Thursday, 13 January 2011

Bill Fontana -

Bill Fontana (born in Cleveland, Ohio) is known internationally for his pioneering experiments in sound art.
Fontana’s sound sculptures use the urban environment as a living source of musical information, all with the potential to conjure up visual imagery in the mind of the listener. (WIKI)

Christina Kubisch -

hristina Kubisch belongs to the first generation of sound artists. Trained as a composer, she has artistically developed such techniques as magnetic induction to realize her installations. Since 1986 she has added light as an artistic element to her work with sound.

Christina Kubisch's work displays an artistic development which is often described as the "synthesis of arts" - the discovery of acoustic space and the dimension of time in the visual arts on the one hand, and a redefinition of relationships between material and form on the other. (

Friday, 7 January 2011

Francisco López - Contemptorary Sound Artist

Francisco López is one of the major figures of the sound art and experimental music scene. He has developed an astonishing sonic universe, absolutely personal and iconoclastic, based on a profound listening of the world. Destroying boundaries between industrial sounds and wilderness sound environments, shifting with passion from the limits of perception to the most dreadful abyss of sonic power, proposing a blind, profound and transcendental listening, freed from the imperatives of knowledge and open to sensory and spiritual expansion.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Audio Culture

Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music.

Sonic Art

The Fundamentals of Sonic Art and Sound Design, Tony Gibbs

The Fundamentals of Sonic Arts & Sound Design considers new approaches to sound recording, performance, installation works and exhibitions and visits the worlds of the sonic artist and the sound designer.

Hole In The Ground, Jem Finer

Artists engage with sonic art with techniques ranging from electroacoustic music, to radio, instrument hacking, kinetic sound sculptures and found footage collages.

Urban and domestic incidents "a cup of tea", Brown Sierra
exhibit using 180 speakers in Gallery/flat Wellington buildings 9th Sept-19 Sept 1999

history of sonic arts: our ancestors who gathered in the caves not just admire paintings. Apparently the paintings were found in locations where the acoustics have unusual qualities which have led some scientists to claim that the places might have been venues for early forms of multimedia events.

The first notated piece of music was found in Syria and dates back to 1400 BCE

pioneers of sound design: Edgard Varese, Steve Reich and John Cage.

Varèse's music features an emphasis on timbre and rhythm. He was the inventor of the term "organized sound", a phrase meaning that certain timbres and rhythms can be grouped together, sublimating into a whole new definition of music. Although his complete surviving works only last about three hours, he has been recognised as an influence by several major composers of the late 20th century. His use of new instruments and electronic resources led to his being known as the "Father of Electronic Music" while Henry Miller described him as "The stratospheric Colossus of Sound".

Edgard Varese - Ionisation

Steve Reich - Different Trains (Part I)

Luigi Russolo was perhaps the first noise artist
Italian futurist Luigi Russolo and in particular his 1913 treatise The Art of Noises that puts forward an idea revolutionary for the time: there should be no barriers between sounds that have musical or instrumental origins and those who come from the street, the industry or even warfare. He tried to prove his point with his Intonarumori (or Noise Intoners) machines. Each of them produced a particular type of noise, there was the Ululator (the howler), the Crepitatori (the crackers), and the Stropicciatore (the rubber). On April 24, 1914, he conducted the first 'Gran Concerto Futuristica' with musicians playing those noise machines. The audience responded by throwing vegetables, booing, hooting and whistling.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Peter Cusack - Interactive Web map

Peter Cusack is an artist and musician who is a member of CRiSAP (Creative Research in Sound Art & Performance), and is a research staff member and founding member of the London College of Communication in the University of the Arts London. He was a founding member and director of the London Musicians’ Collective. (Wiki)

His website is an interesting interactive map that maps different sounds from a city - Currently London only

Saturday, 1 January 2011

chiara pacifici: odi
the simple conical forms, crafted entirely out of terracotta, act as a set of enlarged ears.
users lay on their backs with their heads in between the set of cones to listen for illuminations
of the noises surrounding them. using resonance, the device outputs sinusoidal waves of
diffused, oscillating sound into the listener's ears.

John Cage

John Cage, M: writings '67-'72

"M is, to be sure, the first letter of many words and names that have concerned me for many years( music, mushrooms, marcel duchamp, M.C.Richards, Morris Graves, Mark Tobey, Merce Cunningham, ...)"

"I love sounds, just as they are, I have no need for them to be anything more, than what they are, I dont want them to be psychological, I dont want the sound to pretend that is a bucket, or that is a president, or that is in love with another sound,...

John Cage about silence

George Brecht - Drip Music

Mimique. A Pierrot story. The Pierrot character associates silence with whiteness. The two most remarkable and typical features of the Pierrot are that it tells its story in silence and that his face is white (neutrality or utter coldness?). Throughout the history of the Pierrot story, silence and whiteness are inextricably linked.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Type Me A Symphony

Designer: Fabien Cappello

The musically challenged are never going to understand the need for inventing new ways to bring out the notes. For those who love creativity, discover this unique way to play music using the typewriter. A project by Fabien Cappello in collaboration with Yamaha, “Typing The Sound” transforms the act of typing text on a typewriter to musical notes. Punch in the keys and hear the music….

Typing Sound from Long Tran on Vimeo.

Our Sonic Environment and the SoundScape

MUSIC The soundscape--a term coined by the author--is our sonic environment, the ever-present array of noises with which we all live. Beginning with the primordial sounds of nature, we have experienced an ever-increasing complexity of our sonic surroundings. As civilization develops, new noises rise up around us: from the creaking wheel, the clang of the blacksmith's hammer, and the distant chugging of steam trains to the "sound imperialism" of airports, city streets, and factories. The author contends that we now suffer from an overabundance of acoustic information and a proportionate diminishing of our ability to hear the nuances and subtleties of sound. Our task, he maintains, is to listen, analyze, and make distinctions. As a society we have become more aware of the toxic wastes that can enter our bodies through the air we breathe and the water we drink. In fact, the pollution of our sonic environment is no less real. Schafer emphasizes the importance of discerning the sounds that enrich and feed us and using them to create healthier environments. To this end, he explains how to classify sounds, appreciating their beauty or ugliness, and provides exercises and "soundwalks" to help us become more discriminating and sensitive to the sounds around us. This book is a pioneering exploration of our acoustic environment, past and present, and an attempt to imagine what it might become in the future. A well-known Canadian composer, R. MURRAY SCHAFER is the author of several books, including The Music of the Environment.
R. Murray Schafer

Bird song:one of the most beautiful miracles in all litrature... Do birds sing or converse?
History of effective bird immitation in music extends from Clement janequin 1560 to Oliver Messiaen 1908

not exactly Messiaen

A photograph of birds perched on telephone wires has inspired a Brazilian musician to create a composition.

Jarbas Agnelli noticed that the wires resembled a stave and the birds looked like notes. Curious to hear the tune they were making, he simply notated their exact positions to create a score, which he then arranged for xylophone, bassoon, oboe and clarinet.

The result, unsurprisingly, sounds nothing like Messiaen's bird song-derived work.
Birds on the Wires - the finished work:

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

The Sounds of water creatures

many fish have no sound producing and no ears but many produce unique sounds
and some are very loud. some make sound by expelling gas or grinding their teeth or vibrating gas bladder. some make noise by gulping air bubbles
The song of Whales are popular nowadays and some recordings of humpback whales were produced in 1970s.

Sounds of frogs and toads.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


ivy noise is an ongoing series of interactive sounds installations by the italian artists daniela di maro and roberto pugliese.
black wires and speakers grow on white walls based on the growth patterns of ivy. some of the speakers play an audio soundscape, while other make sounds that are improvised on the spot based on human interaction. noise in the environment
is captured through microphones and small samples of this are altered and played back. the resulting synthesis of sound creates a soundscape that is both natural and artificial, a fact that is true of the physical installation as well.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Music of the Spheres

Music of the Spheres is a range of interactive kitchenware by Camilla Sundwall that aims to create a dining experience where you fully engage with your senses. These objects explore how music affects the body and mind. The inspiration came from objects used in spiritual practice that uses sound to create a specific state of mind. This is linked with recent studies in neuro-science and brought into a contemporary context through dining. This project examines the relationship between the inner and the outer worlds of the user, and how various intentions of using the objects have different effect on the brain.The Kitchenware Instruments collection involves Whistling Water Vessel, Singing Bowl and Ringing Glasses.

Experimenting with Ceramic bowls and Metal spoon
In this research I aimed to take house hold objects and capture their note. Using a chromatic tuner that is typically used for tuning instruments.
Experimenting with Ceramic bowls and Metal spoon

Thursday, 25 November 2010

How does the shape of a bell affect the sound (tone)

For the Sound Elective group work presentation, my current interest relates to the the shape and thickness of bells. Bells are known throughout the world as a spiritual instrument and interestingly has no accruate origin or date it was invented with examples around the world from the Chinese dynasty to Western Europe. Despite this distance, the function of a bell within particular cultures was used as a religous/spiritual and even superstitius symbol.

Interesting article here regarding the history:

'In medieval times bells were steeped in superstition. This was probably because of their long association with religion. They were baptised, and once baptised had the power to ward off evil spells and spirits. Bells were hung in doorways to protect visitors and the visited from the evil spirits which always wait around the door awaiting the chance to slip inside. A visitor would ring the bell to drive the spirits away then pass inside - which is the likely origin of the present day doorbell!'

How bells make their sound is a complex but interesting subject. The discussion here is restricted to bells of typical 'western' profile, rather than those of the east which have a very different shape. Western bells are usually hit by an iron clapper at a point on the inside, near the bottom, or by an iron clock hammer at an equivalent point on the outside. This impact causes the bell to vibrate in a number of different ways or modes. Each mode can have a different frequency, intensity, attack and decay time, and can be characterised by 'stationary' points or nodes, both around the rim, and vertically up the bell.

Taylor 1980s (Using a Seiko Chromatic Tuner ST-747) Chromatic scale note is D

Gillett and Johnston 1920s (Using a Seiko Chromatic Tuner ST-747) Note is A

Mears 1850s (Using a Seiko Chromatic Tuner ST-747 at 440Hz) Chromatic scale note is F

Rudhall 1730s (Using a Seiko Chromatic Tuner ST-747 at 440Hz) Chromatic scale note is A

Eldridge 1670s (Using a Seiko Chromatic Tuner ST-747 at 440Hz) Chromatic scale note is D#

York Foundry 1500s (Using a Seiko Chromatic Tuner ST-747 at 440Hz) Chromatic scale note is A

London 1400s (Using a Seiko Chromatic Tuner ST-747 at 440Hz) Chromatic scale note is C#

I found this image on a blog and thought it was very interesting on:
how the shape of a guitar would affect the sound

Collin's Lab: DIY Cymatics

Cymatics, also known as modal phenomena, is the study of visible sound and vibration, typically on the surface of a plate, diaphragm, or membrane. Directly visualizing vibrations involves using sound to excite media often in the form of particles, pastes, and liquids.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Editing in Sound Forge

Sound Forge

Garage Band

Audio-Visual Art

Oskar Fischinger was an abstract animator, filmmaker, and painter
One of the pioneers of interpreting sound and music through video was the German artist Oskar Fischinger. Influenced by abstract painters such as Wassily Kandinsky, Fischinger created animations of colourful abstract shapes creating what he called “visual music”.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Science can be fun?!?!

Bottle Cap Microphone!!

Slinkies and Star Wars Sound Effects (good after 1:12)

Saturday, 13 November 2010

sound object research

The smallest sound that a person can hear, known as the threshold of hearing,

acoustic wave propagation

A sound wave is a vibration that travels through the air and through
>objects. When a wave reaches a surface of an object, some of the wave is
>reflected and some passes through into the object. Normally, very little of
>the wave remains within the object for very long. When the wave vibrates at
>a rate natural to the object, much of the wave remains within the object.
>As more waves like this enter the object, vibration builds up enough to
>distort or break the object.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Cymatic experiment

Cymatics is the study of visible sound and vibration, Typically the surface of a plate,is vibrated,in a thin coating of paste, or liquid, regions of maximum and minimum displacement are made visible Different patterns emerge in the exitatory medium depending on the geometry of the plate and the driving frequency.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Types of Digital Audio Formats (compressed/uncompressed)

Other Factors when recording sound

Useful Video:

Understand the Cables Used in Audio Recording -- powered by

listening and recording- seeing and hearing

An early sound recorder
model of Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville's phonautograph.
The device consisted of a horn or barrel that focused sound waves onto a membrane to which a hog's bristle was attached, causing the bristle to move and enabling it to inscribe the sound onto a visual medium. Initially, the phonautograph made recordings onto a lamp-blackened glass plate. A later version (see image) used a medium of lamp-blackened paper on a drum or cylinder. Another version would draw a dotted line or wavy line representing the sound wave on a roll of paper. The phonautograph was a laboratory curiosity for the study of acoustics. It was used to determine the frequency of a given musical pitch and to study sound and speech; it was not understood at that time that the waveform recorded by the phonautograph contained enough information about the sound wave that a playback mechanism could be used to recreate that sound.from wikipedia

Sound Art created by recording of sounds:

Strange unexplained acoustics in Mexico?

Unexplained Acoustics

Taken from:-

At least two structures at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexican display unusual and unexplained acoustical properties.

taken from: 

The Great Ballcourt:

The Great Ballcourt is 545 feet long and 225 feet wide overall. It has no vault, no continuity between the walls and is totally open to the sky.
Each end has a raised "temple" area. A whisper from end can be heard clearly at the other end 500 feet away and through the length and breath of the court. The sound waves are unaffected by wind direction or time of day/night. Archaeologists engaged in the reconstruction noted that the sound transmission became stronger and clearer as they proceeded. In 1931 Leopold Stokowski spent 4 days at the site to determine the acoustic principals that could be applied to an open-air concert theater he was designing.
Stokowski failed to learn the secret.

taken from: 

The Castillo:

This structure is a temple that looks like a pyramid and is the one most commonly pictured on travel brochures for the Mexican Yucatan. Apparently if you stand facing the foot of the temple and shout the echo comes back as a piercing shriek. Also, a person standing on the top step can speak in a normal voice and be heard by those at ground level for some distance. This quality is also shared by another Mayan pyramid at Tikal.
I believe a good case can be made that the Maya somehow engineered these acoustical phenomena. After months of research, I cannot locate any scientific discussion or investigations regarding any of this. Any information or comments appreciated.

taken from: 

Friday, 5 November 2010

Microphone Types

All information below provided by Paul White at


The type of mic you choose for a given task can have a profound effect on the quality of the resulting recording. 


The live music market accounts for the majority of low-cost dynamic microphone sales (that's not counting the really cheap, nasty models inflicted on the domestic audio market), but a significant number of these mics also end up in home studios. By examining how this type of microphone differs from the 'perfect ear', it's easier to get a handle on what they might reasonably be expected to cope with.
"Dynamic mics are useful when the sound source is close and reasonably loud."
A typical budget dynamic mic has an upper frequency-response limit of around 16kHz, as opposed to the 20kHz or so of a good capacitor mic. The human hearing range is always quoted as extending up to 20kHz, even though few can actually match this. Subjectively, the result of this curtailed upper response for dynamic mics is that most of them don't do justice to very high-frequency sounds such as cymbals, bells, or the upper harmonics of the acoustic guitar or piano. They'll make a fair stab at the job for demo purposes, but if you compare the result to that achieved with a capacitor mic, you'll notice that a lot of the 'air' and transparency around the top end is missing.


Capacitor microphones are the mainstay of professional recording and are characterised by high sensitivity and a good high-frequency response. Though a capacitor mic can tackle any job that a dynamic model can, dynamic models still tend to be used for bass drum and tom recording because of their physical strength (drummers are notoriously bad shots!), and because of their good mid-range punch. However, some engineers use capacitor mics for drum-kit recording where a more natural sound is required -- in jazz recording, for example.
Studio vocals are generally recorded with capacitor mics, though some rock singers like to use their dynamic models to give them a more punchy, middly sound. Mick Jagger and Phil Collins are reputed to prefer recording via dynamic models, so even if you do have access to capacitor mics, try recording your vocals via your dynamic mics and compare the results. You might be surprised at which you prefer.

"Capacitor microphones are the mainstay of professional recording."


It's usual to see back-electret mics as the poor relations of the true capacitor microphone, but this is a largely unfair perception. The capsule construction of the back-electret mic is essentially the same as for the capacitor model, except that the charge for the capsule comes from a permanently charged electret material fixed to the capsule back-plate. Indeed, some of the best studio mics, such as those made by B&K, use back-electret capsules. However, the nature of a back-electret capsule means that it is generally considered impractical to build a multi-pattern model working on that principle. For that reason, all the back-electret mics I know of have a fixed polar pattern, or one that can be modified by acoustic means only to provide differing widths of cardioid pattern.

All Information  below is provided by:

Omni-directional or Uni-directional
  • Omni-directional mics pick up sound with equal sensitivity from all directions. This is not normally useful for PA work, because in PA work each mic is targetted at a single sound source (so that the amplification given to that sound can be controlled separately from others, and so that pick-up of unwanted sounds can be minimised). Their application is generally limited to recording work (particularly of ambient sounds) and to sound-level measurement.
  • Uni-directional mics pick up sound with greater sensitivity from the front than from other directions. There are several variations on this theme. Each of the following types is illustrated with a polar response diagram, in which increased sensitivity in a particular direction is indicated by the line on the diagram being closer to the outer circle. Imagine the microphone diaphragm being located at the centre of the circle, with the most sensitive end (or side) of the microphone facing towards the top of the circle. So, the upper-most point of the line on each diagram indicates the sensitivity at the front of the microphone, or at '0 degrees' − i.e. the on-axis response, and the lower-most point indicates the sensitivity at the back, or at '180 degrees'. (The diagrams below are simplified to illustrate typical mid-frequency responses; in practice the polar responses vary with frequency, so check the manufacturer's specifications.)
    • Sub-cardioid mics have a very gradually reducing sensitivity from the front to the back, maintaining some sensitivity at the back.
    • Cardioid mics have a gradually reducing sensitivity from the front to the back, with very little sensitivity at the back.
    • Super-cardioid mics reduce their sensitivity from the front to the sides at a faster rate than cardioid types, reaching a minimum sensitivity at an angle of around 120-140°, measured from the front. The sensitivity then increases again towards the back, but the sensitivity at the back is still very much less than at the front.
    • Hyper-cardioid mics provide even less sensitivity at the sides than do super-cardioid types, at the expense of a little more sensitivity at the back. Therefore, a monitorspeaker should never be placed directly behind this type of mic. Their minimum sensitivity is at an angle of around 100-120°, measured from the front.
    • 'Rifle' or 'shotgun' mics are the most directional type, so-called because of their long rifle-like barrels. They are generally used only for long-distance miking (more than 2 metres from the source), e.g. for theatrical work, and should be located such that the back of the mic is not exposed to unwanted sounds.
  • Bi-directional types
    Although not featured in the title of this sub-section (as they are rarely used in live PA work), bi-directional mics get a mention here for completeness. They pick up sound with equal sensitivity from two opposite directions, shown in the diagram as the front and back; in practice however, as these are usuallyside-addressed types, the sensitive directions are most commonly on two of its sides.


WOW! I just caught a recording of a great sound of a rubbish collection van.  For me it sounded like anything but that!!  Maybe more like a large dinosaur giving birth!!!

1.  Rubbish collection

Let me know what you think?

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Recording a Sound file

I borrowed a sound recorder and is my first time seeing a sound recorder with such a small microphone. it is small and easier to use unlike the ones I have used before that required a full microphone and large recording unit.

The model used was ICR-BI70NX
Sound Recording Device used (hired from Uni)

I started walking to station I recorded any sound I heard, because I was more continuous of sounds, they seemed different them usually.

The sounds I recorded were:

1. Walking on leaves,

2. Traffic and People

3. A girl on the phone

4. On the Bus

5. bus

6. Underground train arriving

7. doors in underground

8. Door

9. beep

In the end I decided that the Children was the most interesting as they all together sound interesting and abit like birds making noise.

Secret life of Camberwell
As a group we recorded sounds around college
1. elevator

2. In the shop

3. Workshop

4. Workshop

5. Coffee Machin

6. in the shop

Notes from Previous Research (October 15th 2010)

Difference between hearing and seeing, 

Interesting thoughts?

- Hearing is more unconscious, see is conscious?
- Hearing physically effects body more
- Sound makes your imagination work more
- Sound changes perception about reality
- Adding sound effects the perception about visual work more than vice versa
- Seeing is in colours, when sound can seem in different colours in each persons imagination
- Sound effects other senses in the body than visual/seeing only effects visual aspects?

Previous Notes (October 8th 2010)

How can sound be represented in visual form?

Look for sound artists/sound poetry.

Sound can effect spirituality through connecting to eternity, ex. when sound goes for ever. (eternal being)

my visual interpretations of some every day sounds:

Breaking bones


Oyster card beep


Walking on snow

Sound Elective

This will be the blog for the remaining sound elective research.