(must625) assignment 1: soundwalk

Due Friday, May 15.

The Handbook for Acoustic Ecology defines a soundwalk as follows:

A form of active participation in the soundscape. Though the variations are many, the essential purpose of the soundwalk is to encourage the participant to listen discriminatively, and moreover, to make critical judgements about the sounds heard and their contribution to the balance or imbalance or imbalance of the sonic environment. (Truax, 1999)

A soundwalk, therefore, is a walk that is led by the ears instead of the eyes.

Your assignment is to freely explore a given geographic space while recording with a handheld recorder and listening through headphones/earbuds. Your walk should take you around campus, a neighborhood, or a business district. The total time of your recording should be 10 minutes. You will most likely record a little bit extra — around 12-15 minutes — and then reduce the total time through editing the original recording.

Ideally, you should include three to four scenes from different places. For each scene, you should continue to move while recording. Consider a strategy of adjusting your walk according the interest of what you hear during the recording. As you hear interesting things you can adjust your walk to move towards interest, or away. Each recording will occupy one file on the recorder.

When you have finished your field recording, you will transfer all your files to a computer and assemble them into a single stereo audio file. Use fadeouts and fadeins between scenes. You can use any stereo audio editor to assemble your final file, but your finished file should be saved in either .wav or .aif format.

Recording and editing should be done either at 44.1 or 48 kHz sampling rate, 16 bit or 24 bit resolution.

You must also write a one page reflection (400 words) on your recording, which should include a description of what you found interesting in your scenes, and what sounds and/or decisions guided your walk.

turn-in procedure

  • Save your completed audio file with the name lastname_soundwalk (.aif or .wav)
  • Save your reflection paper as lastname_soundwalkreflection.docx
  • Put both files into a folder named lastname_assignment1
  • Compress/zip the folder, upload to a filesharing site like Dropbox, and email me the link to download.