Sound Off – part 4

Hello, everyone! This is the story of what it might be like if The Beatles never broke up (based on the alternate history story I told, last week):

I grabbed all of the sounds and the music from Freesound.org and the Free Music Archive, with the exception of my own voice, which I recorded on my computer using a plug-in microphone. I recorded my voice over in my computer’s pre-installed voice recording software, and that and all of the background tracks were edited in Audacity. Each paragraph of my script was its own (series of) individual takes, which were then edited together into one singular track in Audacity.

I wanted to make mention of the fact that The Beatles’ music would most likely continue to evolve, throughout the decades, and how audiences might react to their continuous evolution, with some criticizing them for always changing their sound, and others defending them for their experimentation, but I wasn’t sure how to convey that through only sound and no dialogue, so I decided to marry the two. I used the same music cue at the very beginning and the very end to add some tonal consistency, as well as little samples of instruments and crowds cheering in places (the latter of which I looped three times) to illustrate certain points. I wanted to avoid using actual Beatles songs, for fear of being blocked for copyright, which is why I used free, public-domain tracks.

I also tried to avoid using the first-person, in my narration, to ensure that the story sounded like it was being told by an omniscient and unbiased narrator, like the stories told by¬†The Truth podcast, which I listened to, earlier this week. At first, however, I did think about using the first-person to make it seem like I, the narrator, was actually experiencing this alternate reality–I talked about how I was hyped for The Beatles’ next album, set to drop some time in the fall of this year, and that I would ask for it for my birthday–but in the end, I decided against it.

Like I feared, recording my lines was one of the hardest parts; most of the paragraphs required multiple takes, often because I either stumbled over words or in some cases I thought I sounded drunk! I definitely need more practice reciting lines, especially since I want to do online reviews someday, as a hobby, which will of course require me to read lines off of a script. In the end, though, I am mostly satisfied with the final results of my narration, as well as the track, as a whole.

Sound Off – part 3

Hello, everyone! I made a recording of myself performing a tongue twister as fast as I could, and set it to some music:

The tongue twister in question goes, “Send toast to ten tense, stout saints’ ten tall tents.” The background music is a track I found on the Free Music Archive, “Glouglou,” by Komiku. I found the image of the tent from Pixabay.

I looked for tongue twisters on tongue-twister.net. I thought about trying “I saw Susie sitting in a shoe shine shop…” and “How can a clam cram in a clean cream can,” but in the end I decided to do “Send toast…” simply because I liked how it sounded the best, and I didn’t want to do anything I was too familiar with, like “Peter Piper.”

I recorded myself using the voice recorder app already installed in my computer, with the aid of a small microphone I could plug into my computer. I honestly lost track of how many times I recorded myself trying to say the tongue twister, but it must’ve taken at least 15 tries before I got it a take that was satisfactory. I edited both the vocal track and the background music in Audacity.

I did find it a bit challenging to figure out how to mix the music track with the vocal track–the background track was pretty loud, so I had to reduce the gain on that and bring up the gain on the vocals, but I don’t think it’s quite perfect. I also tried to cut the background track at just the right time, which was also a bit challenging, but I did manage to figure that out eventually (after a lot of cutting tiny increments of the track).

I found actually saying the tongue twister to be a challenge, too, and I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to say it fast enough without stumbling over my words, which is something I occasionally do, even when talking at a normal speed! I know that, out of the at least 15 takes of my trying to say the tongue twister, I had to stop part-way through and trash the take because I mixed up words and sounds, which was frustrating. Luckily, though, I was able to say it without messing up most of the time; it was just a matter of the recording sometimes not picking up the first second of audio, or me not saying it fast enough to satisfy me.

Hopefully, this assignment and the alternate history audio narrative will help me with speaking better and more clearly, since that’s always been something I’ve been self-conscious about. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Sound Off – part 1

Hello, everyone! I would like to share with you all my sound effects story, about a person who stops an alien invasion and saves the world from certain destruction:

The narrative opens with someone walking down a busy street, on their way to work, when a flying saucer arrives and begins attacking, causing everyone else to run away in a panic. The protagonist then pulls out a blaster and starts firing at the aliens, who themselves retreat out of fear. The civilians cheer as soon as the alien ship is gone.

I downloaded all of the sounds used in this track from freesound.org, and edited them all together in Audacity. There were a couple of sounds (such as the applause heard at the very end) that were .wav files that I had to convert to mp3, in iTunes. The three laser blasts heard towards the end are actually all the same sound effect, which I duplicated in Audacity. I ended up using a total of eight different sound effects, for this track.

I knew that I wanted to make something more interesting than just an audio narrative about some average Joe getting up in the morning and going to work, but at first I wasn’t sure what else to do; I thought about starting with someone getting up in the morning and then falling down the stairs, at the end, but I didn’t want to risk doing something that someone else might have done, so I decided on an alien invasion, instead.

For me, the hardest part about this particular project was familiarizing myself with Audacity and figuring out how to arrange all of the tracks how I wanted them; beyond that, this assignment was both fun and not too difficult, interestingly enough–even though we’re all probably more familiar with audio/visual narratives, I found creating a story with only sound effects came pretty easily, to me.

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