Microsoft gives insight into Windows sounds

Windows music - Dim Dum! Dum Dim!
Windows music - Dim Dum! Dum Dim!

Microsoft has given an insight into one of the most familiar but unheralded parts of its Windows OS, with a blog post outlining just how those familiar sounds we know and love are arrived at.

The blog, by Jennifer Shepherd, explains the process of coming up with the sound schemes and little passges of sound that are heard by millions of people each and every day.

Apparently, it's not just a few people sat round a piano looking thoughtful, the alerts and warnings are arrived at through a complex and in-depth process.

Really real

"A few of the sound-schemes (Characters and Quirky) consist of synthetically-produced sounds and samples created using electronic music synthesizers, but the sound-schemes based on various global musical styles and traditions are really real," explains Shepherd.

"What I mean is that the sounds you hear were created on real instruments, played by master musicians from each musical tradition and recorded live in the studio.

"But it goes even further than that; we also worked with an ethnomusicologist to ensure that our mini-interpretations of each musical style…were as authentic and faithful as possible, respecting the vocabulary, instrumentation, timbres, and "language" of each musical tradition."

So if you are keen to know what musical styles influenced the Delta sound scheme (Smoky Jazz club/slightly retro) or you just want to see what the musical notation for the peripheral plug in looks like, it's well worth a look.

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.