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DRAM262: Sound Design, Spring Semester, 2009
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Group Project; from Drama 262, Sound Design, Spring 2009

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


"Cellar Door", written and recorded by the students of DRAM 2620. (8.54 MB download)

Download this .pdf file (94 KB) to see a screen shot in Digital Performer 6.
Or listen to the recording in stages...

Friday, February 8, 20, and 27, Student Recording (562 KB download)

On Friday, February 8, we met as a group and established a lyric team and a music team. We determined to spend one school week creating a musical plan to proceed with. On Friday, February 13, we met again and shared each respective group's ideas. It was determined that we would proceed with a latin influenced composition. The lyrics team continued experimenting with lyrics. On Friday, February 20, we all met in the Department's new Sound Design and Technology Classroom for a demonstration explaining the possibilities of MIDI as a way to realize our original music. On Friday, February 20, cellist and classmate Laura Nessler used Audacity to recorded this idea for the music portion of the song. Later that day, classmate Steve Gottschling took Laura's idea and remixed the file. He then provided this interpretation of Laura's work complete with lyrics. By Friday, February 27, classmate Becca Zapfel became inspired to import parts of Laura's work into GarageBand and add a simple latin rhythm and brass to it. We later imported her basic rhythm into Digital Performer as a rhythmic template to base the rest of the recording on. Classmate and guitarist Austin Blanton on used an audio editor to mix all of the above ideas with this guitar part he created. Other students including Laura Muschelli, Evva Gandy, and Ashley Romanians began experimenting with a theme for the lyrics of our song.


Friday, March 13, Student Recording (3.31 MB download)

We made our first group recordings today. Austin Blanton brought his guitar and Laura Nessler brought her cello to class. We set up four discreet microphone channels and made quality recordings of their ideas using Becca's basic latin rhythm as a template.


March 27- April 10, Student Recording (8.4 MB download)

During this period, several classmates began sharing ideas via email and .mp3. While I was away working in New York as sound designer for a new musical, classmate Jacquie Walters sent this mockup of her improvising a melody with a previous recording. On April 8th, Austin Blanton revamped his guitar part and sent this mockup as a suggestion about how to finish the music portion of our song. Classmate Sebastian Arze then combined both Jacquie and Austin's recordings with his own Portuguese voiceover to make this final suggestion for the form of our song. I rearranged the master recording match his suggestion. The lyric writers continued to develop lyric content during this this period.


Wednesday, April 15, Student Recording ( 8.42 MB download)

Before class today, I found some latin drum phrases in GarageBand and exported them as wave files. I imported them into our Digital Performer project and artfully combined them with our song to provide a stronger sense of rhythm. Then in class we recorded classmate Jacquie Walters singing the verses. On Wednesday, April 8th, we talked about microphones and in order to best illustrate their varying sound quality, we made several recordings of Ashley Romanias saying "cellar door." This must have been of some inspiration to one of the members of the lyric team, Laura Muschelli, who presented us with some wonderful lyrics utilizing the phrase. I later sent out this mix of the singing with the track to the class so they could create some counter melodies to be hummed in the space after each verse. We plan to record classmate Sebastian Arze speaking Portuguese in these sections.


Friday, April 17, Student Recording (8.47 MB download)

Today we continued recording classmate Jacquie Walters singing the verses and choruses of the song. We also recorded classmate Sebastian Arze speaking Spanish phrases that contrast what the English lyrics tell us. I altered the rhythm section of our piece by importing some prerecorded rhythms from GarageBand. This added variety to the drum parts of our song. We also experimented with vocal stacking for effect on the choruses.


Wednesday, April 22, Student Recording (8 MB download)

Classmate Bjorn Falk brought his Epiphone electric guitar in today and played a guitar solo for the middle of the song. We experimented with chopping up his performance to make an "ultra" guitar solo. He connected his instrument directly to our audio input device and we use an amp simulator to give a Carlos Santana timbre.


Friday, April 24, Student Recording (8.54 MB download)

Earlier in the day, I loaded last period's mix into GarageBand and recorded some MIDI bass and string tracks. I exported each respectively as wave files and later imported them into our multi-track Digital Performer project. During today's class period, we started by recording Laura Nessler on cello. We added bowed cello under the guitar solo and then continued with a solo cello part. We added cello at the end of the piece as well. Next, classmate Steve Gottschling added a spoken part that I later moved to end of the song. Finally, classmate Jordan Allen added some sung responses to the third verse.

RECORDING INSTRUMENTS: 2 Audio-Technica 4030 condenser microphones, Shure SM58, 57 microphones, Crown SASS-P stereo condenser microphone,
Apple i Mac 24" (2.4 gHz Intel Core 2 Duo), 2 Gig RAM and MacBook Pro (2.4 gHz Intel Core 2 Duo), 4 Gig RAM,
M-Audio Firewire 410 and TC Electronics Konnect 24D Audio Input/Output Devices,
Digital Performer 6, GarageBand '08, and Propellerheads' Reason 4.0.

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

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Last Modified:
April 26, 2009