The City Rings

Part: default

Sonic postcards from Athens!

Hello to you all!

We have been working on our sonic postcards for the last two days! It has been a bit difficult to organize it because we only had two laptops to work with. So, we decided to form groups and share activities. Here’s our plan: each day two groups worked with Audacity and the rest dedicated our time in visual scores!

About the sonic postcards:

We have made three of them! We did not want to work on a certain scenario. On the contrary, we wanted to listen many times to the sounds we had made and decide on our compositions more spontaneously, trying various combinations of sounds. Each group collaborated democratically on contents choosing sounds that the whole group liked. Little by little we decided on what would our final outcome sound like. During this process we concentrated on the title of each composition trying to find a title that would fit it best! Finally, on Tuesday we listened to our outcome realizing that each group had worked in a very special way: some were more rhythmical than others, others more literal, others more associative…

Let’s listen to them:

1. FrenoCar (by Flori, Kostis, Mateo): Φρένο (Freno) in Greek means brake. So this composition is about cars. Athens is full of cars and their sounds are very typical of our city! Us composers like beatboxing and pop music, too, so we thought of working with human voice and repetition as well.

2. The barba(by Ekramul, Muhammad, Leonardo): we thought that the sound of the word barba has something in common with the composition that follows, so we decided to name our postcard after it. We have used a variety of sounds to create it!

3. Three rains (by Joana, Marina, Erisha): Due to a technical problem we will only be able to upload this sound by next Tuesday. Until then, try to imagine various types of rain: heavy, light, dense… They all sound differently, don’t they? We have attempted to create a rainy atmosphere here without using any rain sound at all!

About the visual scores:

While the two laptops were fully working on Audacity projects in two continuous days, the rest of the class talked about pentagram scores and visual scores. We talked about Wassily Kandinsky’s connections between sound and painting, as well. In the city rings blog, we found and watched Artikulation: As the sounds of Gyorgy Ligeti’s piece are played, one can simultaneously see the visual score made by Rainer Wehinger.

After that, we were asked to stop and listen very carefully and try to create visual scores of the soundscape in the very moment it was being composed. Listening attentively, it was only but a matter of time that shapes and patterns emerged to describe the others’ voices, the sounds that came from their headphones, the sound of traffic, Linos’ (the bird!) chirps, Sofia’ s steps, our pencils on paper, our breaths, the murmur of the classroom, laughter and many many more! Here you can take a look of some of our scores (By Muhammad, Selena, Flori, Leonardo, Ekramul, Spyridoula, Mateo, Kostis -not in order of appearance!):

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Finally, this is an Origami T-Shirt by Selena with many of the symbols she has used in her scores on it:


Last, but not least, we would like to thank you very much for sharing sounds and ideas with us! Working with you has been a great pleasure and every time we had a session we were longing to listen to you on the blog!

Little by little, Summer is approaching, so we wish you have a great and sonorous Summer this year!

The kids from 49 primary School of Athens!



Sonic Snaps and visual imagery weave our compositions

We began today with a short visualisation imagining our keyword. With our keyword we imagined textures, colours, shapes and forms that could be associated with these words. Then listening to our sonic snaps we connected our visualisations with some of these sounds. The group had some ingenious ideas for grabbing sounds at home using personal devices as we have limited recorders in school. Our incredible resourceful students used mp3 players, video capture on a tablet, voice memos on an iPod and GarageBand. I have featured some of the collection below.
With our images and sound ideas growing in our minds we had the chance to create visual interpretations of our ideas using a variety of media from pencil and paper and crayon to using the app ‘Brushes’ on iPad or sculpture. These creations prompted some great dialogue about our compositions.

Plenty more here:
I have the opportunity to work with many grade levels throughout the week. I visited grade one later in the morning. We listened to the sonic snaps from Athens and Gent and imagined which living thing could sound like these.
Weaving the compositions in our mind and visually, we are ready to begin composing.


more SonicSnaps from Athens!

Hello to all of you!

Today we had our fourth session! Unfortunately, we haven’t managed to gather all of the sound recordings yet. We will have everything by tomorrow, though. So, we decided to dedicate this session to other sonorous things… We took a look at your comments on our first sounscape and were very intrigued by the idea of sonic cinema! It was so fun to read how differently each one of you have perceived the same sound. Thank you both for the great idea! So, here´s where your sounds have taken us to:

a sound from Ghent (we tried not to spy on the title…):


is the soundtrack for…

-a bank robbery

-person blowing in his hands because he is cold and tries to roll a big rock outside a cave in order to get in.

-a man is running because he is being chased by a lion. The lion tries to throw a stone to him.

-a man cutting down a tree.

-a man on a bicycle, horning.

-a fireman goes to extinguish a fire.

-school bell ringing. the students run like dogs.

-dogs with bells hanging from their necks run.

a sound by Etoy:


was the soundtrack for…

-a train that horns and stops at the station./tram coming from the previous station./train that horns to a dog

-the school’s bell/fire alarm.

-a crazy alarm clock wakes the chicken up and they are taken aback.

-a child wakes up and takes his/her skate. Almost runs into a dog!

-a ship full of containers horns. People unload the containers and the air comes.

-workers building a house.

another sound by Etoy:


was the soundtrack for…

-a guy driving a truck in the snow. He is trapped by the snow and gets down to dig and continue his drive.

-people disembark from a ship after having crossed the car parking, take their luggage and get off.

-a radio trying to get signal.

-a ship off for a trip. its radar being fixed.

-it rains. A guy gets in his house and gets out again because he dropped his keys down.

-Kiriku runs away from the witch.

-a submarine in the bottom of the sea. it comes next to a cargo ship and the ship takes it inside. then the ship’s engine starts.

-lots of traffic in the street, trucks horning, dogs barking, people running.

-the Titanic sinking.


Afrer listening to some soundscapes from you, we listened to the sounds that we recorded these days and talked about our experience. Unfortunately, we have had some problems: some of us could not complete their recordings and some others have had interventions from people speaking, unwanted noises etc. Last, but not least, heroic Joanna got burnt trying to record the boiler…
Reading Ghent’s post, we realized that you have had as well some of our problems: there were interventions in your recordings, too. Gent helped us understand that sometimes interventions might be interesting and that listening to the soundscape can be itself a composition full of unpredictable surprises.
Listening to our sounds, we noticed the low quality of the mp3 players and wondered whether this is a disadvantage or it can be welcome sometimes, too. In order to think on lo-fi sound, we listened to an example that comes from music: the Cocorosie sisters, (who use children’s toys with lo-fi sound, as well) recorded their first album not in a proper studio but in their bathroom! Listening to Terrible Angels we imagined them playing in the bathroom, we talked about the small room’s acoustics and paid attention to the toy’s sounds and to the little “noises” that were captured during the recording.

Here they go:

Has their sound been affected? Yes, but in a positive way! So, for the next days we need to think on how we can mix our recordings made with the high quality recorders with the ones made with the mp3 players in a way that we have an interesting outcome!

Here are some of our recordings. In order to know who is the author and what is being recorded, we say our name and give a small description of the sound in the beginning of each file:



cars and traffic!

an electronic toy!


the notorious boiler!

drinking glass!


letting something down!

drawing (and brother’s intervention…)!

That’s all for now! We are very anxious to start with our sonic postcards tomorrow!

Listen to you soon!


Listening through the recorders

Hello everybody!
Our third session was lots of fun!
We started by watching the kitchen scene from Music for apartment and six drummers. We thought the woman with the mixer was very funny and we liked the sound of the egg slicer. Some of us wondered if things are destroyed the way the drummers manipulated them. But then, we saw them leaving the room (almost!) untouched. The scene gave us some ideas on how we can produce sound at home, with everyday stuff.

After that, we took some time listening to your soundscapes! We liked a lot some of them and some others were quite confusing. We were very enthusiastic about recognizing some of our sounds within bigger compositions: Marina’s duck, Ecramol’s chain, Leonardo’s clicking sound, Mateo’s funny lip noise, Joana’s Frog, Kostis’ paper flapping, Flori’s pencil, Selena’s keys… It was very interesting to see (or let’s put it more correctly, to listen to) how our material was transformed into something new!

Then we turned the recorders on and listened. The first contact with augmented sound was a big surprise! We could hear all the tiny noises and the cars passing by our school! We started playing with the possibilities that this new medium gave us. We moved the microphones towards and away from a sound source, we shouted, we blew on the microphones and we whispered. We also revealed some secrets to the ones who had the headphones on… While experimenting, we learned how the recorders work. Check some of our experimentations out. Warning! Voices included ;)
1. Blowing close to the microphone:

2. Moving recorder towards and away from voice:

3. Plastic bag and voice:

Finally, we decided to continue working outside, at the yard, and do some recordings there. We realized that the traffic noise is omnipresent! Listen to our recordings:
1. Our faucets and a car passing by:

2. Clapping hands all together:

4 Running around:

Did you notice the space’s affection on the running recording? Take a look at it: It is a semi-closed room (3 walls and ceiling but open to the yard):
Finally, we got back to class and we were given some recorders to take home. However, these recorders are different from the ones we have been experimenting with so far.. They are simple mp3 players that have the possibility to record as well, in this case in low quality. But, is low quality necessarily unwanted? Or does it offer the possibility for different, interesting results? We ll answer to that question next time. In the meanwhile, take some time to think about it as well!
Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Can you take a photograph without images?

Grade 1 went on a sound walk today through the different layers of landscape that make Etoy. Searching for sounds of nature, the class made field recordings to capture natural moments of bird song, the wind in the trees, the lapping of the water on the shore by the lake and much more.

Connecting with the art of listening through technology students connected with their environment in a new way.
Tomorrow we will listen back to the recordings to see if they evoke memories like photographs.


MySounds from 49th primary school of Athens

Hello everybody!

This Monday we read your posts and tried to imagine how do your cities sound like. We imagined the whistling sound of the wind going through the windmill wings, the buzzing cars in the highways, the repeated train sounds, the strange noises that factories might make, the water in the lake and canal, your voices at school and many more! We were quite jealous that you both have water close to your neighborhood (canal and lake).

Take a look at our previous projects n the classroom walls. Many of us like art, as you can see.


Farsad, for instance, had made a beautiful windmill drawing before we knew about the windmills in Sint-Kruis-Winkel:


We also brought some things from home in order to explore how we can produce sound. We tried very hard not to burst into laughter while recording, as some of the sounds were really funny! Some of us chose not to bring anything from home but rather to make a sound with our own bodies! Let´s see if you can distinguish body sounds from the rest… Can you guess the sources of all our sounds?
After listening to the recordings we talked about our sounds. The sound was different from what we had thought! We described our sounds as: funny, creepy, strange, rhythmic, sad, happy, slow, fast, repeated, scary, desperate, electronic, natural… One of them reminded us of war and another of strong wind. Listen to them:


What do you think? We are very curious to listen to what you are going to do with them!!

Finally, apart from us humans, there is a bird attending our class! That makes us 14 pupils. His name is Linos. We wanted to include his sounds among ours! You may have already noticed his tweets in some of the previous recordings as well… he likes to tweet all the time!
Here he is:


And here you can listen to his whistling dialog with our project leader:

Finally, we talked a little bit about Audacity and we saw how some of  our sounds look like when opened in the program. The waveforms reminded us both of a cardiograph and of a seismograph.

We are very happy to take part in TCR because this period we study sound in our physics lesson!
Listen to you soon,
the kids from the 49th primary school of Athens




Researchers sounds…Sonicsnaps

Today, we worked in groups and we imagined a story to help us to record sounds. We wrote our ideas on paper (places, objects …). you discovered our histories in future sessions when we started audio editing!




for now, you can listen ours records made in the playground, cafeteria, in the classroom and even in the nursery ! We are in a little school so we have classrooms reserved for children 3 to 5 years.
We also used amplifiers sounds, some of us hold like a gun, even the teacher !





We finished the session to watching « Music for Appartment », we discovered that everyday objects can become wonderful musical instruments !


Other sounds are available on Freesound !
See you soon !




For this session we started by watching Wochende by Walter Ruttman, thanks Rennes for the tip! It seemed important to have a listen since it was possibly recorded in Berlin and also very good for hearing nice edited cuts between field recording sounds. We also worked more on finding more sounds with various textures around the school – students took it in turns of going around the school to record in a small groups of pairs guided by Vincent.
Here are some of the recordings from the session.
(Students made a series of small recordings from around the school in one track):

Recorded by Luisa and Joanna.

Recorded by Luay and Richard.

Recorded by Tara and Biayni.

Recorded by Ruby and Chloe.

Recorded by Alma and Sophia.
While the other students and l stayed in the class room listened to more sounds off the city rings site and played the youtube of  Ligeti’s Artikulationleg graphic scorefor an example of a graphic score and electronic textures (It has been great to see people doing the graphic scores this time in the city rings and extending the TCR methodology.) while students played the surrealist game Exquisite Corpus creating there own interpretations though drawing what they were hearing.

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We have had some IT glitches so our final postcard are still a work in progress, since l am their Art teacher we have the fortunate opportunity to keep exploring the sound medium and are also working on making an installation to show the rest of the school community next year.


Adeus and postcards from Portugal…

The last session was about listening. Listening to the sounds of Paris and letting work our imagination.
We wrote a short story about the sounds we heard and then we picked out some sounds that were the most intriguing for us.
We experimented with cutting the sounds in small parts and listening again.
The result was like in a laboratory, looking to sounds under a microscope and adding drops of other sounds in a search for the right chemical reaction.
To experiment was more important then the result, everything was allowed excpet the expected, how crazier how better!
Thank you Paris for the wonderful inspiration!

Goodbye or Adeus in Portuguese!









Postcards from Paris ..

Despite a very busy school timetable we managed to finish our sonic postcards. The class was divided into six groups of four .. as we only had one computer that worked.. and each group came and worked individually with me. Excitement levels were high after our very successful morning of recording sounds in the local area. Most groups chose to mix sounds from the quartier with what we managed to capture from within the school grounds. Before listening to everyone’s cards we had a last final listen to the sonic snaps from Gualtar. The chestnuts roasting and the church bell gave us a lovely impression of what daily life is like there. By way of a reply I hope you enjoy these very urban Parisian postcards. Until the next time, happy listening to you all.