Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Audiobook Week: Sound Effects in Audiobooks


Today’s topic for Audibook Week is sound effects in audiobooks.

Personally I have issues with sound effects in my audiobooks. My current listen, Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen has music at the end and then start of each chapter, OVER the narration! It drives me batty, especially if I am listening to it in a slightly noisy place. I had the same problem with The Giver by Lois Lowry. I understand that often this music is there to help signal that there is a chapter break, which can be helpful if you need to pause for some reason, but really it is to annoying for me to give it a pass.

Related to sound effects is accents. I’m a bit more divided on the accent issue. Sometimes accents help to clarify who is speaking, especially if there are few other markers. Sometimes however accents make the characters sound stupid. I found this to be the case with the voice of Officer/Detective Peabody in the In Death series by J.D. Robb. For me bad accents can really ruin an otherwise good book. This is probably especially true if I have previously read the book in hardcopy. I tend to develop an idea about how the character should sound.

Associated with accents is the question of multiple narrators. I have to admit I was sceptical at first. But then I listened to Room by Emma Donoghue and then The Help by Kathryn Stockett and I was completely converted. The different narrators in these books gives the book something extra. It makes it easier to follow and in the case of Room it actually makes the story more believable. Jacks voice feels more genuine and not affected which can be the case when narrators choose to do accents when narrating a story.

So for me, sound effects=bad; accents=sometimes good, sometimes bad; multiple narrators=good (so far)


Copyright ©2011 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


Eva said...

I have had more than a few otherwise good audiobooks ruined for me because the British narrator attempted an American accent for the American character, including Persuasion and quite a few Christie novels. It frustrates me to no end!

Eva said...

I meant Possession by Byatt, not Persuasion by Austen! Whoops.

Also, I forgot to point out, they attempted an American accent and failed miserably. This also happens on the BBC; watching the making of Dr Who season premier, I felt like laughing hysterically at the British director's comment about the 'perfect accent' of the British actor and how American viewers would mistake him for American. Why can't they just hire an American actor for those minor roles? *sigh*

Zee said...

I was a bit confused there, why would there be an American in Persuasion ;) Yeah that would annoy me, and does annoy me!

Jen - devourer of books said...

I don't like the music between discs/chapters either, especially when it goes over narration, although that wasn't quite what I was referring to when I talked about sound effects.

Nise' said...

I don't mind the music if it's not overpowering the narration at the beginning/end of the discs. I've listened to the "In Death" books, and did not notice that about Peabody. I have to go back and listen now!

Kristin said...

I've listened to some good audiobooks with single narrators that hit all the different voices and I've listened to ones with multiple narrators that are good, too.

My answer to today's questions can be found here.

JoAnn said...

Music and sound effects often annoy me, but I love books that lend themselves to multiple narrators.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Over the narration? yeah that would bug me too!

Sarah (The Brazen Bookworm) said...

I like Susan Ericksen on most books, but I HATE the way she reads Peabody's voice!! That is the main reason I don't listen to her versions of the books. (Btw, you're the first person I've heard who agree with me!) And, yes, she makes Peabody sound stupid and, I think, like an old fuddy-duddy. I don't particularly love the way Ericksen does Roarke's voice either, but it's Peabody's voice that really makes me mad.