Creating Sounds from Scratch – Syllabus

Creating your own sounds rather than relying on tired sound effect libraries can give your designs a unique aural vocabulary.  This course will provide a thorough introduction to the creation and manipulation of synthesized and sampled sounds.  We will use a series of software packages to build, analyze, and modify digital audio to create sounds that can feel realistic and/or fantastic. 


Creating Rich Story Supporting Ambiances

Students will be given prompts describing a background environment and at least 3 foreground sounds. They will then be tasked with creating the environment and foreground sounds using three different techniques: 1) All field-recording based; 2) All synthesized; 3) All “Foley” (in-studio effects recording)-based. Students will explore different techniques for establishing a scene and telling narrative stories through sound by being tasked with generating three distinct versions that all represent their prompt.

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Creating Ghosts

Students create soundscapes for three different ghosts. These soundscapes should be haunting in specific ways that relate to the cultural and personal history of the Ghost. Each of the three Ghosts must be distinctive and each haunting soundscape needs to draw us through a moment, they should not be static atmospheres but should tell a story.

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The One-Minute Sound Story

Students create a one-minute long sound track that tells any story that they choose using only non-verbal sounds. The sound stories are then played for the class and everyone except the person who created the story tries to determine what happened. Following this discussion the story’s creator describes their intention for the action of the story. The class then discusses which aspects of the story communicated well and how to improve those that did not.

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