extinct for now, given present circumstances globally, I would not rule it out for a resurgence.
Young Street-Urchins/Newsies Yelling “Extra! Extra!”
Extra! Extra! Mike Posts New Blog! Read All About It!
I’m sad to have never lived through the era where this sound would have echoed through the streets of the United States’ biggest cities-I think I would have made an excellent child laborer. Apparently, if there was breaking news, newspapers would print an “extra” at the last minute, and those lovable newsies would sell the pressing goods accordingly. SIDE NOTE: Probably Newsies, the musical, will soon be fully extinct, which I will personally mourn; it was inarguably Christian Bale’s crowning achievement.
Rewinding a Rented VHS Movie Because SOMEONE Could Not Be Bothered to Rewind It Before Returning It
Our Cruel Fate That Awaited Us At The End of a Movie
This sound is usually accompanied with groans of frustration, which are not featured in the given audio. Sometimes, a person would want to watch, say, Father of the Bride. They liked the movie, but they didn’t actually want to “own” it. They just wanted to have it for a little bit. So they would rent it, prepare snacks, dim the lights, sit down with their date, perhaps, and pop in the video. They would be outraged to find the tape had not be rewound. They would often rise, walk to the Video Cassette Player, hit rewind and be serenaded with this sound for some minutes.
Behold the gentle whirring of magnetized tape spinning backwards on two spools! We rarely hear, and will likely see the death of the sound of VHS’s in the near future.
Terrestrial Radio “Idents”
Radio “Idents” (Please email me if you actually sit through all of this, and I will mail you $0.25)
I don’t think I can fully articulate my problem with Terrestrial Radio “Idents” or “Stingers”. I think it has something to do with the now clumsy-seeming desperation to hook listeners by using absurdly bombastic and cheesy assertions. Not EVERY radio station can be “The home of Rock and Roll”, guys. Clearly, you have been duped by rock and roll, and it’s living a double-life, if not more than one.
But mainly, I just the the arms-race to retain listenership is entertaining. Evidently there must have been a time when radio stations found that it was all well and good to just tell them listener occasionally, and not bombastically/sensationally, what station they were listening to. Then it all got ruined by one jackass, presumably, and everyone had to follow suit. Even though the crumbling of terrestrial radio will cause us to lose many great things, I’m happy to see the “Ident” whither away.
Mash-Ups: The Audio Equivalent of Mixing Regular Mountain Dew and Red Mountain Dew
While the genre of “Mash-Up” is not really dead, I wish/suspect it will be soon. For those who are so lucky as to have avoided its tentacles, it’s a genre wherein a person with a laptop thinks, “Hey, I like these two fragments from these two songs, I’m going to go ahead and play them at the same time in a way that would be really satisfying to hyperactive 7 year olds, but adults will listen to it!”
I hold the unpopular opinion that music is a kind of food, and pop-music is generally like sugar. It tastes great, but really it’s slowly eroding your soul. Mash-Ups are basically the methamphetimines of our time; you get an incredible high but at the cost of your soul and sanity.
A Floridian Typewriter I Found
There was arguably never a more incidentally musical invention in human history. From it’s percussive CLACK of a letter typed to it’s cheery “ding!” happily reminding you that it’s time to slide the platen back to the left, the typewriter exudes musicality. So whether you’re writing a ransom letter or filing for divorce, you’ll be humming all the while. We’ll miss you, Typewriter!
People Claiming That These “Confounded Flying Contraptions Will Never Take Off, See?”
Ye Olde Time Negativity
Before humans really got the hang of flying, we spent considerably more time on the ground. As our desire to ascend into the heavens grew closer, and we teetered on the brink of flight, there was no shortage of negative Neds that were willing to shit all over our dreams. Fortunately, they were nay-saying in a period-appropriate dialect that now seems kind of funny. AUTHOR’S NOTE: This audio is a dramatized re-enactment.
Are there sounds you’d like to commemorate? Blips, Beeps and Burps long forgotten? Comment below, as this turned out to be a pretty easy and fun distraction from, you know, dredging up my soul. (Just kidding, it’s super fun.) See you soon!, happy Thanksgiving if that’s your bag!