Overview

Information and resource links for sound and audio. Use the "Quick Links" menu below to access subject areas.

Quick Links

Ambient Sound | Audio Documentaries | Audio Preservation | Auditory Culture | Digital Audio Basics | Digital Editing Basics | Digital Recording Basics | Equipment | Field Recording | Oral-Aural History | Podcasts | Radio | Remix | Sound Archives | Sound Art | Sound Design | Sound Effects / Foley | Sound Installations | Sound Sculptures | Soundwalks | Speakers | Spoken Word | Theory | Tools

Ambient Sound

12 hours of Ambient Sound of Rick Deckard's Apartment of Blade Runner by "Cheesy Nirvosa."
See his YouTube channel for 24 hours of idling engine noise from the ship of Star Trek: Next Generation, 12 hours of ambient engine noise generated by the USCSS Nostromo in Alien, or 12 hours of TARDIS sounds from Dr. Who

English, Lawrence. The Sound of Fear
A historical, anthropological look at how sound affects our emotions, has been used to oust leaders, torture prisoners, and control mass gatherings.

Audio Documentaries

Audio documentaries provide additional access to cultural and historical information contained in or provided by sound(s).

Audiodocumentary.org
A curatorial effort and information portal to all kinds of free, online radio and audio documentary content. "Basically we bring you links to stuff that we think is interesting and which might otherwise fly below the radar—that great piece from NPR, that unknown Podcast, or any other audio documentary content we want to bring to people's attention."

Battery Radio
Located below the cliff in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, where Marconi used a kite to fly his antenna and said he received the first transAtlantic wireless radio signals, Battery Radio is an audio production company specializing in radio documentary features. Their work is available online or via podcast.

Listening Between the Lines
"Dedicated to investigating and helping to correct historical inequalities in America" by producing radio documentaries. "Listening Between the Lines encourages listeners to rethink their values and assumptions as well the way they live their lives."

Panos London Illuminating Voices
A magazine with an audio portal "reporting on development issues that are often neglected by mainstream media." The programs come from a "global team of local journalists [who] seek out the views of people on the edges of society and offer you fresh perspectives."

Sound Portraits Productions
"Dedicated to telling stories that bring neglected American voices to a national audience. Whether on the radio, in print, or on the Web, Sound Portraits is committed to producing innovative works of lasting educational, cultural, and artistic value." Sound Portrait's radio documentaries are broadcast on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Weekend Edition.

Soundprint
The longest-running documentary series on public radio. The SOUNDPRINT series provides a national vehicle for long-form non-fiction works by outstanding producers, while fostering the development of emerging producers to encourage innovation and new voices on public radio.

Third Coast International Audio Festival
Collects and archives thousands of radio documentaries.

Audio Preservation

Copeland, Peter. Manual of Analogue Sound Restoration Techniques (British Library, 2008).
With the rapid development of digital technologies, analogue formats for recording and archiving sound files have all but disappeared. But, before digital, everything was analogue and there is a tremendous amount of important analogue sound files that need to be restored and preserved. This book provides a great deal of information about how to proceed with this task. The author worked as Conservation Manager for the British Library Sound Archive. Download this book (333 pages) as a .PDF file.

Digital Audio Basics

A Digital Audio Primer
Provided by Adobe Software as part of their Audition audio editing and production software program. Introduces the fundamentals of digital sound. Download as a .PDF file.

The Basics of Digital Audio
Covers sound theory (frequency and level), sampling theory (sample frequency, dynamic range, and digitizing sound), and step-by-step instructions for recording your own digital sounds.

Digital Audio
Part of the free Audacity Tutorial offered by Guides and Tutorials.com This section introduces sound and digital audio. Browse through the rest of the tutorial, and see the "Audacity Tips." Learn more about Audacity, the free, open source software for recording and editing sounds HERE

Audio File Formats
Explains all of the major audio file formats and provides samples. A useful resource.

Bit = BInary digiT
8 Bits = 1 Byte
1000 Bytes = 1 Kilobyte (KB)
1000 Kilobytes = 1 Megabyte (MB)
1000 Megabytes = 1 Gigabyte (GB)
1000 Gigabytes = 1 Terabyte (TB)
1000 Terabytes = 1 Petabyte (PB)

CD Size
74 Minute = 650MB
80 Minute = 700MB
A standard raw audio file (.wav format) recorded at a 44.1 kHz sampling rate and 16 bit depth will run 10MB per minute

Digital Editing Basics

GarageBand—basic editing

Tutorial: Audio editing in GarageBand

Some sound editing and manipulation platforms

Adobe Audition CC Audio Editor $ Mac and Windows
Ardour Audio Editor - Free Free Mac
All Sound Editor XP Shareware Windows
Amadeus Pro Audio Editor Shareware Mac
Audacity Audio Editor Free Mac and Windows
EXPStudio Audio Editor Free Windows
Eisenkraut Cross Platform Audio Editor $ Mac, Windows, and Linux
Mpesch3 Audio Tools' mp3DirectCut $ Windows
NCH Software WavePad Audio Editor $ Mac
Power Sound Editor Free $ Windows
Reaper Digital Audio Workstation $ Windows and Mac
Sony ACID Xpress 7 Free Windows
Sound Studio $ Mac
Traverso DAW Multitrack Editor $ Mac, Windows, and Linux
TwistedWave Audio Editor (Shareware) $ Mac
WaveSurfer Free Audio Editor Free Mac, Windows, and Linux
Wavosaur Free Audio Editor Free Windows

Digital Recording Basics

Basic Acoustics and Signal Processing
If you dream of making your own recordings or fiddling around with sound on your computer, then this article is just for you.

The Ear Training Guide for Audio Producers
Provided by National Public Radio (NPR) as part of training efforts for audio producers.

GarageBand
An easy to use, yet full-featured audio editing and production software package available for the Mac OSX operating system (computers, iPhones, and iPads).

Audacity
A free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds can also be used, as well as other sound production / editing programs students wish to bring, although support may be limited.

Audacity Tutorial: How to Record and Edit Audio with Audacity

Take Control of Recording with GarageBand (3.0)
This manual includes a complete tour plus step-by-step lessons. Read or download as a .PDF file. Buy the eBook version

Take Control of Recording with GarageBand (2.0)
Read or download as a .PDF file.

How to Record a Sound on a Mac

How to Make a Voice Recording on Mac

How to Record a Sound on a Windows Computer

Equipment

Microphones
Microphones > cables
Recorders

Virostek, Paul. Digital Sound Recorder Buyer's Guide
One of several guides by Virostek as part of his website Creative Field Recording

Speakers

Brown Innovations Directional speakers designed for focused listening in galleries, museums, and other crowded environments.

Bosebuild speakers
Build and customize your own durable, high-performance Bluetooth speaker for Apple devices. $149.00 (free shipping)

Building A Speaker from A Plastic Cup
See also YouTube ("DIY speakers," "Making speakers at home," etc.) for all kinds of ideas for making devices from plastic cups and bottles and paper and plastic tubes, as well as wood, to amplify sounds from your mobile devices.

Eco-Made
Recycled origami paper amplifiers for your iPhone and iPad. Different designs and colors.

Isobelo Audio
Hemispherical speakers designed for sound art applications, laptop orchestras

Onsia
Concealed in-wall or in-ceiling flat-panel speakers. Cool idea for installations!

Feonic
Concealed, hidden speakers)

Air2 CSBT-311 Levitating Bluetooth Speakers (red, pink, black, blue)

Mighty Dwarf
Resonating speakers. Seven watt speaker uses vibration resonance instead of the typical speaker membrane to turn any solid surface it's placed on into a speaker. Uses a microSD card, or cable, to play sounds. Rechargeable battery. Mounting brackets and replaceable gel pads available.

BlueII Bluetooth speaker
10 Watt output; competes with Breton Bluetooth speakers

Betron BPS60 Wireless Bluetooth Travel speakers
Made by a London-based British company specializing in mobile audio and music accessories.

Logitech's Ultimate Ears Mini Boom

Gen4 Digital Pillow Speakers
Made for medical applications but useful for creative projects See also Tsing Pillow Speakers. 3.5mm input plug. Sound level very low; require intimate listening experience; listener must be close to speaker in order to hear well.
See also Pillows with speakers

Equipment > suppliers

Field Recording

Field recording describes audio recordings produced outside the controlled environment of a sound studio. There are two varieties. The first, refers to recordings of musicians in familiar or casual surroundings. The second, called "phonography," focuses on recording natural sounds, in the environment, using portable, but high quality audio recording equipment. Both the results and the practice are considered art forms.

A Beginner's Guide To Field Recording
by Lawrence English. Useful information for people just taking up field recording, as well as a rundown of recent important releases of the genre.

The Essential Field Recording Books
by Stuart Fowkes, creator and curator of Cities and Memory.

Digital Audio Field Recording Equipment Guide
This web resource, provided by the Vermont Folklife Center, features links to information about preserving materials in ethnographic and oral history collections.

Field Recording Techniques

Frameworkradio.net
Frameworkradio.net is dedicated to field recording of sonic sources and their use in compositions. Framework:afield programs are produced and curated by guest artists from around the world every second week. Learn more.

Last Quiet Places, The
from the Radio show/podcast On Being, hosted by Krista Tippett, this is an interview with Gordon Hempton who argues that silence is an endangered species. Quiet places are "the think tank of the soul."

Phonography.org
"Phonography" (literally, "sound writing") refers to field recordings that attempt to capture any event that can be reproduced and represented as sound. The capture/recording of the sound is privileged over its production, reflecting a bias toward discovery rather than invention. Learn more about phonography here. This website features a number of phonographies, as well as information about recording gear, and links to other resources, sounds, and recording labels.

Sound, Music, Noise & related sites
Short descriptions of and links to websites focusing on sound, music, or noise. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the links on this page no longer work. The descriptions are interesting, however.

Sounds Outside: The Art of Field Recording Provided by Ableton, this resource offers lots of resources for field recording.

Virostek, Paul. Field Recording Gear Buyer's Guide
One of several guides by Virostek as part of his website Creative Field Recording

Virostek, Paul. How Recording Room Tone Improves Your Field Recordings
One of several guides by Virostek as part of his website Creative Field Recording

Wandering Ear
Field recording-oriented sound from around the world, available for free download.

Sound Sculptures

Applebaum, Mark. Electronic Sound Sculptures.

Edwards, Megan. High Tide at the [San Francisco] Wave Organ. Roadtrip America 19 September 2008.
The world's first sea organ was built at Zadar Sea, Croatia. Learn more and listen at the Odd Music website. YouTube videos available.
Architect Nikola Bašic built the Zadar Sea Organ. Learn more.

Emory, Sami. Sound Sculptures Make Music Something You Can See, Hear, and Hold. The Creators Project, 14 July 2015.

Fontana, Bill. The Relocation of Ambient Sound: Urban Sound Sculpture. Leonardo, 41(2), April 2008, 154-158.

Grayson, John. Sound Sculpture: A Collection of Essays by Artists Surveying the Techniques, Applications, and Future Directions of Sound Sculpture. Vancouver, BC: A.R.C. Publications, 1975. PDF available here. See especially the chapter by Bernard Baschet, recognized as one of the pioneers of this art genre.

Jay Bundy Johnson: Being still (life) shows us who we are
Elaborate sculptures built from the electronic insides of consumer products made over the past half century. Using buttons, the visitor interacts with the resulting three-dimensional wall mural of circuit boards, motors, gears, speaker cones, lightbulbs, and wires to create fleeting soundscapes of things past.

Kaushik, ***?***. 8 Sound Sculptures That Lets Nature Be the Musician. Amusing Planet 8 February 2016.

Madden, Blake. Inside The Great Stalacpipe Organ: The World's Largest Instrument. Trust Me I'm A Scientist 15 April 2015
The Great Stalacpipe Organ, deep underground in Luray Caverns, Virginia, is the world's largest musical instrument. Watch the video and listen to a performance at the end of this article.

Napolitano, Pasquale. About Sonic Sculpture. Between Disciplines Categories. Digicult | Digital Art, Design and Culture, 11 June 2016.

Resonant Sculpture Project

Rose, Joel. Sound Sculptor Harry Bertoia Created Musical Meditative Art. National Public Radio 26 March 2016.

The Singing Ringing Tree
A metal tree, constructed of tubes, emits melodic notes when the wind blows atop Crown Point, Lancashire, England. Videos available on YouTube.

Tvisongur Sound Sculpture. Visitseydisfjördur

Zimoun
Official website for this artist of sound sculpture and installation. Several videos showcase his work with motors, paper, cardboard boxes, string, wooden sticks, and more.
Interview with Zimoun (with great video of example installations) at Kadenze Blog, 13 January 2016

#sonicsculpture on Twitter

Soundwalks

Information and links for locative narrative and soundwalks. Learn more.

Podcasts

Dr. John's Eazy-Peazy Resource Guide: Podcasts

Remix

Remix might incorporate several approaches. Here are some resources for Cut Up / Mashup / Sampling / Appropriation / Sound collage

Amerika, Mark. 2007.
Immobilité
The world's first feature-length mobile phone art film. A story about a future world where the dream of living in utopia can only be sustained by a nomadic tribe of artists and intellectuals. Immobilité mashes up the language of "foreign films" with landscape painting and literary metafiction. The work was composed using an unscripted, improvisational method of acting and the mobile phone images are intentionally shot in an amateurish or DIY [do-it-yourself] style similar to the evolving forms of video distributed in social media environments such as YouTube. By interfacing this low-tech version of video making with more sophisticated forms of European art-house movies, Amerika both asks and answers the question "What is the future of cinema?" Download free Immobillité app from iPhone App Store

Autobahn, Ricardo. The Golden Age of Video
Some argue the world has not been the same since 12:01 AM 1 August 1981, when the music video Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles, launched the MTV (music television) network, and when that played out, "reality television." In between there were a number of video movies and television programs that defined an entire generation. Ricardo Autobahn's homage is quite compelling. Check the version with lyrics and titles in the sidebar of related videos. Check his website as well.

Ostertag is an early audio sample artist whose work predates many modern samplers by several years. His website features information and his music and recordings, his writings, and provides many photographs.

Bennett, Vicki. People Like Us
Vicki Bennett, since 1991, under the name People Like Us, has made CDs, radio, audio-visual multimedia, and found footage animations and collages. Her work is archived here, at the official website.

Brewster, Bill and Frank Broughton. Last Night a DJ Saved My Life. New York: Grove Press, 2000.
The first comprehensive history of the disc jockey, from radio station announcer to superstar music creator. Argues that the DJ revolutionized the way in which dance music is conceived, created, and consumed from counterculture to mainstream. Traces histories of radio record play, reggae, Northern Soul, disco, hip hop, house, and techno to the current global underground.

Burroughs, William S.
Credited as the inventor of "The Cut-Up Method," even though he adopted the technique from painter and writer Brion Gysin, and the technique had been used since the 1920s by Surrealist/DaDa visual artists in their collages, images, and textual compositions. As Burroughs argued, consciousness is cut-up, a montage of fragments. For example, a walk down a city street will present bits and pieces of street signs and advertisements, reflections in windows, objects partially obscured by others, a random mix of images.

According to Burroughs, writing was artificially confined to a linear straightjacket, forcing words to follow one another in orders prescribed by rules of language and grammar. For Burroughs, the cut-up method involved physically cutting linear passages of printed prose, both by himself and other writers, and then pasting them back together again at random. The results, he claimed, were far more interesting than the original. Examples of this cut-up method are found in Burrough's novels The Soft Machine (1961) and The Ticket That Exploded (1962).

During a 20 July 1976 lecture at the Naropa Institute Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Burroughs talked about the origins of the cut-up method. The lecture also includes a tape recorded experiment called "Paranormal Voices," a cut-up experiment with Brion Gysin, experiments with Ian Sommerville, dream speech, The Last Words of Dutch Schultz, and phrases of minimal context. Burroughs also discusses Shakespeare, computers, Homer, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and Carl Jung. The lecture ends with questions and answers. The entire lecture is available in two parts at Internet Archive.
Burroughs' Lecture Part 1 (Note: there is 3:00 of silence before the start of Burrough's lecture)
Burroughs' Lecture Part 2

Origin and Theory of Tape Cut-Ups by William S. Burroughs
A classic sound sample wonderfully visualized. This sample is taken from a 1.5 hour lecture Burroughs delivered at Naropa University in which he touched on paranormal phenomena, magic, synchronicity, precognition, dreams, and the cut-up method of writing. He answers questions from students. Listen to the entire lecture here
Try it for yourself using the Cut Up Machine. Enter some text. Click the "cut it up" button. Be amazed.

An edited segment of this lecture, "The Origin and Theory of the Tape Cut-Ups," was included on the album Break Through in Grey Room. Although the album was first released in 2001, all its contents were recorded between 1960 and 1976.

Another good source of early Burroughs/Gysin recordings is the album Nothing Here But the Recordings, which Genesis P. Orridge released on Industrial Records, after Burroughs gave him access to his tape archive.

Both albums are available in the four disc Best of William S. Burroughs box set. Burroughs expanded his cut-up method into other media, cutting and splicing audio tapes, films, and mixed media (audio tapes, television, film, and actual events). His exploratory work has informed many artists since.

A number of videos featuring Burroughs and his cut-up method are archived on YouTube. The Cut Ups provides a good example. Explore others from here.

Detritus.net
A website dedicated to recycled culture, making new creative works out of old ones, whether fine art or pop culture. Check out the "Projects" link for ideas about what various artists are currently creating, and the "Archives" link for some groundbreaking past works. For example, you can hear the controversial 1991 album "U2" by Negativland (see link below) in which they include recordings of the band U2 and the host of the syndicated radio show "American Top Forty," Casey Casem like you've never heard him before.

DJ Food. Raiding the 20th Century by DJ Food
An incredible, definitive, attempt to catalog the history of cut-up music, popular culture, avant garde tape manipulation, turntable megamixes, and bastard pop mash ups. Put your headphones on and listen. Archived at UbuWeb Sound.

DJ Solovox
Solovox (aka Carl Tietze) is a Portland, Oregon, based DJ, teacher, and lecturer.

DJ Spooky.com
The official website for DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid (aka Paul D. Miller) — the unofficial spokesperson for remix culture. Offers multimedia performances and a whole lot more remix.

DJ Spooky interviewed for the NPR program "To the Best of our Knowledge"

Miller, Paul D. aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, ed.Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008.) As a writer, visual artist, and recording artist, he says artists regard sound as a language they may freely sample to construct new compositions.

Lay one metaphor onto the other, remix, and press play. The sampling machine can handle any sound, and any expression. You just have to find the right edit points in the sound envelope—it's that structure thing come back as downloadable shareware for the informationally perplexed (6).

Form and function, fact and fiction, art and architecture—all woven into a testimony of human reconstruction in media (8).

The remix becomes "faction" (9).

We live in an era where quotation and sampling operate on such a deep level that the archaeology of what can be called "knowledge" floats in a murky realm between the real and the unreal. Look at The Matrix as an updated version of Plato's cave, a parable piece in his Republic written more than two thousand years ago, but still resonant with the idea of living in a world of illusion (11).

Think of DJ culture as a kind of archival impulse applied to a kind of hunter-gather milieu—textual poaching, becomes zero-paid, becomes no-logo, becomes brand x. It's that interface thing again, but this time around the mind-brain interface becomes an emergent system of large-scale economies of expression (13).
(Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid. "In through the Out Door.")

Program 12: Radio Radio: Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky
DJ Spooky demonstrates his combination of street credibility and critical sensibility and discusses "the mix" as culture and as metaphor. Archived at UbuWeb Sound. See link below.

Evolution Control Committee
A group of audio collage artists doing great work since 1966 and offering samples throughout their website.

"I Found a Sound: A Brief History of Sampling and Appropriation in Music" by Dr. Zomb and DJ ManRich
"A chronological look at sampling, from its roots in Musique Concrete and Avant Garde, through the pioneering LP by Brian Eno and David Byrne, and on to culture jamming artists such as Negativeland, John Oswald, Evolution Control Committee, as well as Turntablism in Hip Hop and finally, recent mashup masterpieces." Wow! Check it out. Also, check out the many other broadcasts archived here. Lots of great DJ work and sounds.

Gaylor, Brett. Rip! A Remix Manifesto
Director and web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, investigate how culture builds upon culture in the information age.

Illegal Art
Devoted to releasing legally unreleasable albums by a variety of artists. Features many themed compilations. Features both downloads and CDs.

Karlheinz Essl
A German composer and audio software designer. MANY of his sound works are available for download at his website.

Ken's Last Ever Radio Extravaganza
Despite the name "last ever," Ken keeps on making, and archiving amazing sound collage radio shows at this website. Listen live or download MP3 archives of past shows, all the way back of 1994! Scroll to the bottom of page and follow the tiny "links page" link for even more information and archives.

LAFMS
The Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS) has explored sampling and appropriation since the 1960s. This is the official website.

Negativland
A group of artists who create "records, CDs, video, fine art, books, radio and live performance using appropriated sound, image and text. Mixing original materials and original music with things taken from corporately owned mass culture and the world around them, Negativland re-arranges these found bits and pieces to make them say and suggest things that they never intended to. In doing this kind of cultural archaeology and "culture jamming" (a term they coined way back in 1984), Negativland have been sued twice for copyright infringement."

"Over the years Negativland's 'illegal' collage and appropriation based audio and visual works have touched on many things—pranks, media hoaxes, advertising, media literacy, the evolving art of collage, the bizarre banality of suburban existence, creative anti-corporate activism in a media saturated multi-national world, file sharing, intellectual property issues, wacky surrealism, evolving notions of art and ownership and law in a digital age, and artistic and humorous observations of mass media and mass culture. . . . Negativland is like a subliminal cultural sampling service concerned with making art about everything we aren't supposed to notice."

Negativland produces and broadcasts a live weekly radio show, Over the Edge on KPFA FM in Berkeley, California, every Thursday at midnight, Pacific Time. The three hour show, features found sound mixing.

Negativland was the subject of Craig Baldwin's 1995 feature documentary "Sonic Outlaws" and created the soundtrack and sound design for Harold Boihem's 1997 documentary film "The Ad And The Ego," an excellent in-depth look into the hidden agendas of the corporate ad world and the ways that we are affected by advertising.

Negativland promotes creative commons and serves on the advisory board of a Washington, D.C.-based intellectual property lobbying group called digitalfreedom.org. Lots of information available through the website on copyright, sampling, and fair use.

People Like Us
Vicki Bennett, since 1991, under the name People Like Us, has made CDs, radio, audio-visual multimedia, and found footage animations and collages. Her work is archived here, at the official website.

Plunderphonics
Created and maintained by John Oswald, Canadian composer and sonic collage artist. Oswald coined the term "plunderphonics" to express his creation of new work using samples from existing recordings. A link is also provided to three of Oswald's Mystery Tapes (circa 1980), sound collages recorded on cassette tapes and distributed with neither sources noted nor explanations given. See also Radio Radio introspective and interview with John Oswald

Raiding the 20th Century by DJ Food
An incredible attempt to catalog the history of cut-up music and popular culture. Archived at UbuWeb Sound.

Rick Emerson Show
Emerson is involved in the production of a radio drama about zombies called A.Z. Listen to these sample episodes.

Some Assembly Required
Tape manipulations, digital reconstructions, turntable creations . . . work by a variety of audio artists "working with bits of their media environment, giving back to the cultural landscape from which they so enthusiastically appropriate." Since 1999, host Jon Nelson has put together weekly shows and interviewed everyone who is anyone, providing insights into this daring and creative style of expression. All interviews and shows are available for free download, along with notes and profiles. A tremendous resource, inspiration, and proof that Girl Talk didn't invent this form of collage.

"Star Wars Saga (The Best Trance Remix Montage)"

Tape-beatles, The
A collaborative group of artists, formed in 1985, making audio art recordings and works in other media. Their goal was to create a new form of egalitarian pop music using no musical instruments, instead relying on tape recording and home stereo equipment. The Tape-beatles also espoused the use of plagiarism as a positive artistic technique and their work drew on previously "finished" works by others. The Tape-beatles sample such work, assembling fragments into new and original constructions. Archived at UbuWeb Sound.

Variations
Curated by Jon Leidecker, this series of podcasts looks at music compositions based on pre-existing source music, sampling, presenting the milestones of sampling music from the 20th Century to the convergence of music, popular art, and mass media today. Leidecker, also known as Wobbly, is a well-known sound collage artist. Visit an archive of Leidecker's (Wobbly's) work at the Detritus.net website (see above).

Sound Archives

Sound archives focus on collecting sound(s), either broadly defined or specifically focused, and making these recordings available for study or listening.

Archive of Recorded Sound
One of the largest sound archives in the nation featuring several collections, with some contents digitized.

Audiodocumentary.org
A curatorial effort and information portal to all kinds of free, online radio and audio documentary content. "Basically we bring you links to stuff that we think is interesting and which might otherwise fly below the radar—that great piece from NPR, that unknown Podcast, or any other audio documentary content we want to bring to people's attention."

Bird Sounds
This experiment in artificial intelligence not only visualizes the waveforms for North American bird songs, but also groups each with the next closest example. Developed using Google open source code.

EASAIER Project, The
A European research project addressing archiving of and accessing sound archives. Requires downloading a client.

Freesound Project, The
The Freesound Project is a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds. A good archive for lots of different sounds that can be downloaded and used in your own projects.

Funky16Corners
A blog, a webzine, and an archive focusing on soul, funk, jazz, and rare groove, all from OG vinyl. Features podcasts of the Funky16Corners Radio Show broadcast Fridays at 9:00 PM on Viva Radio.

Honey, Where You Been So Long?
An amazing blog focused on collecting, archiving, and presenting for listening pre-World War II blues music. This link takes you to the collection of versions of the blues standard, "The Saint James Infirmary Blues." Join the blog, get the password, and access a large number of blues music mixes.

Internet Archive
An Internet library that offers permanent access to historical materials and collections that exist in digital format. The Audio Archive contains over 200,000 free digital recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by users. Open Source Audio is a collection of audio uploaded by users and available under a Creative Commons License.

The Library of Congress: American Memory: Sound Recordings
Twenty four music and speech collections.

NASA Releases Audio of Space Exploration into the Public Domain

New York Society for Acoustic Ecology
This project describes itself as a container in which to hold many different processes and projects focusing on the city's shifting sonic environment and temporal, physical, and cultural contexts. Among these projects are "Sound Seeker," a Google map-based interface for listening to the sounds of New York. Clicking icons on a map plays the recorded sound, and shows the address, date, time of day, author, and other information regarding the recording; and "City in a Sidewalk," where participants are invited to navigate a provided soundwalk, or create one of their own. Using an online forum, participants can exchange personal narratives, photographs, drawings, sound recordings, environmental data, historical details, maps, and other information about their walks.

PDSounds
Free public domain and royalty free sounds.

Reel 2 Real: Sound at the Pitt Rivers Museum
Archival sound project at the University of Oxford. Project details here.

Sonic Memorial Project, The
Begun shortly after the 11 September 2011 destruction of the World Trade Center in New York, the Sonic Memorial was opened as a site for people to share their stories and recordings of life events associated with the twin towers. Today, this archive and online audio installation of personal and historic sonic traces, artifacts, interviews, and oral histories is valuable to family, friends, historians, archivists, and producers.

SoundBible.com
"The Encyclopedia of Sounds." Free sound clips, sound bits, and sound effects.

Sound Jay
Free sound effects! Features background sounds, communication sounds, human sound effects, house and domestic sounds, machine and mechanical sounds, miscellaneous sounds, nature sounds, and transportation sounds.

Speech Accent Archive, The
Uniformly exhibits a large set of speech accents from a variety of language backgrounds. Native and non-native speakers of English all read the same English paragraph and are carefully recorded. Designed for linguists and other people who wish to listen to and compare the accents of different English speakers. The archive is constructed by the Department of Linguistics at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, as a teaching and research tool.

UbuWeb Sound
An incredible sound archive featuring many examples of DJ culture. Get lost listening here for a few hours.

West Virginia Sound Archive
A project of West Virginia University Press

Western Soundscape Archive
A soundscape is sound or combination of sounds from an acoustic environment and may consist of either or both natural (animal vocalizations, weather, etc) and human (music, conversation, work, mechanical, etc) sounds. Soundscapes feature all on an area's sonic components together, in concert and represent the total acoustic environment. This archive recognizes the connection between places and their soundscapes and features ambient and specific recordings of animals and environments throughout the Western United States. A large collection of the holdings are available through Creative Commons licensing

Wikimedia Commons
Freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute. A special section is available for sound.

Wikipedia:Sound/list
An incomplete list of copyleft/public domain musical works available on Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons.

Sound Art

An inquiry into the use of sound for creating works of art. Learn more.

12 Sound Artists Changing Your Perception of Art

Martinique, Elena. Sound Art: Focus and Hear the Arts. WideWalls

Pollack, Barbara. Now Hear This: Sound Art Has Arrived. Art News 14 November 2013.

#soundart on Twitter

Sound Design

Sound editing and sound design are often confused. Sound design is the process of specifying, acquiring, manipulating or generating audio elements. Sound editing involves selecting the right piece of audio and deciding how to use it as part of the final sound work.

  • Bracewell, John L. Sound Design in the Theatre. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993. Says the functions of a sound designer include
    Audibility
    Music
    Setting
    Plot
    Mood
    Vocal alteration
    Vocal replacement
  • Designing Sound: Art and technique of sound design A website dedicated to the art and technique of sound design. Many sound collections offered for sale, but also free listening opportunities.
  • Gibbs, Tony. The Fundamentals of Sonic Arts and Sound Design (AVA Publishing, 2007).
  • Littlejohn, Will. How to Enhance Mobile Interactions with Sound Design
    Littlejohn is Sound Design Director at Facebook. The top highlight: "sound designers bring context to your world, and use the sonic realm to do it. The sounds you hear while you experience other sensory input play a large part in how you interpret reality."

Sound Effects / Foley

Sound effects
  • Absolute Sound Effects Archive This resource bills itself as "one of the largest collections of free sounds on the Internet." Indeed there are lots of sounds here, all categorized, easy to search, and free to download.
  • AudioMicro Stock Music and Sound Effects Royalty free music, sound effects, and loops. Many available free.
  • The Birth of Loop by Michael Peters
  • The Freesound Project The Freesound Project is a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds. A good archive for lots of different sounds that can be downloaded and used in your own projects.
  • Funny Noises for the Connoisseur. Bart Hopkin Experimental Musical Instruments, June 2003. ISBN: 0972731318
  • Mott, Robert L. Radio Sound Effects: Who Did It, and How, in the Era of Live Broadcasting. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 1993.
  • Mott, Robert L. Radio Live! TV Live!. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2000.
  • PDSounds Free public domain and royalty free sounds.
  • SoundBible.com "The Encyclopedia of Sounds." Free sound clips, sound bits, and sound effects.
  • Sound Jay Free sound effects! Features background sounds, communication sounds, human sound effects, house and domestic sounds, machine and mechanical sounds, miscellaneous sounds, nature sounds, and transportation sounds.
  • The Sound Effects Bible. Ric Viers Michael Wiese Productions, ISBN 978 1 932907 48 3
  • Wilhelm Scream 1977-2007
Foley
  • Art of Foley. Since the early 1930s, the work of the Foley artist has been important for both television and film soundtracks. Before that, the art of creating realistic sound effects was important for radio as well. This website tutorial focuses on the art of Foley sound effects.
  • Back of the Mic. This film, produced in 1939 by the Jam Handy Organization for the Chevrolet Motor Company, provides an insider's view of the magic behind radio sound effects. Other videos about Foley are also available on YouTube.
  • Ament, Vanessa Theme. The Foley Grail: The Art of Performing Sound for Film, Games, and Animation. Focal Press, 2009. Witness the magic of moviemaking and journey into the little known world of Foley Artists, who bring films to life with their perfectly-timed sound-effects.
  • The Secret World of Foley. Dir. Daniel Jewel.
  • Sound effects props

Brown Innovations Directional speakers designed for focused listening in galleries, museums, and other crowded environments.

Bosebuild speakers
Build and customize your own durable, high-performance Bluetooth speaker for Apple devices. $149.00 (free shipping)

Building A Speaker from A Plastic Cup
See also YouTube ("DIY speakers," "Making speakers at home," etc.) for all kinds of ideas for making devices from plastic cups and bottles and paper and plastic tubes, as well as wood, to amplify sounds from your mobile devices.

Eco-Made
Recycled origami paper amplifiers for your iPhone and iPad. Different designs and colors.

Isobelo Audio
Hemispherical speakers designed for sound art applications, laptop orchestras

Onsia
Concealed in-wall or in-ceiling flat-panel speakers. Cool idea for installations!

Feonic
Concealed, hidden speakers)

Air2 CSBT-311 Levitating Bluetooth Speakers (red, pink, black, blue)

Mighty Dwarf
Resonating speakers. Seven watt speaker uses vibration resonance instead of the typical speaker membrane to turn any solid surface it's placed on into a speaker. Uses a microSD card, or cable, to play sounds. Rechargeable battery. Mounting brackets and replaceable gel pads available.

BlueII Bluetooth speaker
10 Watt output; competes with Breton Bluetooth speakers

Betron BPS60 Wireless Bluetooth Travel speakers
Made by a London-based British company specializing in mobile audio and music accessories.

Logitech's Ultimate Ears Mini Boom

Gen4 Digital Pillow Speakers
Made for medical applications but useful for creative projects See also Tsing Pillow Speakers. 3.5mm input plug. Sound level very low; require intimate listening experience; listener must be close to speaker in order to hear well.
See also Pillows with speakers

Spoken Word

Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice. Cathy Lane, ed. London: CRISAP, 2008.
The power of words can "mobilise people, to wage war, to tell a convincing story to illustrate cultural and social imbalances of power. . . . Non-verbal communication is also identifed as a 'weapon' of power, as is the suppression of language by colonial powers and the subsequent dangers of the loss of both language and culture" (10). Voice-based compositions and performances involve precise demands for listening and learning, but the immense possibilities realized from "playing with words" are inspirational and informative.
(Cathy Lane. "Forward." Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice. Cathy Lane, ed. London: CRISAP, 2008. 7-11.)

Voice is a technology immediately to hand, made from native materials. We need not seek some more remote technology (42). Writing, while an invaluable aid to memory, can be misleading (45).
(Ansuman Biswas. "Sound and Sense." Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice. Cathy Lane, ed. London: CRISAP, 2008. 41-47.)

Speech context may be heard as music . . . "restaurant soundscapes turned into huge spoken word choral performances and the hushed tone talking before the start of a movie was akin to the tuning of an orchestra before an evening performance." One can hear musical aesthetics in the speech contexts that surround them (59).
(Michael Vincent. "The Music in Words." Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice. Cathy Lane, ed. London: CRISAP, 2008. 57-61.)

"The voice also connects with so many things. When we speak we not only convey meanings but we portray things about ourselves, simple things like what gender we are or whether we are ill or healthy, but also, perhaps, what our intentions are, what our mood is. There are so many layers to the voice and once you incorporate language you can connect to traditions of poetry and drama and literature but also with the everyday use of speech" (71). . . . Qualities of personality come through voice as well (72). . . . This individual quality of voice can be captured (recorded) and abstracted with interesting results and implications (74).
(Trevor Wishart. Interviewed by Cathy Lane. Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice. Cathy Lane, ed. London: CRISAP, 2008. 70-77.)

"Language is the primary repository of culture and history, and once a language is no longer spoken, the rich knowledge it carries is gone forever." Sound art may offer a "para-linguistic strategy for exposing cross-cultural experiences that language itself cannot achieve" (81).
(John Wynne. "To Play or Not to Play?" Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice. Cathy Lane, ed. London: CRISAP, 2008. 78-84.)

Paul Lansky, recognized as one of the pioneers of computer music, notes that in using the computer as an instrument he is interested in "trying to project the image of the human performer behind the screen." He also notes a difference between works where the speech is recorded "everyday sound" and those that are written for the microphone. The latter, he says, is "performance" while the former is "eavesdropping" (109). Finally, "every composer is a story teller in a sense. Every time you write a piece you're telling a story in one way or another" (110). Lansky is speaking strictly of music composers, but we certainly could consider an expanded definition and role.
(Paul Lansky. Interviewed by Cathy Lane. Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice. Cathy Lane, ed. London: CRISAP, 2008. 108-111.)

"Art is what happens when you take an object out of context and give it a new thought." (Marcel Duchamp, in Calvin Tomkins, Duchamp. London 1997)

Leigh Landy, in his essay "Re-composing Words") calls this form of recycling "1% tilt" (142). Landy suggests the following project: use current radio broadcasts as found sound, take something known and change it ever so slightly (1% tilt) so that it becomes something new, and then present it as a work of art (144).
(Leigh Landy. "Re-composing Words." Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice. Cathy Lane, ed. London: CRISAP, 2008. 140-144.)

Words are the most powerful weapons in the world because they allow us to tell stories. It does not matter that these stories are old, or even whether they are true. What matters is that they are good stories. Good stories, about a villain, or a treasure, or a promise, or a right (perceived or real), can start wars. How do you combat that? Tell better stories.
(Laurie Anderson. Interviewed by Cathy Lane. Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice. Cathy Lane, ed. London: CRISAP, 2008. 180-185.)

Theory

Art of Noise, The
by Luigi Russolo, 1913. Many consider this letter / futurist manifesto as the start of sound art, because of its insistence on the musical value of environment sounds(s). Download as a .PDF file.

Tools

Sound Kit for Prototypes
A collection of interaction sounds for prototypes provided by Facebook.