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J. Erb




Location: Pennsylvania, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 26 Mar, 2009 6:50 pm    Post subject: The "sounds" of swords?         Reply with quote

Greetings, all. Time for a random question. Happy

In movies, swords always seem to produce a distinctive metallic sound when they're drawn from or returned to their scabbards. I'm curious: Is this more or less accurate, or just Hollywood? I've always assumed that, given the different surfaces and frictions involved in the process, drawing a sword from a scabbard or putting it back in would create some sort of sound. However, as I've learned more about swords and scabbard construction (courtesy largely of the fine folks here), I've grown more curious about the nature of that sound.

I was hoping that those of you fortunate enough to possess swords and scabbards could try to enlighten an armchair enthusiast like myself. I realize that describing sounds via text isn't the ideal method, but if you could humor me, I'd appreciate it. Wink

"What greater weapon is there than to turn an enemy to your cause, to use their own knowledge against them?"
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 26 Mar, 2009 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a couple of pretty accurate scabbards. They don't make the "Hollywood sound". I even have one with a metal-bound throat and have had a few more like it over the years. They don't make that sound either. Happy

I think to make that sound, you'd have to have significant metal-on-metal contact which would likely dull and or scratch things you don't want dulled and/or scratched. Happy

Happy

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Mar, 2009 6:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only swords I've had that made that sound were military sabres with metal scabbards. My celtic sword by PAtrick Barta has an iron scabbard and it doesn't sound like that. Chad's right, if you're hearing that metallic shriek when you draw the sword bad things are usually happening.
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Colt Reeves





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PostPosted: Thu 26 Mar, 2009 7:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have one SLO that makes such a sound, but as with the others being mentioned above, it is because they thought a metal throat that rubs against the blade on its way in or out was a good idea for some reason. I also have a dagger that makes a metal on metal noise when drawn for the same reasons, but it's muted and doesn't sound like the Hollywood version.
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Mar, 2009 7:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was in a production of Romeo and Juliet where we rented inexpensive smallswords with musketeer blades ( Lots of breaking pot metal knuckleguards). We didn't have scabbards, but used special frogs with metal rings so that when you drew your sword, the audience heard that sound.
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J. Erb




Location: Pennsylvania, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 26 Mar, 2009 11:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the input. I'd pretty much arrived at the same conclusions, so it's nice to know that I was on target. Happy
"What greater weapon is there than to turn an enemy to your cause, to use their own knowledge against them?"
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Mar, 2009 11:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I pull out my RavenWolf sword made by OlliN quickly and have the blade rub against the lip of the scabbard I get a bit of a tuning fork ringing that is like the movie sound effect in type but not as loud as the amplified and exaggerated version heard in films.

My OlliN made scabbard has no metal at the lip so any metallic sound is coming from the blade.

Note this sword has a nice ringing sound if taped lightly on the blade or even if drawn against a surface. ( Although I haven't done any real cutting with it yet ).

Does this mean anything good or bad about the blade ? I don't know, and it may not mean anything, but it's the sort of thing that in period the sword might be talked about as a " singing " sword or a magical sword. Wink Big Grin

" The sword of the Raven and Wolf rang it's song of death unstoppable without mercy or care as the wielder as in a dream hastened the departure to eternity of all those in reach of his point or edge " Well, a bit of an attempt to imitate the style of a saga type story. Wink Big Grin

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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 12:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The sound is made by the whettstones concealed inside the lip[ of the scabard, which sharpen the swords to a single atom along their edge. This is what lets them cut through tank cannon barrels and helmets/plate armour as if they were made from papier mache Wink
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J. Scott Moore





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PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 1:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nat Lamb wrote:
The sound is made by the whettstones concealed inside the lip[ of the scabard, which sharpen the swords to a single atom along their edge. This is what lets them cut through tank cannon barrels and helmets/plate armour as if they were made from papier mache Wink


I have never heard of anyone placing whetsones in the sheathe. wouldn't that actually prove irrelevant over time? and if the sword got nicked, wouldn't that just "sharpen" the upper part of the edge, and not the actual edge? also that would only sharpen the main body of most medieval swords, as quite a few taper down to a point, also, regardless of the blade shape, only one edge of the tip would be sharpened, if one tip edge even came in contact with the stones.

also, if a bullet from an m-16 can wreak havoc on a sword's blade, but not even dent a tank (the main barrel of a tank is made of the same steel that the rest of it is, on the exterior, anyway) then how could a sword, propelled with only a man's strength, even a massively large man, even begin to cut a barrel?

also, while I agree that a sword edge would be massively effective if you could maintain an edge width of one atom, it wouldn't maintain that edge the second it struck anything. the very very edge of a sword is several hundred atoms wide, (I imagine, I don't really know a specific number, I'm sure someone knows.)

I have also seen a few scabbards, and ancient swords. none of them had any sign of whetsones concealed within the throat.

again, I've only been studying swords and swordplay (asian and european) for about 17 years now, but I don't know a whole lot, due to a lack of consistant professional instruction, so, I may be wrong, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. (many Katanas also have at least a slight blade taper too, so I don't think that they did that either.)

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Herbert Schmidt




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 1:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You don't get sarcasm , do you?

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Werner Stiegler





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PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 3:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I thought it was common knowledge that sound are added to movies in postproduction? They're a pretty important tool to communicate onscreen-actions to the audience after all.
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J. Scott Moore





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PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 4:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Herbert Schmidt wrote:
You don't get sarcasm , do you?

Herbert


my bad Eek! sorry, Nat. I meant no offense.

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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 5:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lol, none taken. It's a problem with internet forums that you can't really impart a "tone of voice" to postings, so when you get a smartarse (like me Blush ) who tends to express themselves in sarcasm, it can be very easy to think they are saying the exact oposite to what they meant. And really, it's the fault of the poster, in this case at least.

What I really meant to say was that that "ringing" sound can probably be put into the same pile of hollywoodisms to do with swords such as "helm/tank cutting, 40 pound grateswords, 'molecular edges' etc"
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Michael Pikula
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 8:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have two scabbard in the works, both of them are just at the wood core stage but I can say that the scabbard for the viking sword has the tuning fork effect that Jean had mentioned, of course the blade also sings when cutting with it so I don't know if the scabbard or the sword has a bigger impact. The sound is not super faint but not as loud as movies, also faster draw speeds make a bit more sound. The second scabbard is the sword that has a rain guard and there isn't much of a tune when the blade is drawn (I just checked).

Can't really explain why one produces a sound and the other doesn't, I have a feeling it may have to do with how I build my scabbards and where my pressure point is between the scabbard and the blade.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 8:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Werner Stiegler wrote:
I thought it was common knowledge that sound are added to movies in postproduction? They're a pretty important tool to communicate onscreen-actions to the audience after all.


Yes this is very true and the sounds are often what is expected based on what we have heard over and over again in previous movie over decades of movie making.

Some of it attempts to be realistic in level and kind but the sound in a movie is there to make the movie more exciting or to add to the emotion/perceptions of the actions on the screen: Exaggerations of what it would really sound like is very common.

Oh, how many times have I heard the safety being taken off a revolver or a click of a misfire or chambering of a round or cocking back of a hammer on a firearm where such an action would be impossible. Wink Big Grin

And then there is the " WHOOOOOOOOSH " of sliding doors on Star Trek ....... Razz Laughing Out Loud

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Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Fri 27 Mar, 2009 8:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nat Lamb wrote:
Lol, none taken. It's a problem with internet forums that you can't really impart a "tone of voice" to postings, so when you get a smartarse (like me Blush ) who tends to express themselves in sarcasm, it can be very easy to think they are saying the exact oposite to what they meant. And really, it's the fault of the poster, in this case at least.

What I really meant to say was that that "ringing" sound can probably be put into the same pile of hollywoodisms to do with swords such as "helm/tank cutting, 40 pound grateswords, 'molecular edges' etc"


Yeah, I got the idea that it was sarcasm in a second reading of it and I thought it was funny ( No sarcasm intended. Razz Cool )

I sometimes add a statement that the previous is sarcasm in brackets when I think that my words might cause misunderstandings as in the reverse example above. Big Grin

Note someone did ask in a post/Topic if an automatic sharpener at the lip of a scabbard was workable or practical and we gave back serious replies explaining why it would be a bad idea or not very useful as well as wearing out one's blade prematurely.

A search might even be done to find that Topic. Wink ( Light and friendly sarcasm ).

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Chris Fields




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PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of my Lutel arming swords has an all leather scabbard that it tightly fit, and it I pull the blade out quickly, it rings nicely, especially if I pull out at a slight angle and cause alittle blade flex.
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Eric Allen




Location: Texas
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 1:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Neither of my swords with scabbards make a ringing sound when drawn.
My cheap Paul Chin "practical" mostly just dully rattles, but if you put pressure with the flat of the blade while drawing, you can get a sort of scraping sound.
My Albion 1st gen Gaddhjalt makes a rather pleasant wood-on-metal sound when drawn.
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Laury Plant




Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2009 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Werner Stiegler wrote:
I thought it was common knowledge that sound are added to movies in postproduction? They're a pretty important tool to communicate onscreen-actions to the audience after all.


This is an art all in itself. Its called 'Foley' by most practitioners. Being one of those in the past, I can tell you most Foley artists TRY to do things like they should sound (ie a Sword not having much of a sound coming out of a wooden scabbard) and they test the actual sounds out first before recording anything for the sound track. However...its most often the director or producers who always want 'more'. This 'more' isn't accurate. Its flashy and overdone 'Shhiiiiinnnnggggg's you get from even the smallest of side swords. (Why dont knives and daggers get the same sound is beyond me...) It patently silly of course, and any good foley artist knows this too. Just as silly as the 'leg crunch' of cracking celery for someone breaking a bone. Heh.
Its just one of those common things accepted as 'standard' now in the Foley world.
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Sean O Stevens




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Mar, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I THOUGHT that the ringing sound when a sword was drawn was pure hollywood... none of my production blades make that sound. Recently I bought my first custom swords... and one of them has a beautiful wood scabbard that, when the sword is drawn from, produces an impressive ringing sound not QUITE as exaggerated as the holloywood sound, but close.

Color me surprised.
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