Here we are editing the recordings we made at school, at home and around our neighborhood and turning them into compositions!
We hope you like our sonic postcards!
Greetings from Barceloneta!
These are busy sonic days in the Barceloneta neighborhood!
Last Wednesday we started our session by listening to the composition you made with our sounds: it sounded awesome … and a bit scary!
We all agreed that we really liked the way you composed our sounds. Many felt as if they were listening to the soundrack of a scary movie!
So we imagined the story: a dark scenario, danger getting closer… and a wicked witch! We could hear the frightening steps of the witch chasing a child in the middle of a forest and then a mysterious rain of stones …
On thursday we got acquainted with the recorders and went out to practice with the sounds of our neighborhood, la Barceloneta. We started by walking, listening and recording sonic snaps through Andrea Doria Street, which connects our school to the marketplace.
It is a very nice and lively neigborhood, so we found lots and lots of sounds! Steps, works in progress, cars, pets, birds, sounds from the shops and then the wind and the greater sonic space of the market square. We felt like recording everything!
Some of us went inside the market and others went through the narrow lanes of the barrio in order to catch more snaps and practice recording technique.
After school we took the recorders home and kept recording all through the weekend, adding to our neighborhood repertoire some sounds of our daily life. We recorded fridges, books, a cashier and many more soundsnaps. Do you like them?
We are still collecting more to be ready for the postcards!!!
“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.
It is always nice to see the kind of beloved objects that participants of TCR bring to the first session. They do not know we are going to use them as sound instruments!
And so, today all their little boxes covered by pictures and full of secrets, teddy bears, binoculars, books and glasses… were subjected to curious sonic exploration.
We started by collectively attempting to come up with possible ways of obtaining sounds from a single object. Then moved to individual exploration. An attempt was made to avoid hitting and scratching as too obvious or easy.
Paying attention to irregular surfaces, materials and moving parts proved to be a good way of obtaining sound. We wrote down how to produce this sounds.
During the recording we exercised collective silence and listening… using the pauses between a recording and the next, to cough and move around a bit before … hush!… and again… until all sounds where ready. Please enjoy them below, and do not forget to visit our Freesound page for the rest of them :)
p.s. apologies for the phone-quality pictures, we promise not to forget our camera again , ouch! ;(
Today we finished the Postcard. We had started yesterday, as we dedicate two sessions to this exercise. The first session we asked the participants to listen to their sounds, do a selection, rename them and clean them of any talking or other unwanted sound. The second session has been more focused on the composition of the postcard itself.
They started the composition based on one or two keywords that define how they experience their daily environments. This is one of The City Rings suggested methodology, and we adopted it. Once they have those words, they are to represent them, using the sounds (sonic snaps ) recorded at home and school the previous days. And so, the final composition (the postcard) is a sonic representation of their subjective daily experience.
For their compositions, the participants used, along their intuition, some of the tools and strategies we suggested during the Soundscapes session: multilayering, the envelope tool, track gain, intensity curves, repetition, silence, etc.
Technically, they did not have any problem handling Audacity, except for some of its limitations, as the difficulty to split a sound in two or more separated fragments, and keep then on the same track. Also the limited screen size of the tiny laptops, makes it difficult to see quickly all the tracks in use , instead of having to scroll up and down for it.
In any case the dedication of the class to their compositions surprised us! they even missed voluntarily some time of their morning pause in order to be able to finish it the way they wanted. We really appreciated that!
Please , listen below to some of their compositions, and do not forget to visit our pack at Freesound for the rest of them
Thanks for reading!
Look at them, with their recorders and headphones, running around, asking people to perform actions so they can record them. They are like us, but smaller! ;P
So we dedicated a full session for participants to learn how the recorders work and practice their new acquired knowledge around the school. This was a preparation for the task of taking the recorders home, and go on recording sounds from their daily life.
And they have collected quite some interesting sounds indeed. Below you can hear a few of them, and don’t forget to visit our Freesound SonicSnaps pack for the rest of them: http://www.freesound.org/people/thecityrings/packs/10902/
Oh! we did not remove , from the sounds, the voices of the participants when they announce what they are going to record. Of course we will not use those voices during the Sonic Postcard composition, but we found it could be interesting for you to hear some tiny Spanish and Catalan voices at work.
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!
And so we started January’s 2013 edition of TCR :)
First of all I want to say this school, Can Cladellas, is at our hometown! both Laura and I, Jaume grew up in this town called Palau Solità i Plegamans. This makes the whole situation a bit more special for us.
And we started by presenting the project to the participants, in particular the pictures and bell-sounds of the other schools. The bell sound is always a very interesting way to perceive differences and similarities between schools, their locations, history and way of doing.
Since we did not have a lot of time we went straight into checking our objects -beloved objects that the participants were asked to bring from home- and here you can see an example of the variety, a horse named “xocolata” (catalan for chocolate) and a fork that was engraved with the name of its owner, right when she was born.
We started the sonic exploration of our objects collectively as an attempt to help each other go further the hit/scratch basic sounds that we usually come up when we confront the sonic exploration of an object for the first time.
Then we moved to individual exploration of the object, where each participant was asked to come up with at least 5 or 6 sounds (our strategy to, again, attempt for them to avoice hit/scratch sounds… this works sometimes ). And then we went onto recording the sounds one by one.
Listen to some of them below and to the rest visiting our January 2013 Mysounds pack at Freesound, also below. Thanks for stopping by!
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!