Monday, May 6, 2013

Humans are egocentric creatures

Despite what the majority of people say after listening to a recording of themselves, we like the sound of our own voices (collectively). Even the  musical instruments we create are often used to mimic or exaggerate elements of the human voice. As infants we are forced to cope in a very confusing world, but one source of comfort that most of us grasp onto is the sounds our parents make. We listen closely, because eventually we will mimic the sounds.  Affinity for the human voice is cemented in our subconscious. It's not even the words that matter, it's the very sound that we love.
"PS"-The Books. Have you ever had a conversation without intelligible words?

I think the human voice is beautiful.  This is why I love audiobooks. I really discovered them for myself only a few years ago, while working on a project for my own interests.  I wanted to make and record music involving human speech.  At first, most of my material came from field recordings downtown with homeless people, but I soon discovered public domain recordings. I scoured for any recordings of translated hindi text, and became fascinated with all the short poetry that was available with eight or nine choices for narrators. This made my project incredibly hard, and virtually impossible to finish.

Outside of my musician-grown fetish for the human voice I do like audiobooks for their intended purpose, and I also understand why some people hate audiobooks. This week, I listened to several (volunteer) narrators before I settled on “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s nice for the 20 minute drive I make to and from school everyday. The narrator's voice helps me stay interested in the words, but is not distracting. This is where most people decide audiobooks are not for them, but there is so much to choose from on Librovox.  There are thousands of free audiobooks at your disposal, and even a smartphone app you can play them on. It is not much of a gamble, like it is with audiobooks for profit. Take a few minutes and try it out! For those of you who absolutely still dislike audiobooks, why do you feel that way?

Audiobooks app (This app organizes the audiobooks much more efficiently and allows you to download all or parts of books, so you can listen to them offline)


  1. Ooh. Your question is exactly what I intended to address from the get-go.

    I'm not a fan of audiobooks because I always fall asleep while listening, and typically become easily annoyed with the voice--especially if it's a woman.

    But if I'm entranced, enthralled, whatever, by the story, I don't mind.

    (P.S. I lol'd at the clip. It made me so uncomfortable.

    SO. Uncomfortable.)

  2. Have you ever heard of Glenn Gould? He preformed some intriguing experiments involving the human voice. Check out "The Idea of North".

  3. Great idea for commuters, like myself. Audio has come in handy when I have housework to do. Makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something while doing mundane, but necessary tasks.