From the blog

Top Quotes by Amazing Sound Pros, Directors, philosophers, and Writers on Sound and music

The following is a list of top blog quotes from some of our favorite sound designers, field recordists, soundscape ecologists, international speakers on sound, Psychoanalysts, writers,  filmmakers, directors, faith healers and psychics, philosophers, and musicians. It’s an ever-growing list. So, bookmark it 🙂


The more you resist the temptation to describe your feelings and the more you just trust your instincts, the faster you will learn the craft and make appropriate design decisions. Why? Because by hearing at an instinctual level you become an animal listener, akin to our distant human ancestors, and as entitled as any other animal to reach valid emotional conclusions without thought – Gordon Hempton

No great sound design will ever be created on a computer with an active internet connection – Angelo Palazzo

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably not making anything very interesting. You’re probably just repeating something from before – Randy Thom

A great craftsman knows how to avoid accidents. A great artist knows how to use them – Randy Thom

Honor thy mistake as a hidden intention – Brian Eno

Sound is definitely the most invisible part of the film. Sometimes it needs to be subtle and subdued. Sometimes it needs to be upfront and intense. Usually, it’s the latter that gets the most attention. Quiet often, it’s the former that’s the hardest to do – Peter Albrechtsen

Sound in a film is a character as important as any other character – Melvin Van Peebles

Sound is powerfully connected to memory and emotion. Intuitively and involuntarily, it calls up layers of associations and the feeling of past experiences – Matthew Bennett

Sound is almost like a drug. It’s so pure that when it goes in your ears, it instantly does something to you. And you can tell if that’s working for you – David Lynch

Sound comes to us over time. You don’t get a snapshot of sound. Therefore, what you notice with sound, the essential building block, is change – Gary Rydstrom

Anything can become a musical sound. The wind on telegraph wires is a great sound; get it into your machine and play it and it becomes interesting – Hans Zimmer

Source is king! You can never have enough fresh material for use in your designs – Chris Sweetman

The strength of your attention, commitment to explore, and willingness to die and be reborn over and over are fuel for longevity and fulfilment – Brendan Angelides a.k.a ESKMO

Silence is a medium for growing human consciousness, an invitation to be fully present, and a doorway to a sense of connection with the universe, or God if you prefer. How sad that we have made it an endangered habitat – and that this process is accelerating. Will we in a future trek across mountains wearing our iPods? Have we altogether lost the desire to be present, connected, and conscious? Or can we preserve the silent places and benefit from them in the ways of our ancestors? – Julian Treasure

There is no such thing as documenting a reality. There is no divide between documenting and creating. The point is I don’t build dreams neither by field recording nor by playing my electronics instruments or computer. To choose equipment, choose a position, and push the record button are acts of composing. Tiny meaningless noises can be a beautiful composition. To summarise I can use this equation – I push the record button = someone making a musique concrĂ©te piece = Bach – Yan Jun

Sometimes the best sound is the absence of sound. Silence is the twisted sister of sound because, as sound professionals like Burwell and Lievsay know far too well, within the absence of sound exist certain imperceptible sounds – Shipra Harbola Gupta

Young as it is, this child, we already recognize that it possesses one radiant attribute which signalizes it beyond all its elder sisters. And the lawgivers will not see this marvelous attribute, lest their laws should be thrown to the winds. This child—it floats on air! It touches not the earth with its feet. It knows no law of gravitation. It is well nigh incorporeal. Its material is transparent. It is sonorous air. It is almost Nature herself. It is—free! But freedom is something that mankind have never wholly comprehended, never realized to the full. They can neither recognize or acknowledge it. They disavow the mission of this child; they hang weights upon it. This buoyant creature must walk decently, like anybody else. It may scarcely be allowed to leap—when it were its joy to follow the line of the rainbow and to break sunbeams with the clouds – Ferruccio Busoni, Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a soundscape is worth a thousand pictures – Bernie Krause

Music exists anytime you allow yourself to perceive it – Diego Stocco

An artist can be a filter between the world and how it is perceived – Diego Stocco

Music can affect our consciousness feelings & take us back to another place & time. At this time of writing it’s the closest thing to time travel – Jakob Lusensky

Sound will be the medicine of the future – Edgar Cayce

Music is at once the most wonderful, the most alive of all the arts— it is the most abstract, the most perfect, the most pure— and the most sensual. I listen with my body and it is my body that aches in response to the passion and pathos embodied in this music – Susan Sontag

The world is sound, rhythm, and vibration. Nada Brahma – a sanskrit word that means that the whole universe was created from the energy of sound. Scientific research today has come up with the recognition that all creation is energy in movement, vibration, each vibration having it’s own sound, colour, visual pattern. When the vibration is slow enough we recognize it as our material world. The philosophy of the Indian Classical Music took its origin from the concept of Nada Brahma…which means that the whole universe was created from the energy of sound – it’s only the sound that exists in the beginning.

When talking about sound, there are really only two categories: organized sound and unorganized sound (or noise). Both sound designers and composers work in organizing, or controlling sound for the purpose of affecting the audience in an emotional manner. A well-designed sound, like a well-written song, will accomplish the goal of evoking a mood or an emotion from the listener – Shaun Farley

Sound is Like a ninja. If you realize it, it’s not good – Etgar Keret

A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later – Stanley Kubrick

Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue – Plato

The truth is, for me, it’s obvious that 70, 80 percent of a movie is sound – Danny Boyle

Once we embrace sound as a tool to tap into emotion we can then start to develop ways to combine sound with tension to create experiences – Marcus Lyall’

After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music – Aldous Huxley

By manipulating what you hear and how you hear it – and what other things you don’t hear – you can not only help tell the story, you can help the audience get into the mind of the character – Walter Murch

Most sound work in films is done very quickly and at the end of the schedule where it’s just jammed together and you always wish that you had more sympathy – Ben Burtt

For me, taking “Sound Design” seriously means essentially one thing: allowing sound ideas to influence creative decisions in the other crafts. If sound (basically music and sound effects — though I resist the idea that there is a clear boundary between the two) is merely a decoration to be applied to a pre-determined product, then it isn’t collaborating on anything, and the likelihood of sound being an organic part of the whole experience is near zero – Randy Thom

A great craftsmen knows how to avoid accidents. A great artist knows how to use them. – Randy Thom

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably not making anything very interesting. You’re probably just repeating something from before. – Randy Thom

The goal of a designer is to listen, observe, understand, sympathize, empathize, synthesize and glean insights that enable him or her to make the invisible, visible – Hillman Curtis

With work like this, you’re always trying to find something that feels honest to the moment and feels as honest as the performance is, and as honest as the storytelling is. You just want to find a sound that feels appropriate. It’s that classic idea that I think is a Randy Thom quote. He says, “We’re looking to put the right sound in the right place at the right time.” That sounds beautifully simple, but it’s the trickiest challenge; once the sound is slightly off or in the wrong place, you’re likely to disrupt the viewer’s experience. At that point, you failed – Steve Fanagan

Before you play two notes, learn how to play one note, y’know. And that, it’s as simple as that really. And don’t play one note unless you’ve got a reason to play it – Mark Hollis

All sound design is, to some extent, the crafting of information in an emotional wrapper – Rob Bridgett

Listening is not about sound. Don’t listen — if you ever find yourself listening for a sound, that’s diagnostically a controlled impairment, all right? Simply listen to the place. And when you listen to the place, you take it all in, which is exactly what we’re meant to do – Gordon Hempton

Physical matter is music solidified – Pythagoras