Tutorial: Block 2, Week 3

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This week, a hands-on session with Ed about audio.

As expected, in the cohort some people are new to audio, whilst others use it a lot. And for those who use it the tools use.

Ed introduced everybody to Audacity which we’re going to use today.

A little (sound) exercise

Ed prepared a sound recording that we’re going to work on. The sound of one of the doors at Camberwell slamming shut. We’re going to take the door slamming from the middle of the file, “trim” it, zero-cross adjust and then “top-and-tail” fades. We now have a nice isolated sound… which can be used elsewhere. We’re now going to add some rain to this sound, and after door slams, transition the sound from the exterior to interior.

Semitics of sound

So, why do this? It would simply be good if we could learn how to work with the entire spectrum of sound in terms of its meaning, but as soon as unconvincing juxtapositions or bad edits occur, they disrupt the flow and push us out of the narrative. Of course, narrative is not the only reason to work with audio, and we can apply processes and effects to subvert or destroy any meaning, or simply for aesthetic purposes.

We can become fluent in dealing with the semitics of sound just as we can with symbolic images or physical materials.

The following diagram, by Walter Murch shows how sound is perceived.

Murch Diagram
Walter Murch

The theory goes that if we combine audio clips with different positions on the graph we can create balanced mixes

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