Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Persistence of Sound

Reverb is echo (the repetition of sound) produced by electronic means (such as that produced by the Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Amp, pictured). Echo is to exteriority as reverberation is to interiority (the space of psychedelia). Wikipedia: “If so many reflections arrive at a listener that he is unable to distinguish between them, the proper term is reverberation [rather than echo].” Reverberation is

the persistence of sound in a particular space after the original sound is removed. When sound is produced in a space, a large number of echoes build up and then slowly decay as the sound is absorbed by the walls and air, creating reverberation, or reverb. This is most noticeable when the sound source stops but the reflections continue, decreasing in amplitude, until they can no longer be heard. Large chambers, especially such as cathedrals, gymnasiums, indoor swimming pools, large caves, etc., are examples of spaces where the reverberation time is long and can clearly be heard. Different types of music tend to sound best with reverberation times appropriate to their characteristics.

As Michael Jarrett observes: “Reverb sonically implies the size and shape of imaginary places that hold music” (72). If so, then echo implies the immensity of a large cave or cathedral, while reverberation collapses this immensity into the claustrophobic space inhabited by the cenobitic monk (the cell).

A Few Examples Of Reverb (Space Is The Place):
Dick Dale & His Del-Tones - Pipeline
Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley
Bo Diddley – Mona
Ennio Morricone – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The O’Jays, For the Love of Money
Quicksilver Messenger Service – Mona
Link Wray – Rumble

The Essential Collection of Psychedelia And Reverb (My Mind's Such A Sweet Thing):
Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968

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