The City Rings

Year: 2010

Sound Postcards (3)

Finally, here there are the compositions. I’m sorry for the delay, hope you enjoy them.

Soundpostcardgrup1 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup2 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup3 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup4 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup5 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup6 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup7 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup8 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup9 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup10 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup11 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup12 by Serafin Alvarez

Soundpostcardgrup13 by Serafin Alvarez


More from Scotland…


It’s taken me a little while to upload the last compositions and a few photos from the project at Portlethen Primary School. At the end of October, Pippa went back to visit Class P7 and they did some more excellent work.

The whole group made a composition using the iSounds from Denmark. Have a listen below: I like how the meow sound keeps repeating and but sometime it has an echo or the pitch has changed! What do you like about this composition?

The class had also been working on some poems inspired by the project. Using the iRivers, they recorded a few of these. The descriptions of the sounds and sights of Portlethen show how unique this location is.

Finally, at the end of the day, Class P7 presented an assembly to the rest of the school. They described the project, showed everybody the recording equipment and played some of their compositions. You can see a photo below with one of the pupils holding up an iRiver!


Soundstories from Elsinore

Here are three compositions made by the pupils from Little School in Elsinore. Enjoy!
Soundstories from Elsinore by SoundTales-1


Wispelberg 5

Today we did a last excercise about the dynamics of a rather small city. We made a composition, not with the computer, but we recorded it real-time.


Final countdown to…. the presentation


Today we are so excited as we are going to show the whole school what we have been doing.  We’ll miss the project when it’s over but we’ll be staying in touch via the website, as there will be more to look at and listen to on the website.  Watch this space for our sound poems.

Today we are making one more composition with the Danish iSounds.  Keep the comments flowing!


Sound Postcards (2)

Yesterday morning we did the compositions. Every team used the soundscapes they recorded during the week except two teams that didn’t do the homework, therefore each team shared one sound in a common folder and the teams without soundscapes used these sounds.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to finish so the students will finish tomorrow. I hope the compositions will be uploaded soon.
By this time the workshop will be finished, however we are going to do a public presentation of the project and the final compositions in the school in November.


Wispelberg 4

The students of Wispelberg had the chance to record their sounds during the week and finished their city composition today. This is a personal “view” of the city by Emma, Alperen, Delphine, Kasper, Maya, Anaïs, Manon and Mira. Enjoy and feel free to comment!


Modes of Listening

Michel Chion identifies three distinct listening modes that we use.
He calls them: causal listening, semantic listening, and reduced listening.

Causal listening consists of listening to a sound in order to gather information about its cause (or source). In some cases we recognize the precise cause: a specific person´s voice, the sound of a unique particular object, like the sound of our coffee grinder. We sometimes cannot recognize a particular sound, but can place it in a category, like: That sounds like something mechanical. Or: That sounds like a bird. We identify indicies. For example: a scraping sound. Even without knowing the cause, we can sense changes in pressure, speed and amplitude, without knowing what is scraping against what.

Semantic listening refers to a code or language to interpret a message. We learn phonetic codes; A phoneme is listened to not specifically for its acoustical properties, but as part of an entire system of language sounds. Danish is very difficult to learn because there are so many particular vowel sounds that influence interpretation. Obviously, we can use causal and semantic listening at the same time. We hear at once what is said and who is saying it.

Reduced listening is a mode of listening that focuses on the traits of the sound itself, pitch, clang, tempo, rhythm, etc., independent of its cause or meaning. Reduced listening takes the sound itself, as itself the object to be observed, instead of as a vehicle for something else.

We invited English classes in to schools to explore listening modes, asking them to tune into the sounds of their daily living, their environments, and their language – and then compose their soundstory, here presented without narration.


iSounds Denmark

iSounds Denmark by SoundTales-1



Denmark: I started in the mid sixties working with sound stories for the Feature Department in national public broadcasting and recording Danish audio culture. We have a good tradition of making sound stories with narration as a public service. Unfortunately over the last 10 years, due to cutbacks. the production of this kind of audio has declined markedly here. My intention is to spark an audio revival in a visual dominated society. Listening to the sounds around us is new to our pupils here in Denmark. They have no experience in working with audio expression, recording, editing and mixing.  There are two schools in the project here in Denmark, one private: The Elsinore Little School – and one public: Hellebaek School. The time allotted was 9 lessons of 45 minutes. There were all the imaginable technical problems, but with high spirits in the two classes, we actually got something done, though many did not finish their sonic postcard. Now there is fall vacation. They  will finish their work at home and we will continue in week 43, so there is more to come.