We, at Sons de Barcelona believe in open source software, and alternatives to copyright. This is why all the sounds recorded during our workshops go to Freesound where they are free to download and use under a Creative Commons license. And this is why we always use Audacity to edit and sequence sounds.
So, when we started the session dedicated to composing the sonic postcards, we had the pleasant surprise to find out this school’s computers run Ubuntu, which is a good Linux distribution (Linux is a free open-source operating system). Good start!
As you may remember, past week we dedicated it to record sounds that pupils found were characteristic of their school; with the intention of using those sounds to create a composition that was to be sent to Belgium, as a way of saying “hi there! this is how our school sounds”.
The main difference between this exercise and the Soundscapes one, is that, while we did the Soundscapes all together, the postcards we do them in groups of two or three pupils each. The intention is for them to gain autonomy with the software and the composition decision making. Another difference with the Soundscapes exercise is that this time we ask them for a “natural-sounding composition”, so they cannot use effects, heavy copy pasting, or any strategy that makes the final result seem more musical than descriptive, so to say (although they do not always do what we say…).
So, children start by loading their sounds into Audacity and listen to them, to come up with a first selection of those who are well recorded. Then they go on overlapping them, doing sudden and progressive transitions, handling volumes and panning, deleting bad takes, etc. as to end up getting a piece of approximately one minute in duration.
This is an exercise that requires quite a lot of concentration and attentive listening. It is noteworthy they had to resolve it in not much more than one hour, a difficult task even for experienced sound artists, indeed. We invite you here to listen to a selection of their results, and, as usual, visit our freesound page to hear the rest of them. Thanks for reading, enjoy.