ound Workshop (part 1)

Note: You’ll gain most from this section if you can listen on good headphones or sound system.

What happens when instruments play together?

Combinations of instruments can…

  • Conflict
  • Confuse, or
  • Complement

Let’s have a closer look at this…

Here’s an example of what we have typically been doing…
Click the video to listen (No need to listen all the way through!)

What a Noise!

Here’s a band, everyone playing their hearts out. Each doing a great job individually.

But the result is mostly just a noise with the most important element – the words – largely buried.

Sometimes we musicians seem to assume… “whatever I play, its up to the sound desk guys to sort out any problem” – This is WRONG!! Too often we present the Sound Team with an impossible task!!

Later (see page 4) we’ll come back to this song – “King of Heaven Come Down” by Paul Baloche – and show how exactly the same individual performances can be presented in a much more satisfactory manner.

“All were…trained and skilled in music for the Lord (1 Chron 25:7 NIV)”

But first, it would help to understand a little…

Audio Basics – Part 1

How do we perceive sound?

  1. Pitch, or Frequency – is the sound high or low, treble or bass…?
  2. Volume – how loud or quiet is the sound?
  3. Position, or Direction – where is the sound coming from?

Each of these factors enables us to distinguish sound sources, and each of these factors can help us “produce” a better result.

Audio Basics – Part 2

Let’s listen to a series of instrument clips… Below are 7 short video clips, just a few seconds each. Click/tap the first video below to start.
(Mobile & Tablet viewers – tap each one to play.)

Each video shows how the intensity of sound from the instrument varies across the range of audible frequencies. This is the “wavvy line” in each video… You’ll see that each is different.

For the more technical among you, the video clips show a “Spectrum Analyser” view of each instrument.


  • which instrument is playing?
  • what is it that makes each sound different?

Click here to see how many you got right…

Click here to see how many you got right…

Watch for the “Notch”

Now here’s a piano clip… You’ll see a “notch” appear & disappear in the clip.

Listen for the difference the “notch” makes to the sound…

So what’s going on here?

To understand, let’s look a couple more things…

…on the next page.

“All were…trained and skilled in music for the Lord (1 Chron 25:7 NIV)”