Assignment: Sound Design

Part 1 – by Tuesday September 21

  1. Familiarize with Adobe Audition (or Audacity).
    Watch the video below and mess around with some audio samples here – no need to deliver any work yet.

2. Listen to one podcast episodes among the ones below. The are all from the popular show Radiolab. Pick the one that interests you the most but don’t just pay attention to the content, try to listen to how the sound editing is used to support the story.
Write a short response analyzing one or more passage of the show, focus on the techniques not on the subject they are talking about!
If you are unsure of what to say, do a break down of all the sound clips used in 1 interesting minute of the episode.






From tree to shining tree

Playing god

3. Read the introduction to the anthology Sound Unbound by Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky.
More than an essay it’s an evocative text linking the idea of remix with a lot of practices across disciplines. There are probably many concepts, authors, or references you are not familiar with. Choose one, research it and post the results on the discord.

Part 2 – by Thursday September 23

Starting during classtime.

  1. Familiarize with a handheld stereo sound recorder from the media equipment center. It means: read the manual and/or watch a tutorial. Book some over the ear headphones too!
    Go on a “sound safari” around campus and hunt for interesting sounds. Post one interesting soundscape (a place’s ambiance) and one interesting “isolated” sound on your soundcloud account. Make them less than 1 minute. You will use them in the assignment.
  2. Use the CFA’s sound booth to record a voice sample. It can be your voice or somebody else, and it can be anything you want: a story, a poem, a performance, or just some raw material to manipulate. You will use it in the assignment.

Part 3 – by Tuesday 28

Assignment: Create a sound composition incorporating:

  • at least one original field recording
  • at least one original vocal recording (it doesn’t have to be your voice)
  • up to two sound samples from a library like soundsnap (none is fine too)
  • and as many additional sounds from the assigned library (none is fine too)

Duration 1-3 min. Upload it on soundcloud, google drive or a similar service.

Possible strategies:
> Soundscape: evoke a mood, sonify an imaginary place.
> Narrative: create a composition that develops in time, as in a movie soundtrack.
> Podcast: create a short podcast segment centered around a voice recording but also incorporating sound effects and documentaristic field recordings.
> Musical: if you have music skills, try to turn non musical samples into a composition.

If you don’t know what to do, don’t spend any time researching samples or looking for inspirations, rather focus on transforming a couple of random sounds as much as you can.