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date: 03 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, meaningful audio icons from user interface design and classic arcade games are analyzed using the Praat software for speech analysis. The analyses show how these examples of best-practice sound design obtain their meaning in the listener’s perception. They also show how the meaningful perception can be explained by the combination of tonal hierarchy and several cross-domain aspects. These cross-domain aspects are related to universal expressions of meaning, such as the theory of misattribution, prosody, vocalization, and cross-modal perceptions, and the hypothesis of unnatural form (better known as the “uncanny valley hypothesis”). Recent studies in the field of cognitive neuroscience support the universal and meaningful potential of all these aspects. The relationship between language-related prosody, vocalization and phonology, and music is shown to be an especially successful design principle for universally meaningful music icons in interactive applied music and sound design.

Keywords: music cognition, musical meaning, sound design, interaction design, tonality, arcade games, user interface

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