CULT SOUNDS                                                                                   


Individual Sounds can characterize a song, a style or a whole genre. For example, the sound of a distorted power chord played by an electric guitar stands for the Rock or Heavy Metal genre; the Roland TR 808 (drum machine) bass drum sound stands for electronic dance music. As a working title, such sounds can be called "cult sounds", because they hold a "signature" or "iconic" status.


What sounds influence popular music in which way?

How did they come into being?

How were they developed?

How did new technologies influence the quality and use of individual sounds?

How do listeners interpret cult sounds in different contexts?

In a short overview, the examples in this menu show how potential "cult sounds" sound when isolated in their musical context.

The history of these individual sounds is briefly documented and explained. In some sound examples, you can see a statistic analysis of their use in the time period between 1960 and 2014.


Billboard Top 40 1960 - 2014

The results of this study are based on the year-end

Top 40 of the Billboard Charts 1960-2014. (2200 Songs)

Some examples of cult sounds are:

the Yamaha DX 7 Electric Piano Patch

the Orchestra Hit Sample

the Male Falsetto Voice

the Bass-Synthesizer

the Hand Clap Sound

the Auto-Tune Effect

These sounds represent some of the most iconic individual sounds in popular music.

Individual sounds go through different development phases. This model serves as as extension of the basic thesis: