On various sounds and their significance

Noise can mean so many things.

By definition, it means a sound, especially one that is loud or unpleasant or that causes disturbance. But not all noise is as bad as the aggressive definition makes it out to be.

Alex Ross, a music critic who writes for the New Yorker, wrote an article about noise, saying, “Sometimes we embrace it, sometimes we hate it — and everything depends on who is making it.”

Noise is an interpretation. It’s how we decipher sounds, categorizing them as positive or negative, overwhelming or soothing, messy or peaceful, alarming or exquisite.

Music is noise.

From the soothing sounds of classical and lo-fi to the chaos of metal and punk, music is noise.

Music is something that sets us apart but also brings us together. We all have our favorite genres, which will differ from one person to another, but, in the end, most people just enjoy hearing a good, catchy song.

I don’t know many people who don’t enjoy music. It’s a universal noise that can enhance or change mindsets and calm or energize people.

Some, like myself, might even say it’s essential in life.

Laughter is noise.

There are certain laughs that you’ll know anywhere, whether that be a loved one or even a character, like Janice from the show “Friends.”

The sound can be music to your ears, or maybe just a noise fueled with memories you meant to forget.

It’s kind of like a fingerprint, unique to the person, and each person tends to have multiple.

Working is noise.

Like typing in journalism, there are sounds that come with professions.

Typing is a noise that can drive me crazy or absolutely inspire me. The clickity-clacking of another’s keyboard can have the power to make me not see straight, but my own typing, once I really get going, is an encouraging chant to keep writing, to keep creating.

Other professions work with the sound of machines, i.e. mechanics. And some work with voices, i.e. therapists. Heartbeats act as another example, i.e. doctors.

Emergencies are noise.

Not just an alert, but those warnings are a life-saving noise. Ambulance sirens, though seemingly annoying and loud, are rushing around to be the help that people need. Tornado sirens are noise for what’s ahead. Car horns, even when raising your blood pressure, can be just as important as a caution noise.

Their noises wake up your fight-or-flight response and could mean life or death.

Technology is noise.

From cars and airplanes to blenders and vacuums, each piece of technology and its noise is up for interpretation. Cars and airplanes might sound like air pollution, or they create a noise that encourages adventure and opportunities. Blenders and vacuums are bothersome sounds during an important part of a TV show, but they also are sounds of productivity.

Nature is noise.

Each animal has a signature noise, from howling wolves to chirping crickets.

But even the wind carries a sound. And so do the waves as they crash. Falling rain makes a song, creating different notes as it hits windows, the roof, the ground, etc. It’s one of my favorite noises.

Even the crunch of leaves and the movement of gravel carry their sound.

Discussion is noise.

Voices, dialogue, conversation, it’s all noise. Talking is noise that often carries different meanings with the level of sound, from whispering to shouting.

Even the replying notification of a text message is noise.

Time is noise.

Clocks are a sound that’s not for everyone, but I personally enjoy — most of the time. It’s usually soothing to hear the consistency of each tick. To be aware in the moment of the world happening around you.

Other times, it can be a bit anxiety-inducing. Not only is time passing by, but it feels too fast sometimes, even when you know it’s a consistent second.

Life is noise.

From the crying of a newborn to the final breath, life is noise.

Each step of the way is filled with the noises that surround us.

How we interpret those sounds can give us power and peace, to make them more than just noise.

Noise is anarchy and disarray but also civility and composure.

It’s beautiful and unappealing, happy and heartbreaking.

But, as Ross adds in his article, “In some way, we seem to require it.”

Torianna Marasco can be reached at 989-358-5686 or tmarasco@TheAlpenaNews.com.


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