Assignment #2 (Audiography)

Due: Sunday, February 10, 2013 by 11:59pm

What sounds are around you on a routine basis and how do you listen (or not listen) to them?

Step One: Compose a playlist of ten sounds that you hear in your daily life. What sounds do you hear regularly as you go about your day? Make a list of these sounds, and then organize them thematically (i.e. “Mornings at UHeights North” or “Sounds that Remind Me of Home”). Try to also identify an overarching theme that connects all of the sounds on your playlist.

Step Two: Record all of the sounds on your playlist. As you record, keep in mind where you are recording. Is the room noisy? Are you recording in such a way that accurately depicts an everyday situation for you? Or are you altering the situation for the purposes of recording? If possible, record your audio with headphones on so you can hear what you are recording. Try to limit your recordings to 60 seconds per sound; you may include longer selections if necessary for your audiography though this must be justified in your rationale. Do not edit the sounds in any way, other than for duration (in other words, do not add a voice over narration, add effects to your recordings, or mix sounds together). You may however cut seconds from your recording.

PLEASE NOTE: all sounds should fall within the realm of fair use, with permission. For example, if you are recording someone’s voice, then first ask permission to record them. You should also be sure to remove identifying information for any individuals that you record; do not include their name but use a pseudonym or even just their initials. If you wish to include a sound that falls under a copyright (such as a musical recording, a TV show, etc.) then you may only record 30 seconds of the work provided that you have obtained access to it legally. DO NOT INCLUDE CLIPS OR RECORDINGS OF ANY COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL THAT YOU HAVE OBTAINED ILLEGALLY!!  If the work is available online then you can also include a link to the source so that a longer segment of the recording may be heard.

Step Three: Write a narrative rationale of 500-700 words that accounts for the sounds you have chosen. Your rationale should include the following elements:

  • Explain why you have chosen these particular sounds and how these sounds fit into the themes you have identified. The title of your blog entry should reflect the theme of your audiography. When listening to your audiography, your audience should be able to follow your implicit theme throughout your ten recordings. Be sure to explain the meaning of that theme, and how the sub-themes and individual sounds are connected to it.
  • Discuss the modes of hearing and listening that are involved in how you perceive these sounds and how they influence your everyday life and contribute to your acquisition of and production of knowledge. For example, do you tend to use one or more of the three listening modes discussed by Chion when you listen to a particular sound? Or do you instead “hear” the sound without invoking the attention that Horowitz suggests is required in order to listen? How did the process of creating the playlist force you to listen to sounds that you usually hear? Are any of the sounds subject to the social and cultural norms of open and closed ears as identified by Schafer? How do the modes of listening you employ in your everyday life shape the cultural meaning of sound in the ways described by Bijsterveld?
  • Your audiography is an experiment in sound, style, and genre. It should be creative and aware of its audience but not assume a familiarity with everyday life at UVM or of our course readings. You should be sure to develop a clear stance on the material and use evidence from the texts we have engaged thus far in class to support your ideas. Page numbers and other references to the texts must be included as necessary. Be sure to list all sources cited in your narrative at the end of your text. In addition, your post should be well-written, concise, and free of typos, spelling and grammatical errors.

In summary, your blog post should include the following elements:

  1. A title that reflects the theme of your audiography.
  2. Recordings of ten sounds that form your audiography.
  3. A 500-700 word narrative that justifies your choice of sounds and their organization and also reflects on the modes of listening and hearing involved in how you perceive these sounds.
  4. A bibliography that lists all of the material cited in your narrative (this should include the text cited, as well as any sounds cited that are not your own creation. So, if you include a piece of recorded music in your playlist you should also cite it in your bibliography.)
  5. Don’t forget to add at least three tags to your post.