SHARJAH: Bass sounds generated through vibrations could be used to transmit messages to individuals who are hearing-impaired as seen in a recent workshop.
The workshop has proved that the capacity to feel and have a sensory experience in such individuals is much higher than those who have normal hearing.
Tarek Atoui stated this in an exclusive interview with The Gulf Today on Friday. He was catching up ahead of the final presentation made by a group of 8 students from Al Amal School for the Deaf. The students are currently enrolled in Al Amal School, a part of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS).
The group, aged between 12 and 22 years, had attended the 4-day long workshop organised by the Sharjah Art Foundation and conducted by Tarek. The students had learned and produced a variety of sounds with vibrations allowing them to use their imagination to display different effects in front of a large audience.
Tarek has a degree in electro-acoustics from France and has been working on various projects to develop software that produces a low-frequency bass sound. The especially produced sound through Atoui’s software “Below 160” not only provides recreation to the general audience but also helps students with hearing disabilities to feel the sound effect through their bodies, transmitting various sensations.
“Below 160”, the name of the software, literally describes the bass frequencies of below 160 Hz used to generate the effects.
According to Tarek, the idea came to him during a performance he was giving in Austria last year. “During the performance, I was informed by a group in the audience that the hearing-impaired audience feels the music much more when compared to those with normal hearing. So, I worked on this idea to produce a unique bass sound and soon I started to develop a special software, ‘Below 160,’ to generate the sound with vibrations,” he added. In 2010, he was teaching students in SCHS and later in collaboration with Sharjah Art Foundation, the idea to work with a group of hearing-impaired students was approved and become the base for this 4-day workshop. “It was one of the most unique workshops held in the region for such students and they produced various projects that received great appreciation,” he added.
“It was found that the nature of the sound with vibration — termed as bass and infra bass — greatly affects the bodies of individuals who are hearing-impaired, interpreting the effects as comparable to people with normal hearing. The students realised that these sounds transmit messages like compelling the body to calm down or feel fear,” he told.
The students had made projects to produce effects seen on the surface of water filled in a bucket. A heavy-duty speaker was placed near the bucket which when put on generated patterns, allowing them to see sound effects through the vibration.
Tarek is based in Paris where he got his degree in electro-acoustics 12-years ago and has since been conducting workshops and performing in front of eager audiences in various parts of the world.
To a question, he said that the UAE has great potential for people ready to work in this field as local universities like the American University of Sharjah and organisations like the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services are providing assistance in their capacities to their students.