Strange Aural Phenomena

I was watching the third episode of the last season of The Sopranos. Somebody gets shot on the street in that episode. As they show a close-up of the body a female scream is heard in the background. Fair enough. I only got the distinct feeling that I’ve heard it before, and I have. It was on a music piece by a local indie artist and I’ve certain I’ve heard it elsewhere as well. Now I’ve concrete evidence instead a vague feeling.

This is not an isolated incident. I seem to notice that the sound of door opening in television in many occasions sound familiar. The particular sound that I recognize I’ve heard in some computer game, probably Half-Life.

Even with this meagre empiric evidence I’ve convinced that this is a real phenomena, reusing sound samples beyond ridiculousness. Why does it happen? Is it so hard to come up with a sound sample library big enough to make running into familiar sounds improbable enough? Or is this just an unlikely coincidence? Does it happen for copyright reasons?

Why should we care anyway? Well, for one, it quickly disposes the suspension of disbelief. It is also highly annoying, partly because I don’t know why it happens?! WHY?!

2 thoughts on “Strange Aural Phenomena

  1. I’ve been noticing those door samples too. Is it this one: http://www.bemmu.com/antti/DSDOROPN.WAV ?

    That sound is from Doom. I’m not sure that is it, but I think it predates Half-Life. At least I started hearing that repeating door sound in some movies even before I had heard of HL.

    Can you remember any movies where the sound can be heard? All I can remember is that in some B-movie there was a fighting scene which happened in some theme park which had dinosaurs (not Jurassic Park – the dinosaurs weren’t alive). Then at some point in the fight someone enters through a park door and it makes that repeating sound (which might be different from the sample).

  2. Sir, I must regretfully inform you that that was not the sound sample I was referring to. But your example illustrates the point nevertheless. Is it an inside joke by sound engineers? A glitch in the Matrix?

    The sound I was talking about was of a normal door, with a door handle, the kind you probably have on your room.

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