Spring Week 6: Sound Workshop

I have a profound interest in sound. I love music and have a keen desire to learn about the process of making it. I’m learning to play guitar and aspire to record my own music soon. It’s all very well writing a good song but to raise it to its full potential requires the right equipment, editing, and knowing where/how/what to record.

The workshop was not what I expected; it was extremely performative. We were introduced to a few sound artists including Pauline Oliveros, and we listened to her work with ‘Deep Listening Band.’ I found this mesmerising and entrancing. It reminded me of the intro to Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” one of my favourite songs. It inspired me to research more sound art and experiment with it. I’d already made some music for my ‘Cast-iron’ video, so I had some experience in making sound.

I think sound art is often overlooked; we had never really explored it thus far in the course. This workshop changed this. The first activity was to learn and perform a Georgian chant, which goes like this:

Ee ave na na

Va to ne vo

Va do ba to

Ne vo

We were split into two groups of four – my group sang the chant in it’s bass tones, and the other group sang the melody. Even though none of us were experienced singers, when we sang the song together we harmonised well, and it sounded hauntingly good. This gave me more confidence in my singing voice, which I might explore in my practice. For the next exercise, we paired up, held hands, and one of us closed our eyes while the other lead us around the room. We were told to softly sing to each other and respond to the noises each other were making. The exercise was about listening, because in sound production listening is just as important as making the sounds.

We were then introduced to some of the sound recording equipment that the art department has, including various types of microphone. I experimented with some of the equipment by playing my guitar, and seeing how each microphone affected the sound.

The workshop really enlightened me on sound art and really inspired me. It made me wonder why I haven’t made much sound art yet and made me certain that I’d make sound art in the future.

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