Sound Workshop

Work to have done: a complete-as-possible draft of your soundscape narratives

Plan for the day:

  1. Describe -> Evaluate -> Suggest: A Workshop Workflow (5 min)
  2. Evaluation reminder: our criteria (5 min)
  3. Peer Review Workshop (3 times 10-12 min)
  4. Evaluation revisited (10 min)
  5. HW Preview

1. Describe -> Evaluate -> Suggest: A Workshop Workflow (5 min)

Today is all about getting feedback for your projects. What does that metaphor mean? It’s a process by which the output is picked up again as input. You’ve brought in your output so far; now you’re going to learn by getting input from your audience.

To avoid some of the pitfalls of peer review, I’m going to insist that you provide this feedback in three steps:

  1. First, describe what you hear, without judging whether it's good or not. What is this project? What stands out? What seems to be the focus?
  2. Next, evaluate according to some shared criteria, in light of the focus you perceive in the project.
  3. Finally, suggest some revision possibility that you think might help take the project to the next level: assume a revision is on the way. Given the goals, the focus, the criteria, what might be next?

We’re going to be doing this all on index cards, which don’t give you a ton of space: try to focus your response on what seems most important to the piece. (I’ll ask you to photograph the cards for your records, then turn them in so I can get an overall sense of where we are as a group.)

2. Evaluation reminder: our criteria (5 min)

We set up a few shared goals and constraints to meet the baseline requirements. Let’s try to help everyone get at least to there!

  • Have something change from the beginning to the end of the piece
  • Play for 2-4 minutes
  • Have three layers (tracks) of sound overlapping at least once in the file
  • Contain at least 1 minute of original recordings by you or your classmates.
  • Contain at least one sound originally recorded by you.

We also have some stretch goals, or aspirations. In offering suggestions, these are some (but not the only) good targets to aim for!

  • Transitions occur at meaningful points in the narrative (e.g. the music’s volume and alignment occur together)
  • Incorporate ~mystery sound~
  • Use Audacity’s effects menu
  • Have more overlap (either in more places, or more tracks)

3. Peer Review Workshop (3 times 10-12 min)

Let’s do this!

Before you leave your seat, (1) load up your Audacity project, (2) plug in your headphones, and (3) label **three** index cards For: {yourname}.


Rotate clockwise around the monitor-islands. Label one index card From: {yourname}. Listen to the project fully at least once, then (1) Describe what you hear, (2) Evaluate where it meets or misses the criteria, (3) Suggest ways to meet and exceed the criteria!

I’ll keep track of time.

4. Evaluation revisited (10 min)

Head back to your seats and take a minute to read and photograph the notes you’ve received. (Make sure your photos are legible; I’ll be collecting the cards at the end of class.)

Based on your listening, would anyone like to propose new criteria, whether baseline or aspirational?

Homework for Next Time

  • Next class will be a sound-writers’ studio: bring headphones and whatever else you need to work towards finalizing your soundscape narrative.
    • The final draft is due at the end of the day on Sunday, and a reflection by class-time on Tuesday; see the soundscape prompt for further details.
  • Even as we zoom in toward the unit finale, I want to keep one eye open toward the bigger picture. Write a short blog post thinking about possible group projects you’d like to try for the end of term.
    • What games or branching narratives come to mind as you listen to the class’s soundscapes?
    • Or what further possibilities of sound might you want to explore in connection with other people, and other media?
    • You can post this to the Issue Queue; there is no minimum length requirement.


If time remains, go ahead and get started on those revisions!