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Silence

Deck←
introduced in version 2.0 of the Deck.
Front face Back face
The card's front face The card's back face

Synopsis

Inducing the perception of the absence of sound.

Relationships

Contexts:
Aesthetics , Acoustic Ecology , Emotional Script , Awareness , Anticipation .
Makes use of:
Ambiance .

Description

Silence is deeply associated with the Emotional Script. It may be associated to negative emotions (as explored in the survival horror genre) but it can also represent peacefulness (through quietness). Naturally, the types of explorations that we refer to here are those where the absence of sound is intentional and not a consequence of poor sound design.

Also, it is important to specify, that the meaning of "silence" is more psychological (perceptual) than technical. That is to say, it is about the perception of silence, not necessarily the actual absence of sound.

Silence is particularly explored in the survival horror genre, probably because it allows contrast with other relevant sounds. Referring to Silent Hill, Akira Yamaoka, said that "the lack of sound impresses people more than beautiful music if it’s contrasted" [1].

Silence may also be important in the Stealth genre. Some games explore the contrast between the loudness of the environment and that of the player's actions. In such cases, the surrounding sound servers as a sonic camouflage, and the quieter it is, the harder the challenge of remaining undetected.

Examples

Penumbra: Overture: Silence is central to the action where the PC gets frightened by the potential consequence of the sound of his own actions. Silence also contributes to emphasize the Breath and Grunts of the PC.
Silent Hill: A silent Ambiance and very few objects or events generating sound.
Silent Hill Homecoming: In a newer instalment of the Silent Hill series, Silence is still a prevalent Signature.
Patapon: If the player does not complete a level with success, the menu that follows feels extremely silent, although what is heard is the Ambiance of the night, with crickets and other aspects. In this particular game, characterized by intense sounds during gameplay and Menus, such composition sounds like Silence and it is very effective in emphasizing the impact of Failure.
[show less examples...]
Limbo: A paradoxical example of perception of quietness despite the presence of Noise.
Halo: Reach:


External Resources

[http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=27644 GDC: Grasshopper's Akira Yamaoka Talks Audio Techniques.
Movie “The Silence”: A story of a blind boy that identifies objects by the sound they make.[1]
A section on Silence (Sonnenschein, 2001, pp.124-127).[2]

References

  1. Makhmalbaf, M. (1998). The Silence. Drama, Music.
  2. Sonnenschein, D. 2001. Sound design: The expressive power of music, voice and sound effects in cinema. Seattle, WA: Michael Wiese Productions.

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