What super fascinating facts and info about audio have you heard, that could be shared as a Sound Tidbit in puzzles and treasure hunts of the upcoming music audio game 3DeafMice.com? Could be from technology, physics, history, music, biology, psychology, anything relating to sound and/or music that comes with a reputable source link (please include if you have it).

I'm developing this game based on my book "Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema," and hope to expand the knowledge base through community participation. You can already check out several Sound Tidbits we've posted on facebook.com/the3DeafMice (whip cracks, dolphin language, didgerdoo, etc.), and follow us as we develop this cool game.

Thanks so much for helping the Mice! - David Sonnenschein

12 Answers 12


Shepard's Tone Illusion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepard_tone

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    Richard Kings used this technique for the Batpod engine in the TDK and TDKR... gives it that constant feeling of badass acceleration even though the pitch isn't actually going anywhere. – Stavrosound Feb 24 '13 at 22:43

The Jedi lightsabres are tuned in A and the Sith ones are tuned in G. The 2 semitone pitch difference is present to make the duels seem more sinister and tense. It works too, if you pitched them both the same there would be a noticable difference in dramatic effect.


I remember coming across a section in Everest's "Master Handbook of Acoustics" (http://www.amazon.ca/Master-Handbook-Acoustics-Alton-Everest/dp/0071360972) about how at a certain depth in the ocean, the combination of pressure and temperature allows sound to be funnelled , and allowing it to travel for thousands of miles.

SOFAR channel: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOFAR_channel

Always found that interesting


1883 Volcanic Eruption of Krakatoa

The soundwave from the final explosion cracked one foot thick concrete at 300 Miles and was heard 3100 Miles away. Barographic recordings show that the soundwave from the final explosion reverberated around the globe 7 times in total.


The McGurk Effect


  • This is SO interesting, an audio illusion that persists even though you know about it. Anyone know of other illusions of this nature? – David Sonnenschein Feb 28 '13 at 4:44

A while back I watched a program about the reasons behind the development of regional accents here in England. It claimed that part of the reason working class accents in the North and South are so different is due to the industrialisation of the North in comparison to the agricultural land use in the South. Due to the need to communicate over the din of the industrial revolution factories, the people developed accents with more pronounced mouth movements and sharper, more defined sounds. So your acoustic environment affects how you speak, and we adapt our methods of communication to to it.

  • i've heard about that too. only over here they reference cold weather in the northern midwest as possibly creating the unique accent (if you're cold, you tend to tense up facial muscles more frequently...emulating those tight jaw muscles can easily make you sound like you're from that region). – Shaun Farley Feb 25 '13 at 2:37
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    Very interesting! I'll be lecturing about sound design in London (School of Sound), York and Edinburgh in a month, so I'll mention this and keep my ears open. Thanks for the Tidbit! – David Sonnenschein Feb 25 '13 at 18:42

I know that scientists are exploring phase cancellation, to create 'pockets' of sound, to direct adverts at you in the street


the origin of the terms "Foley" and "MOS"

  • Though, since stories about "MOS" can't be authenticated, it might be wise to just stick to Foley. – Joe Griffin Feb 21 '13 at 0:33
  • Your're right, whats your version btw? – SteveOBrian Feb 21 '13 at 9:34

Active phase cancellation is used in stealth systems to obscure potential targets from radar. Kind of like giant, inverse, noise cancelling headphones.


Audio energy forms different kind of figures in different energy and pitch levels. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO0bSSXmr1A


I've always been fascinated with 7.83Hz, or the Schumann Resonance.

"Since life began, the Earth has been surrounding all living things with this natural vibration. These naturally occurring Schumann Waves are an essential ingredient of all biological life on Earth. Research seems to suggest that our biological system is "tuned" into the Schumann Frequency of our planet.

Scientists have also confirmed that these Vibrations are not only an essential ingredient of life, they in fact have shaped our life, and thru the eons of time have determined the frequency spectrum of the human brain. The Schumann Resonance was first used for healing by Dr. Ludwig in Germany , who is known as the Father of Magnetic Therapy. Dr. Ludwig convinced NASA to install Schumann Resonance devices on spacecraft to have a stabilizing effect on the astronaut's health in space."

Excerpt from: http://www.helptostop.co.uk/frequency.html

There's also a wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schumann_resonances


Some bat species can hear all the way up to 200kHz, but at the expense of frequencies under 10kHz.

Thats a hell of a lot higher than I thought!

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