The City Rings

Part: Soundscapes

First soundscapes in Messac !

Today, we again visited the website The City Rings.
We listened to some sounds we had recorded.
Listening to sounds, we realized graphic scores. We have designed the sounds with different geometric shapes. The forms represented the rhythm or sound intensity.
Then, we watched a movie of the 1920s. The author expressed motions with colors and shapes associated with music.







In the computer room, we finally found the Audacity software. It’s a sound editing software. So we started to manipulate sounds.



The Sound Collector

Students in Grade 3 have just been working with the poem ‘The Sound Collector‘ by Roger McGough.

This was an excellent opportunity to share ‘The City Rings’ with the class and use soundscapes from Pacè as provocations for shape poems.

We began by listening to one soundscape example and then used an improv. technique to build ideas and create a story. The idea works as follows:
Yes, and…
Stand with a talking partner.
Play the soundscape then begin the game and it goes something like this:

“I’m wondering how the rain drips down”
“Yes, and…I can hear it being collected in large pool”
“Yes, and…I think there are some electric cables leading into the pool”
“Yes, and…there are crack of sound and sparks flying like lightning…”

You get the idea!
From hear we sketched out ideas and compared these with the sound waves of each soundscape.

Thanks to students from Pacé you are excellent sound collectors and have given us many ideas for our shape poems.

Here’s one poem written by Prokop
The sound collector
By Prokop H.

A stranger called this morning,
Dressed all in black and grey,
Put every sound in a bag,
And carried it away,

The tapping of the cups,
The printing of the receipt,
The blowing of the aggregator,
The unwrapping of the sweet,

The clattering of the knives,
The beeping of the cars,
The thudding of the chairs,
The lighting of cigars,

The ticking of the clock,
The ringing of the bell,
The thundering of thunder,
The humming of the laptop DELL

A stranger called this morning,
He didn’t leave his name,
Only left us silence,
Life will never be the same.


Layers of sound- Soundscapes mixed from Pacé

Students from both Genius Hour- our independent project inquiry hour and Radio Club, enjoyed listening to the MySounds from Pacé and quickly got into the mindset of mixing a ‘sound story’. We really enjoyed finding the rhythm in our mixes that fit into a story structure of having a beginning, middle (challenge), resolution (end)

We hope you can make stories out of them too!

All mixes were created in GarageBand.


First sounds editing from Pacé



Today, we are Tuesday, 18th November. This morning, we looked the blog, the pictures, and texts from yesterday.
Then, we listened all the sounds from Swizerland school, we looked for the objet used, the material and what they represented.
Afterwards, we listened a sonor movie and we tried to imagine some possible stories.
Julie explained us the software Audacity (how to import, move, cut and paste).
Finally, in the BCD, each group created a sound editing.











Here is the video that we eared this morning : Wochenende – Walter Ruttmann (1930)


Sonic cinema stimulates story telling!

Friday afternoon at the movies! We brought two classes together to listen to some of the Soundscapes created during the first week of the project. The lights were dimmed, imaginary popcorn shared and the films rolled. The only difference, the images and visuals were in our imagination.(We have and some interesting discussions around topics of accessibility and whether it’s possible to experience ‘the movies’ if one is blind.)
We were careful not give any direction to the visualisations created, no titles or preconceived ideas with the first three; Random, Athens, At the movies. Only giving general guidance of what to listen for in characters, settings, landscape, time of day etc with will be beneficial next week when building new compositions.
First up, ‘Random’

We visualised:
“My dad blowing into a beer bottle”
“My dad driving a train”
“With my family in a car making funny sounds”
“Underwater in a submarine-I saw a shark”
“Snorkeler blowing through a snorkel”
“Underwater- with a whale blowing bubbles”
“Train taking me to my dreamland”
“Steamboat ride”

Second, the Soundscape from Athens:

We imagined:
“Raining- I’m in the film, in the afternoon”
“Having a haircut- wet hair then dry hair”
“A toy I used to play with- a wind up toy”
“Two kids slamming a door and then locking it”
“My car in the rain”
“Like a tape measure- a dancing one”
“Objects with eyes in a room looking at me”

Next up: At the the Movies- Gent

We were really getting into the creative mindset now:
“An old lady going to the cinema on a very rainy day. Eating popcorn.”
“A grandpa putting things into a bin, he was in a bad mood.”
“A random man, riding a bike, dodging fireballs”
“Somebody with speedy legs”
“At the theatre- helicopters, planes and trains”
“Someone playing chess on an aeroplane”
“A man working, he makes a remote control aeroplane”
“In a market place- moving things”

Final Soundscape, “A Strange Woman” Gent
With this composition we knew the title, so we imagined this strange woman, using questions as provocations. Who was she? What was she wearing? What would she be listening to on her iPod? What sort of book would she be carrying? …

Here she is:
She could be called, “Molly, Polly, Bobby, Putini, Lizzy or Nono”
Her mood, “Mad, busy, angry, crazy”
Hair, “Red head, curly, cropped, green and short, blondy/brown”
Age, “250!20, 29, 32, 20, 26, 89″
Song on iPod, “a story about running, Michael Jackson, Heavy Metal”
Book, “Mr Putter and Tabby, Police officers notebook, Diary”

She is quite a character!

I am amazed by the diversity of ideas and how the project has stimulated creativity and imagination. The City Rings project has taken us all on a journey of wonder, through the architecture of sound. We are building new landscapes and reconnecting to our physical environment through digital recordings and compositions- another example of the power of digital arts in redefining how we ‘see’ and experience the world around us.


Connecting through sound!

We had an enjoyable session today imagining some of the sounds from Athens and Gent and then creating our first compositions.
Using the storyboard technique from yesterday we began by listening to a few sounds and drawing a line drawing without taking our pencil off the paper. We found comparing these with the sound waves very insightful. The blikje from Gent was- upside down, a bee flying, a movie, an Airplane. With the next sound our imagination were opened further we had a castle in sand, bubble gum, a clock, the snap of a finger, a hand shake, two kids playing a hand game, rain, a monastery. WOW! All from one sound, can you guess which. Thanks to both schools for providing us with some great story settings! Following this we looked at sound and composition shape comparing sound waves and looking at the layers of a composition. We are lucky to have access to iPads in class so we used GarageBand to compose in.
The end of the day we had a mini hackathon, part of which used a Makey Makey which aloud use to play sounds from Playdough, fruit and even each other which haas pretty exciting.
We hope you recognise some of your sounds in our compositions.


Our first composition!

Hello Ghent, Hello Etoy!

We started our second session by listening to your bells. How different is Etoy´s bell from ours!! It reminded us of the sound announcements in the Metro. “Next station…. Keramikos!”

Then, we tried to guess the source of your sounds. Sometimes it was too hard to guess! We recognized very easily the sound of coins but it was impossible to guess the squeaking sound of the adhesive tape! Could it be a spaceship taking off? Luckily, Muhammad had some tape with him and, when he pulled the edge, we realized it was alike to what you sent us.

After that, we opened some files in Audacity. We were very curious to find out what happens if more than one sound are played simultaneously. We learned the basic functions: how to move, cut, copy, paste, change the volume, fade in and out and more!


Joana, Flori and Leonardo have chosen one sound each and formed a group in order to make a composition together. The rest of the class were watching their moves and commenting. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to create more compositions and we can’t wait for the next steps of the project to really get into editing! Listen to our first sound:

We are curious to listen to your compositions next time and check if we recognize any of our sounds in them!


Young composers crossing sonic borders.


Hello there,

Today we checked out the mySounds from the kids in Athens and Etoy. We had a lot of fun guessing, wondering and trying to figure out how their mySounds were made. But then we decided that telling a story about the sounds we listen to was much more interesting then cracking our brains on possible sound sources.

klas soundscape 4

So the sticky sound of a piece of tape became a plane crashing down, the scraping sound of a pencil sharp became an old truck trying to get it’s engine started and the soft sliding sound of a curtain reminded us of sad feelings and the silence of a funeral. But then the loud and high pitch sound of a flap which slowed down to the end in a more rumbling and rolling sound, made us think of a crazy ride in a roller coaster!

klas soundscape 3

In some of the recordings we also discovered voices and little percussive instruments. We experienced that listening to those sounds is different in a way, because you recognize the sound source more easily and then the magic is kind of broken. Still some of these where pretty cool recordings, so maybe you can discover them in the soundscapes that we made with the mySounds from Athens and Etoy!

klas soundscape 1

klas soundscape 5

klas soundscape 2


Sound Art Installation features at Gems World Academy-Etoy, Switzerland

An exploration of sound from field recordings to collaborative compositions, the City Rings project led to students designing a sound art installation. A symphony of sound- developed as an interactive performance where participants were encouraged to explore the sonic qualities of sound objects introduced into the performance.
Here’s a recording of the performance:

In a darkened room, beginning in silence the performance began with the roll of a single marble. Marbles continued to roll and connect as the space was gradually filled with remixed compositions, played through iPads located against walls throughout the space.
The zen like quality of sounds created an ambience of peace signifying the need for space and balance in our increasingly digital world whilst at the same time being dependent on it.

Capture a feel of the installation in this montage of the the recent arts festival:


Soundscaping your sounds

We started the second session of our participation in The City Rings by looking at Saint Guinoux’s school post in the blog.


In the pictures, our class seemed to see many toys among the objects the pupils brought, were they right? We listened to the mysounds and talked about them for quite a while. We talked about their possible origin and properties, and attempted to describe them. Many of the sounds seemed to us percussive, startling, quiet… we imagined movies in which the sounds could be used. Most of the scenes that came to our mind were the “tense” type… just before something happens! We also heard horses and snakes, and imagined a western movie.


After commenting on the sounds we used a projector and speakers to do a group composition with Audacity. We went over the different tools available to us on Audacity. Select, move, envelopes, cut and pasting, track level, panning, etc. And used several of Saint Guinoux’s sounds to do a small composition based on our reflections on the sounds we commented before.
Please take a listen and tell us what you think.


After finishing the composition we spent some time to understand how the recorders work. Setting the recorded in pre-record mode, adjusting input level and mic gain, how to place the recorder in relation to the sound we want to capture, recording, stopping, listening, etc.
Everybody took the recorders home and we will be able to upload the sounds on tuesday. We will also listen to your soundscapes and “snaps” that day. Looking forward to it!
Oh! We are sorry about the lack of pictures of today’s post! Hopefully we will be able to add them very soon.
Thank you for your work!