The City Rings

Year: 2012

Sonic ending

Hello all!

If we had to select a tool from Audacity that everyone seems to love, that would be the envelope tool. With it not only they can easily manage intensity as a compositional strategy, but… it looks… so cool! :D They really like the visual aspect of it.
So we finished the Sonic Postcards composition today. We all wish we had more time, with 1 hour (ouch) per session, we can barely scratch the surface of what is possible. Nevertheless I am always amazed at the inventive and creativity bursts of TheCityRings participants.

There you have them, concentrating on sound, its pesky waves, and how to drag them around, cut them, establish relations between multiple tracks, intensity curves, repetition… oh, but you know what I am talking about.
Please take a listen to this postcards, and you can visit the pack at Freesound, as usual, to listen to the rest, just click here

We want to say thanks to every other school, in two days we will listen and comment on your postcards.


Until next time!


Sound around

Hello again :)
One girl at our class, named Mebilin, really liked the recorder drawing posted by Rennes school and draw her own :)

Last friday we had an introduction to sound recording, and a sound hunting session around the school. We emphasized listening before recording, and not being shy at recording for a long time. We also talked about the position of the microphones in relation to what is being recorded, for it is not the same to record the water emerging from the tap, than hitting the sink, and we wanted them to notice these differences and take decisions about them.

This sound recording practice was a small rehearsal for when, after school, the class took the recorders home in order to record sounds that belong to the environments they live in. Here are some of those sounds for you to listen to… enjoy


Today we had another session in which we took quite some time to see what French and Belgian schools have been doing, in particular your sounds and compositions. Students where stimulated by the comments received on their composition, for its creativity and imagination; and so we have been preparing some comments to send you back, you will receive them soon!

We have also started selecting and cleaning the sounds recorded at home, for our final Sonic Postcard composition. Which we will finish next monday. It is a bit later than expected, but we hope there will be a way for the composition to reach the students at French and Belgian schools
Great work you all!


Sonic Postcards from La Binquenais Rennes !

This almost end of the great adventure The City Rings …we had great time !
So back to job. To compose our sonic postcards we used sounds coming from our everyday life like the subway (yes even if we are not that much a big city we have our “metro”) or some we recorded home during the week-end. For instance Seraht borrowed toys to his little brother to record them, or Bahar and Estella have recorded their way back home after school. In addition to this nice sounds we recorded on our own we used those made ​​during school.
Now, we are more familiar with Audacity and we can make the audio postcards that we fancy.
Here is the result of our hard work after two sessions of audio editing. We hope that you will enjoy exploring our sound environment, maybe you will find in Belgium and Spain some similar sounds (metro, bus …?)




Sonic Postcards from Ghent !


Hi there again ,
The 2 previous sessions were pretty intense. We gathered sonic treasures in small basements and large attics, in busy streets and peaceful parks. Each person mixed up his/her favourite sounds and worked on a composition individually. Before we started everyone chose one keyword : a personal emotion that was linked to the city. Listen to our compositions and tell us how you feel !
We’re so curious to hear your work, we’ll get back to you on that friday !


Sonic Snaps from Rennes

During Session 3, we listened to the compositions performed by the Spanish and Belgian students, what beautiful work! We tried to find our own sounds that have been used by other students in their audio editing. We commented on each soundcape, you can read our comments in section Soundscapes ! We worked with our French and english teacher to write these comments.
Then we went out on the playground and out on the corridors to hunt for sound safari !

The instructions were clear:
– Record environnemental sounds
– Record a moving object with the recorder in a fixed position
– Record a stationary object with the recorder motion
– Record a close sound (“zoom in” on a sound)
– Record a far away sound, distant

the maximum time allowed for recording was 15 sec. And we had to save at least 5 sounds in this session.
We have combined the use of a digital recorder that of a camera: use a microphone stand , “zoom in” on a sound, etc..

We made two groups of students, and we started recording various sounds in our workshop rooms: linen room, kitchen, housing.. We have professional workshops in our curriculum. We recorded sounds outside of the school (playground, corridors, halls, study room …)



Here are the field recording that we made last week:



During the weekend, we continue recording at home, we had the same instructions as the session 3. Today in class, we listened to our sounds and we tried to guess the objects and places recorded. Here’s what we recorded, your turn to guess now!

Then we start the compositions of sonic postcards from Audacity, and we will finish the editing tomorrow morning!




Soon for new Soundscapes!


Record Play


Hi there again,
Today we first wanted to hear the French and Spanish compositions.
Nice to hear how our sounds were organized and mixed up into something new : excellent work !

The composer John Cage once said : “Whether I make them or not, there are always sounds to be heard and all of them are excellent.” and who are we to deny that ?
So we went out on the playground and out on the streets to hunt for soundtreasures.
Armed with a recorder and headphones we listened to the world around us.
After a while we got more and more familiar with the recording process ( adjusting volumes, avoiding unwanted sounds ,…).
This weekend we continue recording at home and start preparing our individual compositions so : hang in there !


Soundscape time!


Our second session was quite exciting as we had just recieved a whole bunch of new MySounds from our friends in Belgium and France. At first we were busy for a while trying to guess where those misterious sounds were coming from. That wasn’t easy at all! At least we agreed that most of them were produced by rubbing or hitting an object. There was some shaking there too. We could also guess if the object was made from metal, clothes, paper, etc. Then we started thinking about some words that could describe each sound properly. At first we focused on describing what kind of emotions the sound provoked, namely, if that felt nice, or disturbing, or made us get goosebumps, and so on. We even found a “nervous” sound. Then we tried to link the sound to a more complex scenario, like a part of a movie or a story. Amongst other things we imagined a funny scene, Western-like, with a cowboy on a three legged horse. Crazy.


Well, that’s when composition time arrived. The kids were already familiar with Audacity (our usual audio editing software), because Flora, their music teacher, uses it for her classes. So we went over the basics and started working with the sounds we got from the french and belgian schools. We worked together, talking about whether we should use a particular sound or not, and what to do with it or where to put it in the timeline. We enjoyed using “crescendo and decrescendo” (something they learned from their music class too).


We regret not having more time to dig deeper into the compositional process; with one hour, and focusing on the process, time flies! In any case I think we successfully accomplished an interesting composition, with a totally cool ending ;)



Session 2 : French Soundscapes

Hello to you in Belgium and Spain,
During the second session , we listened to the sounds from Ghent and Barcelona. We tried to guess the source of the sounds and to reproduce some of them, including the sound by Maurice (B) with a coin, at least that’s what we assumed …


Before starting to create the soundscapes with recordings from the other countries, we chose groups of 2 keywords, and a guideline for audio editing.
Then we reviewed the basics of using Audacity (import an audio file, separate audio track, sliding tracks, generate silence, stereo, etc.). Finally we have worked with pairs on computers to achieve the sound postcards related to our keyword.
If you listen well you will notice that everyone uses the sound of the balloon !
You can listen to our work here, we will be delighted to read your comments !


“Kenavo”! (Breton speaking for “bye”)



My Sounds from Ghent


Hello ,
Here we are again for a new edition of the CityRings in Ghent.
As a start we listened to ‘silence’ for a minute. But it turned out there was no silence at all. We heard a lot of sounds around us, especially because there were loud construction works going on in the school. But we also heard very tiny sounds such as the movement of our clothes and dripping of water somewhere we couldn’t locate.

Afterwards we experimented with the sound objects everyone brought from home.
We tried to make as many different sounds as possible with them and we recorded our favourite sounds. You can listen to some of them here :

Then we listened carefully to our sounds and it was crazy to see that we sometimes couldn’t remember how the sound was made.
To end the first session we listened to a movie fragment and we tried to make up our own story of it just by listening. Listening to movies ( without seeing it ) defintely triggers imagination, you should try it too there in France and Spain !
More soon !


Part 2 : Spain and France Remixed


Hi there,
Today we had our second session : the one where we start building compositions with sounds made in the other countries.
Off course we started listening to the sounds very carefully.
Fascinating how some sounds made us feel very anxious and adhd, while others had a very gentle and restful effect. Even more fascinating that the same sound was frightening for some and funny for others.
We noticed it’s very inspiring that we don’t know the source of the sounds, now we didn’t make them ourselves.
The sound of Melvin f.e reminded us of u heavy storm at sea, we could even hear the crew of the ship falling on the deck.

After the dissection of the French and Spanish sounds, we learned how to combine and organize the indivdual sounds into a composition. We used multitracksoftware and experimented with sequencing and layering of sounds, we also found out how we could copy, cut, paste and balance all the sounds.
Then the real work started : we split up into two groups : one group made a composition out of French sounds, the other made one out of Spanish sounds.
You can listen to our work here, let us know what you think !
Curious to hear your compositions and anxious to start recording new sounds.
Regards from Ghent !