What Are Some Methods to Censor Sound?


Quick Answer

A common method used to censor sound includes the playback of a loud, single-tone "beep" sound in place of the sound to be censored. Offending sounds may also be silenced completely.

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Full Answer

Many methods of censoring sound involve the explicit cancelling out of sounds in speech or performances with other loud sounds. The well-known sound of a fully amplified, single-pitched sine tone, often lasting the length of a swear word or phrase, is an iconic censorship device found in broadcast media, including both radio and television. This "beep" sound, as it has come to be known, is typically played over portions of programs or musical content that violate rules provided by the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC.

Other methods of enforcing censorship on sounds have included initiatives by the Parents Music Resource Center, or PMRC, which formed in 1985. This organization is notorious for advocating the "Parental Advisory" labels found on cassettes and CDs with language that has been deemed offensive.

While these methods of sound censorship are widely used, other, more violent modes of censoring sound, such as arresting artists and public demonstrators, can also be found. The music and speech of contemporary Russian art collective Pussy Riot, for example, was effectively censored during Punk Prayer, which was a 2013 demonstration in Moscow, Russia.

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