Spring2015 Writing with Sound Course

Writing with Sound – RHE 330C

Casey Boyle 

Description

This course will examine recording, editing, and distribution of sound as a form of writing. In a contemporary world where writing is mostly digital, we often overlook the presence of sound—music that accompanies video, voice published as podcasts, noise remixed into an ambient art form or as background for daily life. In order to understand the rhetorical effects of sound compositions, this course will read and discuss important works in the field of sound studies and offer an introduction to using open source digital audio editing tools for writing with sound.

Course Outcomes

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify various sound genres and their rhetorical effects.
  • Understand the technical and practical affordances for producing sound.
  • Compose effective digital podcasts and audio essays.

Note: This course will be organized as a project-based workshop (especially in the second half of the semester). In addition to readings and discussions, several of our class meetings will be opportunities for hands-on practice with digital audio tools that will involve your classmates and the instructor. Please be advised that such work demands regular attendance and requires active participation.

Texts and Materials Required:

  • Additional essays, articles, and podcasts will be provided on the course site.

Suggested:

Assignments

Reading Responses (20%)

Written responses to required readings (300-500 words). Responses will be opportunities to critically and creatively engage course readings and case studies as well as provide the starting point for much our class discussion.

Podcast Analysis (20%)

After identifying/subscribing to a podcast, students will script and compose a 3-5 minute analysis of the podcast series that examines the themes, genres, online distribution, and technical dimensions to the serial program.

Podcast Series (60%)

This final assignment will include a short proposal, three podcast episodes of 3-5 minutes, and a brief prospectus that outlines a digital distribution plan. Of your three podcasts, one will include an interview, one will include a sonic remix or remediation, and one will include a site recording.

 COURSE SCHEDULE

 

Wave2

Text Abbreviations:

  • Sound Studies Reader [SSR]
  • Book of Audacity [BoA]
  • The Acoustic City [TAC]

Note: All readings should be read BEFORE the date listed.

 

Week One: Intro to Sound Studies

T Jan 20 – Introductions and Expectations

In Class:

  • Syllabus Overview
  • List of places to check out Podcasts
  • 99% Invisible “Episode 1: Noise
  • Audacity Hack: Respond verbally to 99% Invisible Episode 1 in under 30 seconds via Audacity—record, export, edit, save.
  • Audacity Setup Discussion

R Jan 22 – Intro to Sound Studies

Required Reading:

Suggested Reading:

  • Mitchell, “There Are No Visual Media” [PDF]

In-Class:

  • This American Life, “Mapping

 

Week Two

T Jan 27 – Listening I

Required Reading/Listening:

  • Barthes, “Listening” [PDF]
  • Steve Goodman, “The Ontology of Vibrational Force” [SSR]
  • RE : SOUND “The Hearing Show

Suggested Reading:

  • Idhe, “The Auditory Dimension” [SSR]

In-Class:

R Jan 29 – Listening II

Required Reading:

  • Chion, “The Three Listening Modes” [SSR]
  • Berland, “Contradicting Media” [SSR]

In-Class:

  • “The Distortion of Sound”

 

Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More. (VIDEO DOCUMENTATION) from Konrad Smolenski on Vimeo.

 

Week Three

T Feb 3 – Soundscapes

Required Reading:

  • Schaffer, “The Soundscape” [SSR]
  • Leppert “Reading the Sonoric Landscape” [SSR]

In-Class:

R Feb 5 – Sound Art

Required Reading:

  • LaBelle, “Auditory Relations” [SSR]
  • Eshun, “Operating System for the Redesign of Sonic Reality” [SSR]
  • of The Execution of Sun Ra, by Thomas Stanley

In-Class:

  • Thomas Stanley, “Mind over Matter, Music over Mind”

  • DUE: Proposal for Podcast Analysis

 

Week Four: (Re)Shaping Sound

T Feb 10 – Genre Analysis

Required Reading:

In-Class:

  • *Podcast Analysis Assignment*

R Feb 12 – Intro to Audacity

Required Reading:

  • 1 “Audacity from Start to Finish” [BoA]

In Class:

  • Roman Mars, “You are Listening to + Radio Net”

  • Letter of Recommendation Remake

 

Week Five

T Feb 17 – Radio and Audacity

Required Reading:

In Class:

R Feb 19 – Shaping Sound

Required Reading:

  • 2 “Building a Good Digital Sound Studio on Cheap” [BoA]
  • Appendix “Audio Hardware” [BoA]

In-Class:

 

Week Six

T Feb 24 – Recording Techniques

In-Class:

R Feb 26 – Editing Workshop

In-Class:

  • Editing Workshop
  • DUE: Podcast Analysis

 

Week Seven: Writing with Sound

T Mar 3 – Audience

Required Reading:

  • Fanon, “This is the Voice of Algeria” [SSR]
  • Hilmes, “Radio and the Imagined Community” [SSR]
  • Smith, “Laughing Machines” [SSR]

In-Class:

R Mar 5 – Interviewing

Required Reading:

  • “Radio: An Illustrated Guide” [PDF]

In Class:

  • Interviewing Exercise
  • Hawk and Smith, “Digimortal
  • DUE: Podcast Proposal

 

Week Eight

T Mar 10 – Editing Workshop

Required Reading:

  • 7 “Creating Podcasts” [BoA]

In-Class:

  • Editing Workshop

R Mar 12 – Editing Workshop

In-Class:

  • Editing Workshop
  • DUE: Podcast 1 – Interview

 

March 16 -20 – Spring Break – No Classes

 

Week Nine

T Mar 24 – Remix I

Required Reading:

  • Mowitt, “The Sound of Music in the Era of Its Electronic Reproducability” [SSR]
  • Lastra, “Fidelity v. Intelligibility” [SSR]

In-Class:

 

R Mar 26 – Remix II

Required Reading:

  • Atalli, “The Politics of Noise” [SSR]

In-Class:

  • RIP: A Remix Manifesto

  • “Noise”

 

Week Ten

T Mar 31 – Editing Workshop

Required Reading:

  • 9 “Multitrack Recording” [BoA]

In-Class:

  • Editing Workshop

R Apr 2 – Editing Workshop

In-Class:

  • Editing Workshop
  • DUE: Podcast 2 – Sonic Remediation/Remix

 

Week Eleven 

T Apr 7 – Sound and Space

Required Reading:

  • Bijsterveld, “Listening to Machines” [SSR]
  • Blesser-Salter, “Ancient Acoustic Spaces” [SSR]
  • Gandy, “Acoustic Terrains: An Introduction”

Suggested Reading:

  • Rath, “No Corner for the Devil to Hide” [SSR]
  • Picker, “The Soundproof Study” [SSR]

In-Class:

R Apr 9 – Acoustic City

Required Reading:

  • Jones, “Sonic Ecology”
  • Albrechtslund, “Eavesdroppin”
  • Ouzounian, “Acoustic Mapping”
  • Royaards, “The Space Between”

Suggested Reading:

  • Flitner “Machines over the Garden”
  • Kusiak, “Acoustic Gentrification”

In-Class:

 

Week Twelve

T Apr 14 – Editing Workshop

Required Reading:

  • 4 “Creating and Editing Live Tracks” [BoA]

In Class:

  • Editing Workshop

R Apr 16 – Editing Workshop

In Class:

  • Editing Workshop
  • DUE: Podcast 3 – Site Recording

 

Week Thirteen

T Apr 21 – Sharing Sound I

Required Reading:

  • 8 “Becoming an Online Star” [BoA]

In Class:

  • Analyses of Podcast Distribution

R Apr 23 – Sharing Sound II

In Class:

 

Week Fourteen

T Apr 28 – Class Showcase

In Class:

  • Presentations

R Apr 30 – Class Showcase

In Class:

  • Presentations
  • DUE: Podcast Distribution Plan

 

Week Fifteen

May 5 – Cites & Memory Remix [In-Class]

May 8 – Cities & Memory Remix [In-Class]

 

 

Resources


These are some basic links related to the course and course content. More will be added as the semester progresses.

General Resources

Methods

Tools

Sites

Projects

Podcasts

Remix

Serial

Articles

 

Note: Archived Fall 2014 Writing with Sound course