Canyon Echo part 2 Echo & Delay

A look at how to get your flute
to sound like it's in a canyon


Please support these articles with your purchases
Native American flute music by Scott August
Sacred Dreams
Native American flute music by Scott August
Ancient Light
Lost Canyons
Lost Canyons
DISTANT SPIRITS
SACRED DREAMS
NEW FIRE
ANCIENT LIGHT
LOST CANYONS
RADIANT SKY
BUY NOW!
BUY NOW!
BUY NOW!
BUY NOW!
BUY NOW!
BUY NOW!

CANYON ECHO part 2: ECHO & DELAY

In the last post we looked at reverb, or reverberation, the cloud of sound produced when reflecting surfaces produce a layer of many echoes that are indistinguishable from each other. We also looked at how different physical spaces create different reverberation and how to break down the component parts of reverb. In this post we're going to talk about one or more reflections of sound that can be discreetly heard from others. An Echo.

The word
echo comes from the name of a Greek Nymph. Zeus gave her the job of talking incessantly to Hera, the Queen of the Gods to distract her from finding out about his many affairs. Hera became wise to Echo's deception and put a curse on her so that she could only repeat what others had just said.

So an echo is the repeat of a sound. Originally this was only found in nature. Certain natural formations, like cliffs, overhangs and caves cause sound waves to bounce/reflect off of them, strong enough to be heard as a separate repeat. There is always a delay of time between the original sound and it's echo. This delay in time between the original sound and it's echoed repeat is the distance between the two divided by the speed of sound. However, if an echo happens in less than 1/10 of a second the human ear can not distinguish it from the original sound. Therefore the reflecting surface must be at least 53 feet away from the original sound to be perceived as an echo. This is at a temperature of 68 degrees, as air temperature will affect the speed of sound, which in these conditions is 1,125 feet per second. This works out to 768 mph or one mile in five seconds.

Okay enough math. It has no impact on what we're going to talk about.

Natural Echoes
In my experience real echoes in nature are very unpredictable. Places that would seem to be perfect for producing an echo don't always yield good results, while places where you might not think one would naturally occur have strong echoes. One would assume, for example, that if you stood right on the edge of a cliff at the Grand Canyon and played a NAF you'd get a really strong, long echo. But I've done this many times in different parts of the canyon and have always been very disappointed. There is a usually a short, very faint, slap of sound, but mostly it seems to just dissipate into the canyon. In Canyon de Chelly some parts of the canyon system do not produce any echo, but other parts will produce very strong echoes that bounce all around and seem to swirl about you. Air temperature, as noted above, and air pressure also play a factor. When I was a kid my family sometimes vacationed at the beach. There was a small bay that we liked to visit. I remember that early in the morning you could easily hear people's voices from across the bay, but as the day got warmer that would stop. Most likely there was an inversion layer that the sounds would bounce off of, sending the voices back down to the ground on our side of the bay. (I'm not sure this was technically an echo as no one heard both the original sound and its reflection.)

So now we know about echo. That it is a natural phenomenon consisting of the discreet repeat of a sound off a reflective surface. But what about delay? Well Delay is the artificial reproduction of echo. This is done by various methods. Tape delay, solid state delay and digital delay. Tape delays came about in the 1950's and really hit their stride with the Echoplex and Roland Space Echo starting in the early 70's. Digital Delays began showing up in the mid 80's and are now the most used type of delays. Many digital delays now also reproduce the sound of a tape delay, as their distinctive sound has become highly desirable, especially with the greater control and stability that digital reproductions have over. The main point here is that the terms echo and delay are frequently used interchangeably, something I will continue to do in this post.

Read the full article and listen to examples of Dely

© 2010 Cedar Mesa Music. This article, all images and sound files sound files are the property of Cedar Mesa Music, BMI. All rights reserved.


Please support these articles with your purchases
Native American flute music by Scott August
Sacred Dreams
Native American flute music by Scott August
Ancient Light
Lost Canyons
Lost Canyons
DISTANT SPIRITS
SACRED DREAMS
NEW FIRE
ANCIENT LIGHT
LOST CANYONS
RADIANT SKY

BUY NOW!

BUY NOW!

BUY NOW!

BUY NOW!

BUY NOW!

BUY NOW!

Listen to samples and purchase them online.
Members of my
E-Mailing list get an extra 10% off all online purchases.



Home | Mailing List

About

Recordings

Purchase

Reviews

News

Photos

More Stuff

Appearances

Mailing List

Contact

Articles

 

Recordings
by
Scott August

Ancient Light