The Power of Sound:  An Appropriator’s Take [Tentative Title]

For my capstone, I would like to create an audio-only story that juggles the moral and ethical implications of audio appropriation and editing in various forms of sound art, including installations, music, and audio journalism.  My story will feature numerous sources, which will be a mixes of multiple people that I actually interview.  Generally, my project will provide a creative commentary of appropriation while presenting it in a heavily appropriated way.

My project will be presented as an issue story, but given the creative jurisdiction I will give myself, it will actually be a fictional story that is themed around an issue.  Within journalism, an issue story takes an in-depth look at a certain topic by providing historical context, introducing both sides and mentioning how the issue affects the public.  Through narration and scholarly references, I will provide context to my topic and talk about how it affects us.  However, the implementation of the source I create will dictate the direction in which the story will go.  My project will also utilize some mixing of natural and ambient sounds in order to create scenes and settings to the story that I think will be fitting for what I am going for.

What I plan to do is interview a large number of people in order to provide the voices for the sources I am creating.  I want my sources to be a combination of about 4-5 people; ideally, the voices I use for one source will not cross over to another.  However, before I fully flesh out my sources, I will create a rough storyline for my project.  Preferably, I would introduce my “issue story” with an anecdote from one of my sources.  Of course, the anecdote I create will depend on the type of responses I get from my interviews.

Another critical stage of my capstone is conceptualizing the sources I plan to create in order to make the editing process easier.  Determining the general characteristics of the sources before getting deep into the recording process will make it much easier to determine what type of sounds I need and what kind of questions I need to ask in my interviews.  My story will be in the form of a waveform audio file, but I am not sure how I am going to present my capstone beyond that.  I want this story to be versatile in terms of presentation; it can be something you listen to with large speakers, headphones, or through your computer speakers.  Of course, I want my sound quality to be clean and pleasant sounding with minimal to no clipping.

Though this project has a lot of creativity ingrained into it, reporting and sound recording are two things needed to conduct it properly.  The journalism classes I have taken in the past have given me the necessary skills to do these things, and the digital sound course I took last semester gave experience with Audacity and other audio editing technology.  I currently have a Tascam DR-05 recorder, but I will probably need more sound recording equipment, which is something I have access to with both the journalism school and DCC.


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