Sonic Rhetoric – Davor Simunovic

To use language effectively is to be persuasive – a story is a persuasive product, and one that is wholly dependent in its modal presentation. Sound, is then that one powerful element that can be crafted and molded in order to more properly convey meaning aurally, orally, and sonically. A story is usually split between the worlds of text, image, or sound; often one will combine, mix, or display plural qualities. Words, phrases, passages, and entire lines may be formed to create a provocative piece of narrative, but so can sounds, harmonies, cadences and tones. The message is powerful, but it can become increasingly more powerful when filtered through the proper medium, and further – the proper mode.

The idea of sound creating meaningful expression is nothing new – music is all but that. But to rely on sound alone to create story is somewhat of a new concept to me. Void of lyrical content a piece can actually stand rhetorically on its own. A sound story can become a discursive symbol of action and narration. The language of sound is definitely a complex notion, but one that is to its core universal and all encompassing. The idea that we have these intrinsic connections to say certain sounds is fascinating – a type of universal recognition of certain melodies. The score of a horror/thriller often elicits the same response from an entire group of unique individuals; a soft pensive score might also convey a sense of anticipation, or with the right added tone- melancholy. The medium is the message rings true, but even further, the mode(s) is what gives a story its symbolic identity. Sounds (or lack there of) are ultimately rhetorical devices used to better formulate a persuasive piece.


One thought on “Sonic Rhetoric – Davor Simunovic

  1. meaganmthornton February 14, 2015 / 7:52 am

    I really like what you said about sounds and music being a universal language. Despite variations in culture, sounds and music can simulate similar feelings which is a really interesting thing. I kind of connected it to stories and how stories are universal as well, given that language barriers can be overcome.
    -Becky Lin


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