Listening to Stories

I listened to the “Ghost Stories” on RadioLab. The stories that I listened to were so interesting and drew my attention, which I didn’t expect from audio. I did not only use my ears during the audio stories, I used my imagination. The multiple audio effects, noises, and voices all sparked imagery in my mind. Unlike other stories that we have looked at that contain pictures and video, audio altered the definition of a story for me. It sparked a new way to create story images in my mind using voices and sounds.

The audio stories were interestingly spooky and provided a new perspective on ghosts, death, and nightmares that I have never had. The first story was questioning what happens after we die and where we go. The producers describe an after-death place that people believed in called “Summerland.” They also played soft jazz notes in then background to evoke this supposed happy place. When the producers were explaining victim’s dialect in the stories, they projected long echoes behind their voices which brought a sense of emptiness to the story. When they were talking about the major news story of a woman’s mysterious death in the New York Times, they played the sound that a type writer made, which made me immediately picture reporters typing away. The producers added multiple voices in the background, which made me a more engaged listener, unlike usual monotone audio. “L’innconnue” was the name a dead woman was given after she drowned, which was also supported with water gurgles and bubbles. Inside the morgue, she was said to be a beautiful and delicate woman, and people were in awe. Combining both the low voices and eerie sounds made in this story, I was imagining her laid out in the morgue. Creepy sound techniques were also used during a man’s lucid dream, making me more curious about the details of lucid dreaming. In his dream, he was in front of a guy with a gun, and the rapid music that became increasingly louder provided a real life feel to his story.

All together, the techniques used provided me with more details in order to create this story in my mind. Usually the main purpose of ghost storytelling is to make the listener/watcher cringe or become scared and curious, which is exactly what I felt. Without these techniques, I would have became easily unattached to the story.  The sounds were creepy and the voices were low and the producers generated a enthralling ghost story through audio.



4 thoughts on “Listening to Stories”

  1. Radiolab is the BEST, and Ghost Stories was definitely my favorite out of these! I agree with you, I thought of reporters typing away and could easily picture what the producers were trying to convey. I also agree with you in that if the producers had not used sounds to depict these images it would be extraordinarily easy to become disengaged with the story. Good post! #talkingpolack2015

  2. Your explanation of the different techniques makes it very easy to understand what was going on in the recording, without having listened to it myself. The way you describe it, it also seems like the types of techniques used in Radiolab are evocative of watching a play with your eyes closed. It certainly sounds like an interesting way to use sound cues and background music, to support the story and supplement details that would be superfluous if they were just spoken out loud. Your analysis of this broadcast is excellent! #talkingpolack106

    1. I think you did a great job speaking about the different sounds that were heard throughout the audio. I felt like I could imagine what was going on and the sounds that were heard without having listened to it. I like how the one you listened to had a lot of effects that correlated with what was going on I felt like the one I listened to lacked this. Although the one I listened to was less of a story and more of an interview so this may be how different types of story differ in their use of sound effects. The audio sounds very interesting. #talkingPolack106

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