Original sound

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The original sound , also called the original sound , is a one-off and therefore not reproducible, recorded acoustic event. This can mean the content of this event, for example a speech by a politician, which could also be printed in a newspaper, or the technical audio material that can then be further processed in terms of audio technology . The Common Authority File (GND) uses as a definition: The original sound is "the sound recorded at a recording location or transmitted from there in all kinds of reports".

In addition, “O-Ton” is a figurative term for a literal quote , especially in journalistic usage, but also in everyday language .


The journalistic use of the original sound in news reports is closely linked to the development of the portable tape recorder. The technical prerequisites made it possible to conduct interviews with passers-by - thus the everyday language in the radio program became socially acceptable. With the development of the stereophonic original sound recording, which enabled reality to be reproduced even more realistically than before, noise - in addition to the voice - also emancipated itself into an independent, expressive carrier.


Quotes are included in reports of all kinds. In radio and television , for example, it is an interview. The original sound has three main functions: Firstly, it can underpin or refute a topic, secondly, it serves to characterize people and thirdly, the original sound can make the program or contribution appear more lively.

When shooting a film , the original sound (natural sound) is understood to be a "source assumed to be actual, the sounds of which were recorded". These natural sounds can be classified into the entirety of the production sounds and describe all the sound recordings made during the filming, which also include on location sound and direct sound . These differ from other sound recordings used for the finished film, which do not explicitly come from the respective location. In the German-speaking area, however, such distinctions are not made and the terms are subsumed under the term original sound.


Usually only short sequences of the recorded raw material are used, which are cut accordingly and technically improved depending on the application. However, the original sound is always used when authenticity is required. The original sound is therefore a determination of the relationship between a faithful reproduction in the sense of a source and a representation that, on the other hand, may be perceived as unreliable. The original sound thus has the function of a presence medium, in the role of the certainty of reality of a reality conveyed by the media.

In the case of a feature film, the original sound with language content can only be used for the original version ; in the dubbed version it is faded out at the appropriate points. When reporting on television or radio, original sounds in languages ​​other than the target language are either spoken via voice-over (we do not speak of synchronization here, as the original sound can still be “heard through”) or with subtitles.

In the case of a poor quality or even unusable original sound (for example, if the ambient noise is too loud or technical errors during the recording), the corresponding part is recreated by means of synchronization in the feature film. From the point of view of media culture studies, however, such rework raises the question of the authenticity or possible manipulation of the original sound. In other words, a post-processed and cut tone can still be referred to as an original tone. In the case of a report or a feature, “unclean” original notes are often used and subtitled so as not to destroy the authenticity.


  • Axel Buchholz , Walther von La Roche (ed.): Radio journalism. A manual for training and practice in radio. 10th edition. Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-658-01772-9 .
  • Patrick Conley: "Original sound." In: The partisan journalist. Metropol, Berlin 2012, pp. 126-131, ISBN 978-3-86331-050-9 .
  • Harun Maye, Cornelius Reiber, Nikolaus Wegmann (Eds.): Original / Sound. On the media history of the original sound. With audio examples on CD. UVK, Konstanz 2007, ISBN 978-3-89669-446-1 .
  • Volko Kamensky, Julian Rohrhuber: “The key witnesses. Noise and atmosphere in documentary films. “In: Elke Bippus, Frank Hesse (ed.): Art of research / in between # 4 . Institute for Contemporary Arts, Zurich 2008.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. GND 7590572-3 , query date: January 7, 2014.
  2. Reinhard Döhl : The new radio play. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1992, p. 112.
  3. Website for the book Radio-Journalismus with further information

Web links

Wiktionary: Original sound  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Original sound  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations