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You are here: Home / Conferences / Barcelona 2014 / Presentations programme

Visualising the relation between sound pitch and font weight

When Wed 17 Sep 1430
Where BAU Design College
Who Tomas Garcia Ferrari

The relationship between typography and sound has been widely studied over the years. Many typographic concepts extendedly in use have a correlation with music terminology or are coming from the music vocabulary. Rhythm, repetition, ornaments or composition could be identifiable in this group.

The connection between “sound pitch” – from low to high – and “font weight” – from ultra- light to heavy seems to be unexplored. Perhaps, this hasn't been evident as the common use is to refer the different weights from ultralight to heavy whereas in sound the opposite occurs.

This idea could be useful in an educational context, to explain this concept: a heavy typeface has to be used scarcely but is not recommended to set longer pieces of text. The correlation of this concept of rhythm and density in the world of music also exists: a double bass has less possibilities of playing busy rhythms without getting noticeable sound clashes. The lower the pitch, the more time you need around it to distinctively detect it without perceiving it as a rumble. In other words, to have perceivable rhythmic clarity, the busier the rhythm, the higher the pitch you need to use. And making the analogy, perhaps, the lighter the face.

I have developed an interactive piece where dynamic typography and sound are produced in real time to showcase this concept.

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