Liam had told us yesterday that we would be having a cool session with Phil and Sam today about the sound recording equipment on offer at the uni, and how best to use it. It turned out to be the induction lesson that I took with Emmaalouise about 4 months ago, so for the first hour or so I was quite bored. Luckily, Phil brought a few more microphones that I hadn’t seen before, like the contact mic which picks up sounds through physical vibrations.

It gave me an idea to try and record my own heartbeat and build layers over that to create a musical piece from everyday sounds. I’m not sure that particular mic will be good enough for that, but I’m sure I can find something that would work.

After a while of getting to grips with the recorders and boom poles, we all went out for half an hour to grab some sounds. I had a recorder to myself, which was nice. We all ended up going outside to the same area around the back of Francis House, so my recordings are filled with the sounds of the other groups banging things.


I got a selection of sounds from around the building, including footsteps on concrete, footsteps going up a steel fire escape, footsteps on stones/gravel, cars driving past, the beeping of a pedestrian crossing, bin lids closing, the breeze through a tree, and wood chips splitting, as well as a few other things.

It was interesting to sit by the road for  few minutes with my eyes closed and really concentrate on the sounds of the city. Your ears and brain naturally filter out so much noise without you even realising, that if you really focus you can pick out so many layers and sounds.

My recordings have been saved on the uni hard drives and I’ll be using them next week when experimenting with Audition.

I’ve an idea for this where I might build a visual cityscape using still images (or minimal moving images) and then gradually strip away layers of sound until left with nothing but silence. That might be cool. It’s a good way to make people aware of just how much sound they are face with every day, which I think a lot of people overlook.


Body music:

This is just a little example of how to make music without using any recognisable instruments. I’m currently thinking about recording my heartbeat, along with a few other things like scratching, coughing, walking etc, and looping them in such a way to create a rhythm.

Music made with objects:

Following on from the above, this person has taken everyday objects to loop them into an orchestra, basically, so my idea would be like a combination of these two practices.

Sound FX library – adding to image in post:

The above talk is about adding sounds in post production, focusing on foley work, but I think this is probably how my city soundscape would be made. It’s one of many interesting talks on the subject.