Created By: SeptimusHeap on January 4, 2013 Last Edited By: SeptimusHeap on August 2, 2013

Sound Coded For Your Convenience

Indication over sound coding

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Sounds are often used to convey information in storytelling, even in works that aren't told orally.

Sounds are one of the primary means of communications between humans, and one of the oldest means of storytelling.

Sounds invoke emotions. For example, some noises can awe us and make us scared, while other noises are inherently funny. They may bring about happiness or sorrow. Importantly, noises and sounds can effectively set a scene of a story without showing or telling anything.

When the sound used is music this can be used in many ways to signify something in the work. It can set the mood of a scene, celebrate a person or personal victory, via Fanfare, and set unique tone to an exotic setting with a Regional Riff.

Compare with Color-Coded for Your Convenience

Subtropes:

[[index]] [[/index]]

Examples:

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
  • Giant Robo: Robo has a certain "growl" in lieu of a voice. "Crush them, Robo!" "GROWL"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
  • It's Me or the Dog: While dogs can learn to associate words with commands, what works better is the tone of voice. So "no" type commands have to be issued in a firm tone, and "good dog" should be spoken in a happy one.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • In Left 4 Dead, each special infected has a short tune that plays when they are nearby.
  • In The Legend Of Zelda The Windwaker's Battleship-clone minigame, the guy running the game makes his own sound effects: "Sploosh..." for a miss, and "KA-BOOM!" for a hit.
  • Throughout the Metroid Prime series, suit expansions make a humming sound when you approach them. It's much more distinct in Metroid Prime: Hunters, where the sound is louder and is different depending on what the item is.
  • Pokémon: In the games every pokemon has a different animal call they make, made up of beeping sound bits that you can hear in battle or in the pokedex. Considering that there's over 500 different kinds of pokemon it's pretty amazing how much work they put into giving each of them a unique sound classification.
  • RuneScape: TzTok-Jad, the end boss of the Fight Caves, has three different attacks, any one of which can kill a player in one hit. Different sound effects play based on the attack it's about to use, giving the player a chance to prepare even if they miss the visual cue.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 71
  • January 5, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Bumping for more examples or comments about the description.
  • January 5, 2013
    Astaroth
    Add Musical Spoiler to the 'supertrope to' list
  • January 7, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Done. More examples, comments etc, please?
  • January 7, 2013
    Someoneman
    In Left 4 Dead, each special infected has a short tune that plays when they are nearby.
  • January 12, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Please add more examples and hats!
  • January 14, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Bumping again for examples and hats.
  • January 14, 2013
    EnaiSiaion
    Is it just me or does this trope essentially say "Sounds occasionally convey meaning"?
  • January 14, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Yeeah, that was discussed here
  • January 18, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    More examples, please?
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    Leitmotif, if I understand what you're going for. The description and title both need work - it was not clear that this was a super-index until I clicked through.
  • January 18, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Supertrope and index. That is what I am thinking of.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    OK. I wanna reiterate that the title makes no god damned sense.
  • January 18, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    It was propsed here. I can rename it, but I'd like to see it discussed there.
  • January 22, 2013
    batgirl1
    Would Voices Are Mental count, since it tells you who's who even though visually they look alike?
  • February 20, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Another examples bump. Please, we need to get the TRS done.
  • February 20, 2013
    Quag15
    Does the entrance of the TARDIS (that whirr whirr sound) of Doctor Who counts?
  • February 20, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ Septimus Heap: Dont know that.

    Edit by xFllo: It's listed as an example of Signature Sound Effect which is currently indexed as a sub-trope of this concept. So yes, it does count, but there is no need to list it here.
  • February 20, 2013
    troacctid
    • In The Legend Of Zelda The Windwaker's Battleship-clone minigame, the guy running the game makes his own sound effects: "Sploosh..." for a miss, and "KA-BOOM!" for a hit.
    • RuneScape: TzTok-Jad, the end boss of the Fight Caves, has three different attacks, any one of which can kill a player in one hit. Different sound effects play based on the attack it's about to use, giving the player a chance to prepare even if they miss the visual cue.
  • February 25, 2013
    XFllo
    Would Psycho Strings be another subtrope? Methins that yes, if I got the trope right. Also Ominous Latin Chanting.

    Perhaps also a lots of, lots of other Language Tropes though obviously not all of them.

    Language Barrier for example, or Everything Sounds Sexier In French or El Spanish O, or You No Take Candle.
  • February 26, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Video Games
    • Each monster in id's Doom series has a unique sound when the Space Marine enters their field of awareness. The sound is a clue that you've been seen, and by what class of monster.
  • February 26, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Ok, added some stuff, but I am not 100% sure on the merits of all the items on the index.
  • February 26, 2013
    XFllo
    Septimus, I probably did not get the trope right at first, and I feared as much.

    Even in works that aren't told orally, sounds are often used to convey information.

    So we want examples from media like video games or silent films that have only music, or silent puppet movies or animated stuff with only noises, and the like? I can't think of much more.

    Language Tropes then like Language Barrier, Everything Sounds Sexier In French, El Spanish O, or You No Take Candle then do not fit. As they do have language (Captain Obvious) and would be narrated orally.

    (I peeked into that discussions you linked but it seemed too long, and I admit I haven't read it yet. Is there any post in the discussion that would summarize it? Or what has troper hive mind resolved so far?)
  • February 26, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Hmm - this would be my description-writing skills (or the lack thereof) showing up. I'll ask for help.
  • February 26, 2013
    troacctid
    ^^ If that was what it meant, then it would say "In works that have no dialogue..."

    "Even" is inclusive, not exclusive, and "told orally" refers to oral storytelling, not any media with dialogue. Any work with sound in it is fine for our purposes.
  • February 26, 2013
    Thecommander236
    "Sound is generated from vibrations in matter. Throughout the history of the universe vibrations have existed as radiation and shock waves. Eventually when humanoids were formed they learned that sound invoked emotions in them. This culminated in early "humans" when music was discovered. Over the centuries, music has been developed from the sounds of nature using physics. This music is used in a variety of ways which include: invoking sorrow, bringing happiness, inciting nostalgia, setting a scene or story, to rocking out hard core style plus many others."

    We aren't formal here, but music is my passion and nature mastered it before us (damn you birds and your beauty...), but sometimes I just want to rock out HARDCORE MOFO- ... Sorry...
  • February 27, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    A bit too much irrelevant information at the start.
  • February 27, 2013
    XFllo
    I still don't know what would be relevant. My guess for now: We want things like these:
    • humming to indicate happy mood
    • whistling
      • men whistle when impressed seeing a hot woman (there must be a trope for this -- edit: Wolf Whistle)
      • "innocent" whistling to pretend you did nothing (there must be a trope -- edit: Not So Innocent Whistle)
      • whistling is generally seen as an expression of joy, calm, or confidence.
      • if whistling appears in music, it usually feels surreal, sometimes sinister. (I found this sentence here in a forum; it has a list of songs with whistling.)
    • animals -- both pleasant and fearful sounds
      • when predators are at first just heard, or only heard - Nothing Is Scarier)
      • bird songs to indicate a beautiful day, the beginning of spring or pastoral setting
      • chickens, pigs, horses, cows etc: for scenes set in the countryside or farms (tropes like Call To Agriculture)
      • coockooroockoo to indicate morning
      • sounds of Ravens And Crows or Owl Be Damned are of course ominous
      • Bears Are Bad News
      • Panthera Awesome (the roaring of lions etc.)
      • insect - ominous humming sound can be heard before they appear
    • nature
      • a crash of thunder
      • volcano eruption
      • earthquake
      • strong wind
      • rain
    • people screaming for being terrified or being in pain
    • exasperated sighs for being hopeless, not knowing what to do or being tired
    • Language. Most languages can be defined as sound with meaning. However, if you happen not to understand the language, then it just becomes a set of beautiful or obscure sounds, depending on how the audience views it or how the author wants to play it.
    • in naval setting
      • whistling indicates that that the captain is coming aboard
      • whistling when topsails are being shortened
      • when a character is being flogged, a marine soldier keeps drumming ominously
    • city sounds: traffic, cars, angry drivers, honking, trains, underground, talking shop-assistants, advertisements, people chatting while having lunch

    And the like? Is this what you have in mind?
  • February 27, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    I am starting to get doubts about this - I'll look at here
  • February 27, 2013
    XFllo
    Then there are things like Stock Sound Effect, Fanfare, Mood Motif, Dramatic Timpani, Drumroll Please, Losing Horns, already indexed Music Tropes (though perhaps only some of these would belong here)... The list goes on and on, and it will require a lot of work. I think it might work as super-trope index.

    I would add to the description that the idea is to make it similar to Colour Coded For Your Convenience.

  • February 27, 2013
    troacctid
    It's certainly not limited to music.
  • February 27, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Hmm... We could cut out the part from the beginning.

    "When humanoids were formed they learned that sound invoked emotions in them. This culminated in early "humans" when music was discovered. Over the centuries, music has been developed from the sounds of nature using physics. This music is used in a variety of ways which include: invoking sorrow, bringing happiness, inciting nostalgia, setting a scene or story, to rocking out hard core style plus many others."

    Then add something like:

    "Sound it self invokes emotions in general. For example, the sound of an earthquake or a volcano inspires fear while the sound of a fart causes laughter."

    Would that work?
  • February 27, 2013
    jkbeta
    Does this trope work as a generic supertrope for Accent Tropes?
  • February 27, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Subtrope: Sound Of No Damage.
  • February 27, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Oops. Umm, I didn't actually edit anything. Lol. I meant to bump it, but I forgot... Never mind.
  • February 28, 2013
    XFllo
    @ Thecommander236: Too much of a Purple Prose to fit in this lovely and informal wiki, methinks. :-) But I like some parts of it.

    Sound invokes emotions. For example, the sound of an earthquake or a crash of thunder awes us and might bring about fear, while the sound of a fart causes laughter. [note: do we need Toilet Humour?] Sounds bring happiness, sorrow or evoke nostalgia, and it can effectively set a scene of a story.


    edit: @Thecommander236, answering your post below: No. Just no. :-D Not even For Science can justify Purple Prose. This wiki is a Serious Business, right? ;-)

    What noises do you find inherently funny? I would really like to remove the fart joke. For me, it's the beeping sound used when big vehicles are reversing. Don't know why exactly, but it cracks me up every single time. I think it was used several times in The Simpsons.
  • February 28, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Purple Prose is necessary for SCIENCE! GOTTA SHOW THOSE HCl MOLECULES WHO'S BOSS!
  • February 28, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Video Games
    • The Hover game included with MS Windows 98 SE has a unique sound for every single status change. Even opposing robot craft have unique sound cues. An experienced Hover player need never look at the dashboard to know his status, because the sound cues are that thorough.
  • March 6, 2013
    XFllo
    This needs more Wiki Magic Love. It's a hard trope to organize, but I think a very useful one.
  • March 6, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Agreed, but I can't think of anything.
  • March 6, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    • In Halo, every weapon and vehicle has a distinctive sound so that opponents can hear it and deduce what their enemy is using.
  • March 7, 2013
    XFllo
    I think we should concentrate on collecting tropes and super-tropes that would fit this super index and super-supertrope. To compare with colour-coding: there is for instance Common Eye Colors on the index, and that trope includes many other tropes like Black Eyes Of Evil, Brown Eyes, Creepy Blue Eyes etc.

    While collecting examples like TARDIS sound or sounds from video games is useful, I think they are mostly covered by the already existing sub-tropes. Sound Coded For Your Convenience is actually a launched trope, but currently going through Trope Repair Shop.
  • March 7, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    OK, my main issue with the current definition is that it comes off very much like People Sit On Chairs.

    If I am wrong, we can simply proceed with listing examples and tropes.
  • March 7, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ No way! If colours give meaning to the story, so do sounds. Consider roaring of lions. The characters don't see them, but just hear them. It still scares the hell out of them. Does it sound like Chairs? Not to me it doesn't. :-) It's a sound that has a clear story-telling purpose.
  • March 7, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Music is huge man, huge. I can tell that nothing gets me motivated like music.
  • March 7, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ But it's not only music. It was clearly established.
  • March 7, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Oh I know. I realized after I said it, but I know more about music's effect on people than general sounds since I'm a musician not a sound manager.
  • March 17, 2013
    McKathlin
    Voice Acting Tropes is a related index.
  • April 1, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Bumping this for more hats/comments/suggestions. I am going to implement the others as soon as I can.
  • April 1, 2013
    xanderiskander
    for the examples

    Anime and Manga

    also some subtropes:
  • April 1, 2013
    yogyog
    Slightly confused by this - do you mean...

    1) Sounds, rather than speech used as communication by the characters 2) Sound used for emotional cues rather than actual sound effects (Like Editorial Synesthesia or Unsound Effect) 3) a list of all tropes about sound

    All of these seam valid - but - I see them as separate things. Well, a list of all sound related tropes would include the other two, but I think you need to be a little clearer on this one.
  • April 1, 2013
    xanderiskander
    ^Here's how I see it:

    1) Sounds that indicate an event is about to happen or is happening (see: Musical Spoiler)

    2) Music, themes, or accents used to identify, a character or indicate something about a character: such as a Leitmotif for music, Altum Videtur, Smart People Speak The Queens English, for accents. for evil characters, evil cults and Eldritch Abominations they sometimes use Voice Of The Legion
  • April 1, 2013
    XFllo
    @ Septimus: I think it's not hattable yet, but the concept is ok, and it's starting to shape up. This supertrope is really needed.
  • April 8, 2013
    DunDun
    I proposed a name in this thread, which I hope is the correct place to do it. I'll mention it here to effectively bump this: Sounds Suspicious For Your Speculation -- sounds that are obviously different than "normal" to get the audience's attention to some aspect that is not "normal."
  • April 8, 2013
    Mozgwsloiku
    Also related - Hell Is That Noise
  • April 8, 2013
    xanderiskander
    I also added a suggestion for the name in the thread mine is "Convenient Sound Classification"
  • April 23, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ I like that, but I also have no problem with the working title. I think in this case it would be a good thing that it's a snow clone of Colour Coded For Your Convenience.
  • May 17, 2013
    DunDun
    I don't even remember seeing this draft, voting in the thread, or mentioning anything about "Sounds Suspicious" or anything. Honestly, it's a little frightening.

    To the point, however, verbal communication is not the primary means of communication between humans. Non-verbal cues can make or break one's sales pitch; non-verbal communication, e.g., facial expressions, hand gestures, posturing, and other subconscious gestures, is a great deal more important to communication than the spoken word, pitch, inflection, and other verbal cues (like tone or accent).

    Simply put, the first paragraph is wrong and should be taken out.
  • May 18, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    I find that somewhat questionable. Citation?
  • May 18, 2013
    DunDun
    On the Other Wiki. Though the article was flagged as being too much like a personal essay, the citations in that section ought to help. And there's also this.
  • May 18, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Ah. The Wikipedia article makes an interesting cite, but I'd like to know about the storytelling version of it.

    The PMC link talks about a specific situation. I am leery at expanding its meaning.
  • June 5, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    OK, we do not really seem to be going anywhere here. I did rewrite the description as @/Dun Dun proposed, as well as shuffling around some paragraphs to make it clearer.

    Has someone additional suggestions for the description and examples?
  • June 21, 2013
    videogmer314
    • Throughout the Metroid Prime series, suit expansions make a humming sound when you approach them. It's much more distinct in Metroid Prime: Hunters, where the sound is louder and is different depending on what the item is.
  • June 21, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    Thanks. More?
  • July 2, 2013
    xanderiskander
    • Pokemon: In the games every pokemon has a different animal call they make, made up of beeping sound bits that you can hear in battle or in the pokedex. Considering that there's over 500 different kinds of pokemon it's pretty amazing how much work they put into giving each of them a unique sound classification.

    Description: When the sound used is music this can be used in many ways to signify something in the work. It can set the mood of a scene, celebrate a person or personal victory, via Fanfare, and set unique tone to an exotic setting with a Regional Riff.
  • July 9, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    I added to the description and examples. It's a bit small in the example department, though - unless we think that this is going to have few examples because most fit the subtropes.
  • bump.
  • July 26, 2013
    XFllo
    Another to the list: Westminster Chimes

    There is a similar draft in ykttw about sound and setting. I think it would make a good sub-trope to this draft.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=xutrz2ja024nv58ucqfe54r2
  • July 26, 2013
    DAN004
  • July 26, 2013
    DAN004
    By the way
    • Mega Man: when you hear the sound of whistling, it's a cue that Proto Man is coming into the scene.

    Compare Leitmotif.
  • July 26, 2013
    XFllo
    @DAN004: That page you linked is in Trope Repair Shop and will be probably renamed (the use of sound as coding for computer games). This is additional place to get stuff done and we strive to create a Super Trope. :-) Leitmotif is already on the list and was discussed before. Admittedly, this discussion is long and you may not have seen it. :-)
    Another to the list:
  • August 2, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    What should we do with the video game examples here? They fall under the soon-to-be-renamed-Sound Coded For Your Convenience, not this trope.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=rjy25tvmi9lfw3lx0o1g6hda