At the first conferece of the European Sound Studies Association at Humboldt University of Berlin, scientists from different disciplines, musicians, sound designers, composers, sound artists and architects came together last weekend, to talk about an interdisciplinary topic that is already present in our daily lives – the topic of functional souds. The motto was "Auditory Culture and Sound Concepts in Everyday Life. amp was there and listened to the exciting presentations at the tree-day conference.

"As soon as you turn on your laptop you may haven to listen to disjointed system sounds, start up chimes, alert noises and auditory warning signals, perhaps accomanied by your favourite music in the background or on your headphones; […] as you made a cup of coffee in the kitchen at work or homen, the automated (or humanly operated) coffee / espresso machine emanated a wide range of hissing, beeping and crumbling noises, and while drinking it your read a newspaper article about sound torture; later, when you enter a subway station-sounds announce almost any action taking place down there, together with sounds from phones and game consoles; in bed at night you can´t sleep because oft he annoying sounds coming from the traffic outside" (excerpt from the program).

As you can read functional sounds provide assistance in our daily lives and we take these sounds naturally for granted, but we often do not realize that. However, it is important that their message is understood. In addition to the message in these sounds there is also potential to communicate more about the properties of the sounding product. So, the design of the sound can affect a quality judgment or the like. A detailed article of functional requirements and issues and purposes of sound you can read here.

Today´s acoustic environment is characterized by diverse tones, sounds, and noises leading to an overpowering presence of sounding signals. Therefore, conference participants agree that a deliberate and strategic design of sound is necessary to communicate clear messages in different conditions in everyday life, be it in public or at home, in such a way as concise as possible and equally as cautious and differentiated as necessary.

Topic overview

Innovative hearing technologies, historiography of sounding devices, signification, sound aesthetics, practices in sound design, semiotic theories and practices, sonic interaction design, tasks of the architecture to impure acoustic situations in (social) spaces, functional sound design in the public space as well as in public and private transport, perception and dealing with sounds in medical devices and hospitals, soundscapes in future urban areas, and projects that serve to documentation, archiving and discussion of sound.

On the three days of the conference awareness was strengthened for the sounding everyday, important issues were discussed and it was pointed to those aspects, which we should devote ourselves to within the next few years to keep the cacophony of everyday life in limits.

It remains to note that for an ecological design of the different acoustic environments in which we spend our life, the sound and its function should be seen as an element equivalent to other forms of design. Our perception is due to different sights and sounds have here anything but a inconsiderable influence on our impressions.