home instructor courses Examples notes facilities resources

DRAM2620: Sound Design, Fall Semester, 2009
<< back

Group Project; from Drama 2620, Sound Design, Fall 2009

CHALLENGE: Create a multi-track recording of an original song.


"You", written and recorded by the students of DRAM 2620. (8.4 MB download)

Download this .jpg file (544 KB) to see a screen shot in Digital Performer 6.
Or listen to the recording in stages...

Friday, October 2, Student Recording (8.1 MB download)

Today the class, under the supervision of guest lecturer David Stipe, talked about possible subject matter for the song. The class decided upon the theme of "beer in the house." Sections of the song were assigned to various students in the class. During the week, the students used email to circulate lyric and music ideas. Classmate Justin Scott provided us with a basic musical starting place. He composed the idea using Logic, and the class agreed to use this musical bed as a starting place.


Friday, October 9, Student Recording (8.1 MB download)

During the previous week, classmate Charlotte Bush discovered a useful bass line loop. We adjusted the loop to fit into the track Justin Scott had provided the previous Friday. During our class today, Charlotte Bush, James Parker, Andrew Quilpa, Justin Scott, Izzy Sazak, and Paul Truitt all participated by singing and/or rapping the lyrics the class developed in the previous week. We decided we liked what we heard, and the students agreed to practice these parts in order to perfect them for recording next week. We also considered creating a second verse using a search for beer as a metaphor for really searching for a missed love. We also considered replicating a phone call during the intro of our song, and Allie Gardner agreed to write the script. Nick Kish and Muzahmil Zaveri agreed to begin working on creating drink related sound effects for our song.


Friday, October 16, Student Recording (8.3 MB download)

Today we recorded the chorus to our song as written and sung by James Parker. We used an Audio Technica 4033 condenser microphone and a pop screen. We stacked his voice using five takes of James singing the chorus. We then added dynamic compression, equalization, and delay to "fit" the five layer chorus into the greater mix of the song.


Friday, October 23, Student Recording (8.1 MB download)

Earlier in the week, classmate Sean McCoy sent a wave file of a new drum beat to incorporate into our song. Given our plan to record the rap section of the piece in class today (Brendt Harris' voice,) before class I imported it into our multi-track recording and created a new mix to underscore the rap section. After recording Brendt Harris rapping, we then asked him to add four additional tracks of "overdubs" to extend some of the words in his rap. Next we recorded Q (Andrew Quilpa) performing the first verse for the piece. We recorded to takes, and I later made a "best of" version of the two. I challenged the class members to bring an original script for a collage of "one-sided" phone calls between boyfriends and girlfriends in order to use for a collage just before the rap section. We will record these phone calls next Friday.


Friday, October 30, Student Recording (8.1 MB download)

Today we recorded every class member, including our guest faculty Marianne Kubik, improvising the one-sided phone calls. These were equalized, compressed, and processed to sound like cell phone speakers. I then created a collage of these recordings for the intro and bridge of the developing song.


Friday, November 6, Student Recording (8.2 MB download)

Charlotte Bush sung the second verse for us today. I illustrated pitch correction by altering some of the notes she sung. Later, I copied her vocal track and transposed to pitch to create a harmony part for the second verse.


Friday, November 13, Student Recording (8.2 MB download)

Classmates Nick Kish and Muzahmil Zaveri supplied the song with the sounds of cans being opened and the contents being poured out. We painted these into the beginning of the song. We then spent most of the remaining class time attempting to create a break mid song to incorporate the sounds again. We were not successful, because we felt the break disrupted the flow of the song. We then retracted our changes and left the sounds at the beginning of the song.


Friday, November 20, Student Recording (8.3 MB download)

Today we recorded Izzy "Izzay" Sazak improvising some vocal "ohhs." We recorded four takes and then made a "comp" track using the best sections of the four takes. We discussed compression, equalization, and reverb techniques for placing this recording into the mix. We are nearing completion of our song.

RECORDING INSTRUMENTS: 2 Audio-Technica 4030 condenser microphones, Shure SM58, 57 microphones, Crown SASS-P stereo condenser microphone, MacBook Pro (2.4 gHz Intel Core 2 Duo), 4 Gig RAM,
M-Audio Firewire 410 Audio Input/Output Device, Digital Performer 6, and Logic.

These materials are examples only. They are not for intended for commercial use.

Go to the University of Virginia home page
Last Modified:
December 7, 2009