“The Secret Sounds (from 4th grade class)” would be a rough translation of the title we chose for the Soundscape we made on the second session of the workshop.
We started the session carefully listening to the great mysounds recorded by both Belgian and Portuguese schools, trying to guess how where they produced, and attempting to select already some of them for our composition.
Since we did not have much time, we went straight to had a good look at the basic tools that Audacity offers us: moving, cutting, copying, pasting and the envelope tool; plus the “normalize” effect. Then we tried to bring together some of our favourite sounds from the other schools and started to build our soundscape.
We did not use any concept as point of departure for the composition, asking ourselves instead what did sound good to us. We tried to understand the waves, how visual transformations would affect the resulting sound, and payed special attention to the transitions between sounds. The envelope tool was the overall winner ;) and we used it to end our composition with a coming and going subtle sound.
We thank you very much for your recordings and wish you enjoy our little composition!
What if sound was like travelling? This question was the first on the morning of our second session. With closed eyes we listened to sounds of Barcelona and Ghent. The difference between the sounds was obvious. The sounds from Barcelona, rhythmical, extroverted, almost like little dances. The sounds from Ghent intimate, slower, like little dreams.
We chose each a sound from Barcelona and Ghent and imagined to begin a travel…
Writing down how our trip started was the first step. We imagined to hear rain, singing wires in wind, an old bike going uphill, a door that opened, a clock ticking…
We decided to chose six sounds as stones to build a bridge between Belgium and Spain.
We hope you enjoy our first try, a small travel between North and South.
Today we started the second session with exploring the website and also the mySounds from the other countries. We discovered that it was more difficult to guess what the exact source of the sound could be, but at the same time that made it easier to get our fantasies and storytelling going. It was also nice to see the image of the soundwaves visualized on the big digital screen in our classroom. The rhythm and structure of some of the sounds reminded us of breathing or a heartbeat!
While listening to the mySounds of the other kids we noticed that at some point there was a kind of similarity with our own recordings. Like the rattling of wooden pencils, the cracking of a plastic water bottle or the polishing sound of pieces of paper being rubbed against each other. We also discovered a difference in volume between the recordings of the other schools. Barcelona was sometimes really expressive and loud, while Lamaçaes seemed more patient and intimate in their expression.
This we actually used as an inspiration for our soundscapes. While working with the mySounds from Barcelona we discovered a lot of rythm and symmetric structures. This reminded us of a DJ scratching his records. But after we listened more closely it could also be a drowsy snarling dog as well.
One of the mySounds of Lamaçaes immediately triggered a story in our head. The recording starts with 4 short bangs and then it continues in a more improvised crispy and rustling sound. It made us think of someone shooting a gun, then trying to reload it, but he get’s scared and his hands are shaking, then he is trying to escape and… Well, the rest you can hear yourself. Enjoy listening!
And so we received the mysounds from Essen, and went to listen and talk about them. We talked about their physical characteristics, as loudness or lenght; about some of their other, more complex traits, as if they were pleasant, annoying or subtle; and we also closed our eyes and tried to imagine what kind of scenes or sensations these sounds produced on us. You will find the participants answers at the comments section, Essen ;)
And after this, we moved onto an introduction to Audacity and its tools -they always love the envelope tool. Our plan was to do a selection of sounds and attempt to do a small composition -the soundscape- all while looking at possible compositional strategies. The strategies we saw were, repetition, crescendo and decrescendo (fadein, fadeout), multilayering, and paying attention at the intensity curves of the composition as if it was a movie.
We cut some sounds and alternated the pieces to create an effect, that later became rhytmic; we used what we believed to be some sort of marble as a transition, and finished it with a a sonic burst that the class really enjoyed, and got us applauding :D Needless to say, our time went quick, but we think we came up with a well-thought, tiny composition. Listen and enjoy!
For this session we discussed using garage band. The students were already savy with the software from their personal experience and music class, as the students are doing a Unit Of Inquire into ‘sound and light’ though all subjects they have also been working with and thinking about the recording and editing of field recordings.
Since they needed no further instruction we had a look at some graphic scores, we look at the graphic scores of John Cage and Mortan Feldman. Students then draw these while listening to the sounds.
This is one of the soundscape that the students created from the sound for Rennes, France
today we made our first soundscape with three of the object sounds of our spanish partner, but first we did a little listening exercises and characterized sounds by colour, emotions, the ways of producing and material. We found it easier to talk about the colours of the sounds than emotions.
And we guessed what the sources of the spanish sounds were. We thought about motor blocks and motorbikes (but then again we thought that it would have been very difficult to get a motor block into the school ;-). We found kitchen mixer, ducks, sandpaper, horses, saws but then again we thought about saws made of plastic and metal?
And when we saw the picture of the fork and the pencil holder, we recognized the neon yellow sound we heard in object 3.
Then we learnt how to use audacity, how to import, edit and level the sound. We even reversed a sound. And then we played all three sounds together and found that we would have to decrease the level on two tracks to hear the third.
That was our result as a first soundscape:
We would have worked longer on this, but time was already up.
We added today some photos from monday on the mysounds post, see us hard working on the recordings.
“Demat” European friends !
(“Demat” is the Breton language to say “bonjour” in french, whether “hello” in english)
Indeed, we are located in Rennes, a part of France named Brittany (or Little Britain). Rennes is also a capital, but of Brittany !
Tuesday 15th January 2013 :
13:30 to 15:30, we were in the computer room for Session 2 as you can see in these pictures.
Today, we started the second session with reading the website (unfortunately, with a pronounced French accent !) and listening german Mysounds (Berlin). We tried to guess what object was used to produce each sound, and we associate a gesture to each sound (scrub, sharp, shuffling papers…).
We found that we used some of the same objects (eg the pencil sharpener), but the sounds were different!
Then, we learned to browse the website so we can use it alone at home and listen to the sounds of the others classes.
Next, 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 create soundscapes related to our keywords and from the sounds made by the German students.
Have you guessed the key word ?
The key word for this soundscape is “work”, created by Philippine et Anouk.
Elsa et Alicia have chosen to work on the theme of the stapler and pencil sharpener !
Erwan et Nino tell a story where the main character is a firefighter !
Did you guess which object Malo and Mathieu refer?
This is a person who is trying to mix a deck of cards !
Mathurin, Mathéo and Deodat are on the road again !
Bleuenn and Sarah are playing the drums !
You will discover the others audio editing made by the rest of the class soon on Freesound !
“kenavo” ! (Breton language for “Bye” or “au revoir” in french)
Today we started our 2nd session with watching some short videos about Foley (Foley is the reproduction of everyday sound effects which are added in post production to enhance the quality of audio for films, television, etc…). We were all amazed to see that so much things we “hear” coming from the screen are actually finely tailored, handmade sounds. And most of the times it’s all made with very normal objects!
Then we listened to the mySounds from different schools. We thought we recognized a book, a marble rolling over a table, a plastic bottle, and much more. We were surprised to hear that the “cricket object” from our partner school IDES was very similar to a sound we made the day before. Nice!
We ended with the creations of 2 soundscapes with the mySounds from our Parisian friends. We had a lot of fun. The sounds coming from the dog toys were quite popular. When we heard it for the first time the whole class started laughing.
Hear you all on Thursday! We look forward to listening to the soundscapes in the classroom!
Hello all !
Well we had a very busy and productive afternoon. We first of all listened to the sounds from our partner school in Ghent, and had some difficulty in guessing all of them. In the end we voted on what we thought was the most likely sound source. If we heard correctly there were quite a lot kitchen utensils ? We imagined an egg timer ticking the seconds away, copper saucepans lids crashing together like cymbals, a metal tray banged with a soft object that sounded like a wonderful gong, and jam jar lids being pushed in and out. I won’t list what we made of all of the recordings, but we thoroughly enjoyed listening, so thank you.
For everyone in the class it was the first time using Audacity, so we went through the basics ( importing sounds, sequencing, editing) and just about managed to create three short soundscapes in the time we had left.
Each group heard something different in the sounds.
This first group imagined their composition as a fairytale set in a cave – kitchen. A new take on Cinderella ?
The second group heard environmental, pastoral sounds in the recordings. Inspired by this they created a walk in a forest where they stumble upon a woodcutter doing some carpentry.
The third group thought there was a lot of activity and movement in the recordings. They imagined cogs turning, springs bouncing and machines spinning into action all by themselves. Hear for yourselves :
We will not have a session tomorrow, it being Wednesday, and that means no school in France, so we will listen to our partner schools creations on Thursday. Happy recording.
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 ;)