chapter  4
28 Pages

Sound experiments: making microphones/ hacking toys

SOUND AND MICROPHONE BASICS Microphones work on a very basic principle but, in order to understand them, it is first necessary to understand sound and the humans who use it. Sound is made by disturbing the air-by making it move. In our ear we have a thin membrane covering our eardrum. This membrane is very sensitive. When the disturbed air hits the membrane, it moves; these moves are registered and then interpreted by our brain. Even before we are born, as soon as our ears develop sufficiently we are building a library of sounds we recognize as well as those that we find pleasing and those that we do not. After we are born and we begin to use our eyes and ears together we associate sounds with the image of the person or object that makes them. Though sound and sensation (bodily feeling) are our very first ways of knowing and experiencing the world, our ability to identify and catalogue sound to the person or object that makes it often goes completely unnoticed. Learning to pay attention to what you hear is a big part of really understanding sound and making instruments that can help you isolate and record and/or amplify it.