Have you heard famous singers like Taylor Swift speak about sonics? If so, you may well wonder – what does ‘sonics. mean?
The music definition of sonically is the effect of sound waves and the energy these waves produce. Used in the right way, the musical effect can be satisfying, enveloping and even a little hypnotic. This creates a unique hook for listeners.
Read on to find out more about this term, how you can use it in conversation and what other musicians have to say about it.
What does ‘sonics’ mean?
The music definition of sonically refers to sound and specifically to sound waves. But the word also became synonymous with a cartoon hedgehog in the 1990s, who was the central character in a popular video game from Sega.
Sonics is all about sound waves, resonance and energy. Each sound emits a kind of pulse. Whale noise is a good example of a sonic sound – it’s not a tune and doesn’t have a melody, but the vibration of the sound creates a kind of music. Have you ever placed something on an amp that’s pumping out music and watched the item get shoogled about? This is the visual manifestation of sonic vibration. The higher the Hz, the more dramatic it will be.
What is sonic quality?
The vibration of sound waves can be very satisfying to listen to and even offer meditative, healing or calming properties. Many ancient cultures harnessed the energy produced by sound – the music created from crystal bowls and gongs, for example, is becoming increasingly popular for mindfulness sessions. So by incorporating sonics into your tracks, you can harness a sense of wellbeing or positivity in the listener. This creates sonically gratifying songs that are good to dance to.
We often talk about the importance of hooks in songwriting. This is because a great hook can mark the difference between a hit and a flop. Another way to create simple but effective hooks can be to use sonics. These work especially well in electronic dance music, grime and drill.
What is sonic vibration?
You may have heard of a sonic boom. This is a highly intensified sonic vibration. It’s a kind of auditory explosion in which the shock waves cause anything in their path to travel back. When a flight goes ‘supersonic’ (faster than the speed of sound), it creates a sonic boom. Anyone in the vicinity will be thrown backwards and it can be heard for miles around. This is a more extreme version of the sonic effect when you place your hand next to a powerful speaker or subwoofer and feel the air pushing out. While all music involves sonics, this force is most prevalent in tracks with a strong beat that highlights the sound waves.
Music definition of sonically
The word sonically is an adverb of the term sonic, so refers to the way a sound moves and vibrates. This is a different aspect of music to a tune or melody, where a songwriter will put together a piece using a variety of notes.
Here’s what some experts have to say about the term…
“Composing gives me a chance to work in multiple dimensions and helps me pare down my melodies into what is essential. Learning new skills has always energized me and scoring has opened up a world of sonic possibilities.” Liz Phair
“I’ve waited for the day my debut album is released my entire life, so naturally I’ve designed it to be listened to from start to finish – so every song flows into each other in a way that tells a sonic story.” MNEK
“I try to make it a sonic experience so that when you put your earbuds in or when you’re in your room, it sounds like an enveloping feeling. I think that is the most important thing, that wherever you are, it is wrapping you up and making you feel safe and comfortable.” Kelela
“Every kid has a laptop; everyone can make music, so in order to stand out, I think it’s important to find that sonic identity, I think my sonic identity – and mine is finding these weird sounds that may not necessarily sound that musical, and make them sound musical.” Flume
“Robin Williams understands sonic performances. He understands what it’s like to change your voice up.” Billy West
“Hip-hop has survived as a sonic practice more than anything else. It’s an approach to music-making based in sampling and rhyming over beats, that’s proven far more versatile than its detractors thought it would.” Ann Powers
What are sonic elements?
To make an album sonically cohesive is to make it fit together. Each song has a connection with the other, which’s based on the vibe, rather than the lyrics or the emotional theme. Often sonic elements will be brought out during the mixing and mastering process. It’s not unusual for music that focuses on sonics to be in a large part lyric-free. DJs love sonically pleasing sounds – here’s an example from Martin Garrix set at the Ultra Music Festival last year.
What is a sonic signature?
This is your own particular sound, the one that is associated with you specifically as an artist or band. Now you understand sonics, you too can try to create your own sonic signature. It’s well worth experimenting with some different instruments or mixes to come up with a totally unique, potential hit number that your fans will love.
Now you know what the music definition of sonically is, you can impress your friends and other musicians. The more musical terminology you understand, the better prepared you’ll be to converse with industry professionals, write your own marketing blurb and press releases too.
How do you describe music in words?
You might talk about the beat, rhythm, tempo, pitch, harmony, tone, hook, chorus, verse and dynamics. You could also refer to the genre of a piece of music (like jazz, classical, rap, or electronic dance music).
What is a line of music called?
Music is divided up into sections, called bars. These are written on the stave – a set of five lines across the page. On this are musical notes. Those ‘reading’ the music from these lines can tell how high or low the note is, by where it’s placed on the stave. Learning how to read music is useful.
What is the meaning of supersonic?
Supersonic exceeds the speed of sound. The sound wave or series of sound waves cause confusion because its frequency is above the range of normal human hearing. Supersonic may also be called ‘ultrasonic’.
Had you come across the word ‘sonic’ before? What are your favourite sonically pleasing songs? Let us know in the comments below.