Introduction to Guerilla Field Recording and Experimental Sound Composition

St. Andrew’s-Sewanee Winterim 2012 Class Description

February 20-24, 2012



“To convince ourselves of the amazing variety of noises, it is enough to think of the rumble of thunder, the whistle of the wind, the roar of a waterfall, the gurgling of a brook, the rustling of leaves, the clatter of a trotting horse as it draws into the distance, the lurching jolts of a cart on pavings, and of the generous, solemn, white breathing of a nocturnal city; of all the noises made by wild and domestic animals, and of all those that can be made by the mouth of man without resorting to speaking or singing.”

– Luigi Russolo, 1913

The class aims to expand our awareness of sound and its place in our world.  Beginning with listening exercises, we will explore basic field recording situations and techniques.

Examples from the work of artists such as John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Brian Eno and Negativland will provide context for our own experimental electronic sound compositions.

We will create a collaborative group digital sound composition using the SAS campus as our palette.  We will capture and collect sounds via hand-held digital recording devices, built-in computer microphones, cell phones, video cameras and/or any other resources available that will capture sound.  Based on class interests and time available, we will proceed with individual and/or collaborative work.

As a class, we will be working mainly in Ableton Live or Garageband, both of which are available at SAS.  Class members who are proficient in these or any other sound-editing software programs are encouraged to share their knowledge.  We will also investigate free and open-source software available on-line.

In our creation of sound collages, there will be a focus on use of resources at hand.  We will explore various ways of digitally processing and environmentally manipulating sound.  Students are encouraged to supply their own recording devices, headphones, laptop computers and software, although we will also share resources provided by SAS.