COM307: Audio Communication in the Media

Audio "Postcards"

An audio postcard is essentially a soundscape plus a voice-over. They're popular with National Public Radio (see NPR archives) and, if you produce something you like, you might think about submitting there.

Here are two of my favorite audio postcards from last semester. One is about amateur tap-dancing, the other about the unseemly side of supermarkets.




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URI Soundscapes Fall 2009

The soundscapes for Fall 2009 are in. This time, I've tried to group them by location/theme. The most popular location this semester is clearly the library, which makes sense because it is a "high fidelity" recording environment (as close to a recording studio as you'll find outside of one). The more chaotic Memorial Union was a close second as a favorite recording spot--in general, places to eat were very popular this time around. In addition to common soundscapes, there are also some uncommon ones: including sounds from outside orchestra rehearsal and a composite of public waterways.

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URI Soundscapes: Waterways


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URI Soundscapes: Quad

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URI Soundscapes: Fine Arts


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URI Soundscapes: Transportation



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URI Soundscapes: Athletics




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URI Soundscapes: Emporium Eateries




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URI Soundscapes: Memorial Union







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URI Soundscapes: Soundwalks





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URI Soundscapes: Library







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Worst Song Ever

In case this week's tour of some of the worst heavy metal ever recorded wasn't awful enough for you, try this "scientific" attempt to create the worst song ever. Using the same method, they also tried to make the best song ever and, ironically, it's arguably worse than the worst song. If nothing else, these illustrate why one should not replace record producers with audience surveys.

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World Soundscape Project and Acoustic Ecology

To understand more artificial, mediated audio environments, it's first necessary to understand (and attempt to mediate) the sounds of the natural world. For our next project, we'll be reading material from the World Soundscape Project and using their concepts to produce our own soundscapes. A soundscape is, basically, like an audio landscape. Unlike landscapes, however, they are often overlooked. For example, in the recent PBS series on National Parks nothing was mentioned about acoustic ecology, or the need to preserve the sound of the natural environment (fortunately, the National Parks Service officially recognizes this goal).

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Au Clair de la Lune

The oldest surviving audio recording. Thanks to the fact it could not be played-back until 2008, it has survived. Find out more from FirstSounds: http://www.firstsounds.org/.

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Spectral Harmony

After class today, where we talked about timbre, I heard a story on NPR about a jazz artist who's come up with a way of composing and performing jazz with the goal of layering familiar timbres to create new ones. I can't say I'm a jazz fan, but this concept definitely speaks to me.

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Fall 09 Semester: Get a Haircut

Since last semester's posts might be of interest to new students, I'll leave them be. So, welcome to newcomers. Here's a little something to start with.

One of the ongoing themes of this course is perspective and how it may be communicated sonically. One of the best examples around is the "Virtual Barber Shop." [You really do need headphones for the full effect.]


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URI Soundscapes

Below you'll find the Spring 2009 soundscape series created by students in COM307. There are lots of indoor, athletic spaces as well as a fair amount of outdoor locations and other unique interiors. The sum is a (partial) audio documentary of our community's sounds. There's certainly "acoustemological" merit to this collection, but you should find that each is an interesting listen in its own right.

I recommend headphones for the full effect!

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URI Soundscape: Pool

Children's relay race.  Thursday @ 6:45pm.  By Dennis Moss.

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URI Soundscape: Boss Arena

Intramural league game.  One whole period of play.  By John Gerke.

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URI Soundscape: Ryan Center

URI Men's basketball vs. UMASS.  Finals.  Multiple times.  By Jason Coppa.

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