IDM Unit IVa: Sound

Project Audio Self-portrait

Studio Fundamental: To demonstrate knowledge of sound recording and editing.

Concept: To find audio equivalents for your personal identity

Project Overview

Artists work in a variety of forms, paintings, sculpture, performance, video and so on. While most of our work in studio art concentrates on visual elements, sound art is more about experience, using noises and sounds, as a painter would use a brush, to create an artistically rich experience. For this assignment you will compose an experimental composition that serves as a self-portrait. Your composition will be created by recording sounds and then arranging them using multi-track editing software.

Students must compose a score at least 30 seconds in length. The composition must consist of at least two tracks recorded by the student. Sound samples MAY be used, but again, you are responsible for legality (that means a bit of research).

References for further study

-- an excellent place to start digging for examples of sound art
-- More sound art!
-- sound artist Janet Cardiff's site, with sound clips! Her audio tours are famous.
-- Great video with a tune using some 37 spoken word samples


tracks, decibels, tone, pitch, levels, transitions, fade, noise, hiss, pop, WAV, MP3, MIDI,

Materials sound editing software such as Audacity, microphone and headphones, any samples you wish to incorporate

1. Think about how you might depict yourself through sound. Will you offer a glimpse into your mental thought processes? Will you share a soundscape of a beloved location? Will you create a narrative to illustrate an important event?

2. Gather other audio materials. You may use sound effects from libraries, but make sure you observe copyright laws and be careful. MP3s or iTunes files are often encrypted, so don't expect to be able to use them.

3. Using a microphone, record yourself and your sound effects. Incorporate any other audio clips you'd like. Watch your levels, make sure your sounds are loud enough but not too loud.

4. In your editing software, assemble individual recordings into at least four layers of sound.

5. When finished, EXPORT AS A WAV OR MP3. Do not merely save as the proprietary filetype (such as .AUP)

Photoshop Contest Exemplary Solid Passing Poor Failing
TECHNICAL: Did you composite at least four recorded sounds? Is the composition at least 30 seconds long? Are there any obvious technical flaws? 15 12 9 6 3
AESTHETIC: Is there good pacing? Do you use proper buildups and cool-downs? Are there different layers of varying volume and intensity? Do you create a mood? 15 12 9 6 3
CONCEPTUAL: Did you pick specific sounds with meaning? Is there thought to what the sounds mean? Are they obvious symbols? What is revealed to the listener about yourself? Inner monologues don't count toward this. 20 16 12 8 4

Total points possible: 50

developed by Arius Elvikis copyright 2007

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