We began the sound project looking at composers such as Walter Murch and Pierre Henry who are composers of sound. These were composers who took and recorded sounds around them and composed them into new compositions that could be used as soundscapes for film. This was my first introduction into what I could potentially compose.
I further read, into the composition of sounds is reflected in my previous blog- ” Sounds are just Actors”. Here I wanted to know what sounds meant to composers, how they used the sounds and where else were sounds being used. I looked at composers such as Cage, Schaeffer,Theremin & the Barrons.
How were these composers being influenced by social, political & technology change? How was the conduct of this being performed within their musical compositions? What I found is that many of the sounds such as theremins and Barron’s were being used in a period of the cold war, scientific developments and even spying. So like film, sound also had a linear feel with war and political gain, as well as creative.
What became apparent was how composers applied themselves to capturing and altering sounds. These are individuals who sensory’s are heightened to essentially, noise vibrations and are more submerged in this particular sensory. Myself I would say I am more visual, however I can appreciate that actually, if we are quite for a while and listen, we too can get lost in the sounds. We have to retrain ourselves.
I used this quote in previous blog, and actually I can appreciate it more since editing my soundscape, in what cage meant. I have now merely directed the sounds further, by altering and stretching them. I then began to plot them within a soundscape and the sounds do a performance.
I found myself doing two objective sound capturing sessions. The first was in my grandparents house, which had people around, talking other noises going on. When I listened to the clips, they were so layered, messy and noisy. I managed to salvage some of the clips, which have been used in the sound scape, such as the dogs drinking water, which is being played at around 1:30 into the piece. The second recording I went and explored some rooms, in the building where I work.
Some of the sounds you can hear, like metal being hit with metal, at around 30 secs into the sound scape, was done using the back of an amp and a screwdriver. I hope it doesn’t sound like a musical scale, but more a mechanical tone of metal. That jumps in and out to wake you up and think something may just happen here.
When I began to edit this, it started off a musical piece, which was not appropriate to the brief, I really struggled to begin the composition with the recordings that I had. This is why I went and did a second recording. I found researching further meant that I had a better understanding of where the soundscape needed to head to. My second attempt at the soundscape was more “sound” based. However I even found myself creating beats, for example, the beeps one third in were repeated at regular points. So I decided to change the timing and the fade in and fade out.
I think If I was to take this soundscape further or do a whole new project I would focus on digital sounds within my environment. People using digital objects, such as cameras, keyboards, smart devices etc, rather than all physical tangible output. I hope that when people listen to it, that can hear there being some narrative to the soundscape. It builds up, it then becomes silent and a new sounds begin to develop, then a familiar sound returns before the end.
This whole process has made me really appreciate sounds more, and what it takes to really go back to listening. In some respects I feel that maybe my own musical skills and taste took over at the beginning. However because I haven’t made a soundscape for many years, especially one where it is just based on noise, I found once I got into the fluidity of making it, it then became an easier process. Overall I am fairly happy with this, I would like to tidy it up further and maybe do a digital soundscape.
A Place For The Soundtracks (2011) Louis & Bebe Barron – forbidden planet: Main titles overture. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj6lUC6K4VQ (Accessed: 20 November 2015).
BBC (2013) Sound of cinema: Return of the monster from the Id, between the ears – BBC radio 3. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03bfdkj (Accessed: 20 November 2015).
Bebe Barron: Co-composer of the first electronic film score, for ‘forbidden planet’ (2011) Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/bebe-barron-co-composer-of-the-first-electronic-film-score-for-forbidden-planet-822755.html (Accessed: 26 November 2015).
RESEARCH CATEGORIES (no date) Available at: http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Leon_Theremin.aspx (Accessed: 20 November 2015).
Service, T. (2014) A guide to John Cage’s music. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2012/aug/13/john-cage-contemporary-music-guide (Accessed: 26 November 2015).
Times, L. A. (2012) John Cage’s genius an L.A. Story. Available at: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-john-cage-htmlstory.html (Accessed: 20 November 2015).
jdavidm (2007) John Cage about silence. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcHnL7aS64Y (Accessed: 26 November 2015).
slonikyouth (2008) Leon Theremin playing his own instrument. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5qf9O6c20o (Accessed: 20 November 2015).