Funny Noises for the Connoisseur

Funny Noises for the Connoisseur

Book and audio CD by Bart Hopkin with Ray Brunelle and Vincent Nicastro

Audio CD plus 60-page book, 6″ x 9″, illustrated with b&w drawings. Published by Experimental Musical Instruments, 2003.

This book, with its accompanying audio CD, is about comical sounds and how to make them … squishy sounds and gloopy sounds, farting sounds and belching sounds, laughing sounds and crying sounds, moaning and keening sounds, munching and snarfling sounds, scraping and squeaking sounds, bestial indigestion sounds, crazy-bad musical instrument sounds, Martians conversing, muskrats chattering, and morticians giggling. There are also some sounds that are more exotic than comic and a few that are strangely lovely.

For those who wish to try their own hand at funny-noise making, the book provides ideas and instructions. The procedures are simple, and the materials required are for the most part commonly available. The performance techniques, too, are pretty easy – no special skills required for the basics. If you choose to take it further, your funny-noise skills will improve with practice, and new possibilities will appear.

Since this book emphasizes original ideas, sound-making tricks that are already widely known do not appear in the main text. There is an appendix at the back of the book, though, which lists many of these common-knowledge funny-noise techniques. The appendix also lists commercially available sound toys, odds and ends from the percussionist’s trick bag, and other store-bought sound-gadgetry. Electronic audio techniques aren’t included in the book because not everyone has access to the required equipment – and also because the natural, non-electronic approach is so much fun.

Author Bart Hopkin is joined in this project by Ray Brunelle and Vinnie Nicastro, both experts in the field. Ray Brunelle is a sound effects specialist and an active contributor to commercial sound-effects libraries; he has also studied and written on the history of sound effects. Vince Nicastro is a Foley artist with an impressive list of major film credits behind him.

Excerpts from Nice Noise: Preparations and Modifications for Guitar

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