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Fall Semester, 2009
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click! Franco Valdes from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

pianoSTATEMENT: For project three I am going to really let creativity take the front seat. The work of art I chose is a picture of a Grand Piano. It is not just any Gran Piano; it is one by Daniel Libeskind. It is a sharp edged, geometric shaped, black and white abstracted piano. I chose this picture one, because I love music and two, I love architecture of this sort. Combine both and I think I can create the best music to describe this work. My piece will be a modern representation of a classical piano concerto.

First, I will brainstorm and find the appropriate title for this piece. Also, I want to find a classical piece of music, most likely a heavy piano piece or a piano concerto piece. Second, after I have a minute and a half of a classical piece I will begin to create changes and cut and edit piece in and out on DP to create a distorted order and confusion within the music. Lastly, I will try to do to export this to Reason where I will add further effects and add a mechanical maybe industrial rhythmic pattern.

For finishing touches, I will export this piece out of Reason and back into DP to normalize, equalize, and add any other effects such as reverb, trim, and other mastering plug-ins to complete the piece.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, Logic, Reason, and GarageBand.


click! Qihan Zhang from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

pianoSTATEMENT: For my third project I will be using the picture “The Lion King” by ~erickenji from deviantArt.com. This picture is very powerful, the lion’s mane is completely represented by bright flames that seem to come from within. This picture has been my wallpaper for a while and would be interesting to attempt to covert it into a sound representation. My theme here is to intensify the grandness of this lion with deep bass drums, a flute playing a simple melody and occasional roars. I want to end the piece with the entire track going into flames. The length of the compilation will be around 1:00 long.

For the first part, we start with just the deep bass, at 0:08 we begin the flute melody. The deep bass will build up over time, up until 0:20, where there is a silence for the lions roar. I want to use plugins on the roar to modify its sound to a more god-like. The hard part would be putting together individual beats to create a progressive pattern, but if I can find a good drum track, I will modify the track instead to save time. After the roar at 0:25 I want to resume the flute and drums with a light crackling sound of fire in the background which will eventually consume the entire track as the track approached 1:00.  The final sound will be another roar which will sound more intimidating than the first.

The hardest part of this project is the creation of the melody and drum bass, which I want to be as dynamic as the picture itself. The build up will be similar to progressive trance music’s build up, with the contrast of silence in the middle with the roar.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, Logic, Reason, and GarageBand.



click! Arin Noble from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

pianoSTATEMENT: For my third project, I will use Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” which is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.  According to the MoMA’s website, Monet once said that the aim of his large Water Lilies paintings was to supply "the illusion of an endless whole, of water without horizon or bank."  When I visited the MoMA a few weekends ago, I was struck by the size and expansiveness of this work, its curved display that encompasses and draws in the viewer, and the way the water’s surface fills the canvas so that conventional vantage point clues are eliminated.  Viewing “Water Lilies” was a peaceful and meditative experience, which is what I would like to convey in my composition.

To accomplish this, I plan to write an orchestral piece that mimics the experience of a person viewing this painting—mainly, the peaceful and meditative atmosphere.  I want my composition to have an arched shape with a distinct beginning, middle, and end.  I want to begin with a solo cello, an instrument timbre that I find extremely calming and then slowly build in intensity.  To do this, I plan to add more stringed instruments—perhaps bass and violin—creating rich harmonies that convey the viewer being encompassed by the tri-paneled display and feeling pulled into the world of the painting.  The final section of my composition will return to a solo cello (to complete the arc) that will represent the viewer returning to reality and assumedly moving on to the next exhibit in the museum.

Mainly, for this project, I am interested in learning how to use the Software Instruments in Digital Performer.  This includes using the Piano Roll feature (if DP has a piano roll?) and also the MIDI keyboard.  I may want to incorporate some effects that would create a magical, warped sensation – almost as if the viewer is being pulled out of reality and into the dream world of Monet’s “Water Lilies”.  Finally, I may decide to incorporate some soundscape elements that convey the aquatic qualities of the painting.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, Logic, Reason, and GarageBand.



click! Franco Valdes from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: An Audio Environment: Students will recreate the sound of a realistic environment.

STATEMENT: "Outside the Club" For my second project, the Realistic Environment, my goal is to achieve the presence of being outside a packed club in Miami. I took this idea a bit from my first day in class, getting the sound to come through the wall. Being outside a club can be exciting but annoying at the same time. I will try to achieve this sound while I add sounds of the street and the other people also waiting in line.

The main aspect of this environment is the inside of the club and being outside of it I need it to sound coming through the wall. It is obviously loud inside and I have reproduce this sound although through a wall, still pretty loud. Also, I have to take this through the wall effect off for whenever the door opens which happens quite often, adding a door sound and bouncers speaking. Lastly, adding to this environment the sound of the city. People talking, heels on the sidewalk, cars passing, cars honking, and any other sound I might think of later.

To the song playing in the club I feel like simply an equalizer can do the trick. Using the high and low pass shelves and other tweaks to give it the through the wall feeling. Whenever the door open and closes it will be a short interval when I will in addition to the more muted song I will let the original play through. Adding in this time the sound of a door opening and closing which might end up dimming out too much. In a separate track will be the miscellaneous sounds such as the cars passing, tires maybe screeching, honking, people in the atmosphere, people walking by, and anything else I can come up with later. This track will be carefully paned and using the proverb and the equalizer make it full and sound realistic.

SOURCE MATERIAL:Various pre-recorded sound effects and original sound recordings.


click! Qihan Zhang from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: An Audio Environment: Students will recreate the sound of a realistic environment.

STATEMENT: For my second project I will be creating a urban battlefield where you can hear gunshots being exchanged from close and far corners of the surrounding area. The object of this project is to simulate the experience in first person perspective and to replicate the sounds you hear in an urban firefight. The point of view would be a stray soldier trying to escape the death zone. The length of the compilation will be around 1:45 long.

For the first part, we start off slow with some simple footsteps on pavement and gear shuffling around. Then unclear radio messages will be heard in the distance. The background picks up with light gunfire in the distance followed by silence. A sense of escape can be added with constant gasps for air while the gunfire is heard. The sound of running will contain many elements, including elements like bags shifting around, gear jumbling, footsteps on pavement. The gasping will stop at around 0:20 and that is when you hear a distinct stop in breathing as there are people in the distance coughing. From 0:20 to 0:40 the soldier puts on a gas mask, and the breathing through a gas mask will last until the end of the track, if I can successfully create a gas mask sound filter. This is where another unclear radio message will be heard, but this time it is much louder, signifying that the soldier was spotted by the enemy. From 0:40, everything will pick up as the breathing, gunfire and running all pick up to signify running away. After 20 seconds of the escape, the soldier is safe and takes off the mask and gasps for fresh air. Then he pulls out his canteen and starts gulping down water for 10 seconds. This part will sound very crisp and refreshing, and you can even hear some birds chirping, but this peace soon stops as a door is kicked down and gunfire opens. More running and more gunfire exchange until you hear a loud thump as the shooter dies. This gunfight will include windows breaking, grenades and a lot of panting and running, which should last until 1:30. For the last 15 seconds, the soldier will pull out a cigarette and a lighter and you can hear him light the lighter and smoke the cigarette, with the slight burning sound and the deep inhale and exhale. This will end the project at around 1:45.

This project will use many sound samples that may not go together, and that may cause some elements, such as the gas mask, to be removed. There will be walking and running all throughout the track, varied by the intensity of the situation. The hardest part will be creating a mix of running, gear shifting, footsteps and panting that sounds together.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects and original sound recordings.


Spring Semester, 2009
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click! Kai Chang from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: An Audio Environment: Students will recreate the sound of a realistic environment.

STATEMENT: The rhythms at the end of class are beautiful and subtle. In a large lecture hall, the same sorts of actions may be repeated hundreds of times: notebooks flipping closed, pens clicked shut, backpacks zipped, and the shuffle and swish of coats against students. In the moment before the professor dismisses his class, the tapping of toes and anxious whispers. Then from the corner of the echoing hall: a small but resounding “goodbye”, the scraping of chairs, a shower of footsteps, and glimpses of thoughts from amidst the dull roar of eager conversation. The track acquires rhythms of sounds in all different locations, which grow to a mildly chaotic din, then dull back down to a few after-class questions in an echoing hall. For each sound (footsteps, for instance), I would like to find 5-7 samples to use. No more than 12 should be needed to provide a sense of accelerating activity, until the same sounds can used repeatedly. As the slumberous class finally wakes up, these sounds get lost in a background din. This din begins roughly uniform on all speakers, then increases on the side and back channels as the class pours out. Sporadic noise in random corners (with slight echoes on all channels) occurs throughout the track: nearby whispers before class lets out, shouting during the stampede, and then loitering students afterwards. To recreate the lecture hall environment, I will have to play around with equalizers and echo tools. I'm not familiar enough with techniques to do this, so it will be mostly trial and error.

SOURCE MATERIAL:Various pre-recorded sound effects and original sound recordings.


click! Audrey Edwards from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: An Audio Environment: Students will recreate the sound of a realistic environment.

STATEMENT: The reality of life and death is a topic not many individuals would venture contemplating, especially the reality of death. Unfortunate as it is for some of these people, dying is all part and partial of the circular nature of the human existence. Both life and death are part of the human experience, and both should be viewed as a beautiful celebration, a capture and release of life that we humans are privileged to experience in this short existence. In light of these ideas, I thought it would be interesting to create a realistic environment of a funeral from inside a coffin. What I hope the listener will gain from this is a realistic perspective of one individual’s interpretation of what life after death sounds like. Here are some sounds I am considering for the project: -Person reading prayer -Person giving a eulogy -Wind -Rain -Snow -Trees blowing in the wind -People crying -People laughing -People walking on grass -People throwing dirt on the coffin -Bagpipes -Violin -Guitar -Some sort of instrument playing a hymnal of some kind I also realize that for this project I will have to find a way to make all the sounds seem muffled and surrounding the listener on both sides.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects and original sound recordings.


click! Chad Kuchem from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: An Audio Environment: Students will recreate the sound of a realistic environment.

STATEMENT: For my second project, I would like to create a realistic soundscape of an administrator walking down the hallway of a music conservatory. My hope would be to successfully depict the actions of a director listening in each of the music hall’s rooms. I also hope to capture the chaotic, yet synchronous sounds that you would hear altogether from the hallway.

I want to utilize sounds that would depict the administrator entering the hallway, walking down the hallway, opening doors, thinking to himself (out loud), and speaking to others. In addition, I want to depict the soft jumbled music that you might hear with the doors closed and contrast it with the clear music you would hear in a specific room.

To begin, I will have the administrator open and walk through the main door and be mumbling to himself. You will hear a door open, footsteps, and background noise. For each door he approaches, that specific music/sound will become louder. In the first room he enters, there will be a pianist playing solo and the director will comment to himself about his quality. He will then exit and walk farther until entering the next room, which will have a violinist playing solo and again he will comment on the quality. He will then exit the room and continue on down the hall. In the next room will be a drummer, to whom the director comments could be better. He will leave and go to the final room, where a pop singer will be singing unaccompanied. He will stay listening to the singer the longest until her song ends, at which point he will praise her and then leave the room. He will then exit the hallway and the piece will end.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects and original sound recordings.


click! Audrey Edwards from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: When searching for a subject for this project, I stumbled across this picture. I’m not sure what the name of this photograph is, or who the artist is, but I like it nonetheless. The main reason why I was initially drawn to this photo was the contrast between movement and stillness. Additionally, I like the openness of the composition, again, giving the feeling of energy and movement while maintaining this contradictory still motionless-calm. When translating this image to sound, I plan to use many realistic sounds and then distort them. Literally speaking, the photo has this inherent blurry quality that dictates the distorted aspect I hope to bring to the sound project. Additionally, the photo has this crisp clear quality, which I hope to translate into a more open consistent sound.

In this project I hope to contrast and meld the two different feelings evoked from this photograph. I want to create an audio environment that will start with the energetic noises and then pan to calm sounds throughout the track.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, and GarageBand.


click! Chad Kuchem from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: For my third project, I would like to depict the sound resonating from my favorite painting, The Nightwatch, by Rembrandt van Rijn. This is a fascinating painting that portrays Frans Banning Cocq and his company of militiamen, along with a few other strange characters. The painting is known for its effective use of light and shadow, along with a wonderful perception of motion. In my project, I would like to capture this motion and the different emotions that the collective group might have experienced through the watch.

I will try to make my project depict the chaos and commotion of the group, while maintaining a sense of order through a progression of collective feelings. This can come to fruition by using crowd noises and specific sounds along with a wandering beat and orchestral music. I want to take advantage of the drummer that is pictured and use a military snare sound for the beat.

The piece will begin with developing crowd noise as the group assembles. Then, Frans Banning Cocq, the captain, might give a slight speech to the importance of the night watch. This will be followed by the military drumbeat and the beginning of an orchestral strings piece that exudes alertness. The sound of the drummer and the strings will then die out to the sounds of the crowd as everyone becomes tired and less focused. Then I would like to direct the listener’s attention to one of the most important figures in the painting, the girl in the center. I would like to drown out the crowd noise and begin a soft, melodic orchestral piece at this point, along with the sound of a girl playing. Then, abruptly, and I would like to play a harsh, fast orchestral piece that exudes danger and action. The drummer and horns will then sound and the crowd will liven. These sounds will build till the end of the piece at which point the listener is left questioning what may have occurred.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, Logic, Reason, and GarageBand.



click! Matt Miller from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: For my third project I plan to take Angel Turner Dyke’s painting “New Orleans Night Light” and created a soundscape that both puts the listener in the painting while being present for its creation as well. I want the soundscape to start bare and plan as the canvas was to begin with, move into the basic drawing of the pole and light that is the center of the piece. From there I want it to progress with the signs as they are written incorporating the feeling and sensations of both of those locations in New Orleans, and finally moving to vibrant sounds as representations of the background.

The soundscape will begin with either a very low rumble of a street or pure room tone. I then plan to bring in sounds that have a metallic and tin feeling to them perhaps some brass or metallic percussion. Then I will move in sound progression from left to right starting with sounds from Royal Street in New Orleans like small jazz bands and sounds of the river banks. The Bourbon Street sign will be personified with people sounds, happy conversation and maybe a little dance music with sounds of drinks being poured. At a certain point I want to bring up the volume of it all as if the sound is being lit up by the flames of lamp. After that I plan to bring in fun, vibrant sounds incorporating both jazz and creole music.

The sounds I use will be comprised of many of my own creation using preloaded instruments in GarageBand and Reason. I will also use some true to life sounds from New Orleans areas like Bourbon and Royal Streets. Lastly the piece will be comprised of various Caribbean, Creole, and Jazz instruments.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, Logic, Reason, and GarageBand.


click! Brittany Pryor from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: My goal is to create a sound design that represents “Fusion”, an abstract painting by Prince Asher. I want to capture the energy, movement, and color in the painting. This painting makes me feel like a whirlwind. It feels like something deep and dark within me that is trying to break free from an organized chaos.

I would like to use the sound of a tornado coming and wind. I would also like to capture a deep, dark sound. I would like to find a sound of a stampede and of growling or howling. I want to either make or find a sound of animal hunger. I then want to create a sound of yelling. I want the yelling to sound deep and dark then get louder and brighter and the muffled and blended into the sound of the whirlwind. I would like all of my sounds to be distinct and then come together at the end to create the organized chaos that I’m trying to accomplish.

I will accomplish this by finding sounds of in the sound effects file and then creating my own sounds in Reason and GarageBand. Below is a list of sounds I have found that I would like to use in my project.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, and GarageBand.


click! Grove Miller from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: I propose to create a soundscape inspired by the architectural design of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. I stopped there on my way out to west last summer, and rode the elevator to the top. It has a very simple yet elegant metallic design, and I hope to reflect that in the timbres I choose for the different sounds. Using the basic architectural structure of the arch, I will try to arrange this piece in a way that reflects that basic symmetry with sound materials. For instance, I could use the arch form to map a general rising and falling curve in frequency or resonance. I’m not sure exactly where this concept will take me in the sound world, but I will try to use as many of the architectural features of the arch in my sound design as possible Some of the parameters and effects I will explore are reverb, filters and resonance. In addition to using MIDI software synthesizers and recorded sounds, I hope to try to incorporate my own computer-generated sound files using the program RTcmix from my Computer Sound Generation class. This will allow me to finely sculpt the timbres I use, without relying too heavily on pre-recorded samples and designer plug-ins.

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, CSound, Albeton's Live.


click! Kai Chang from Sound Design: Studio


CHALLENGE: The Use of Metaphor in Sound. Create a sound design representative of visual art.

STATEMENT: The goal for this sound design project is to create a soundscape that reflects the work of kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen. In particular, I want to create an aural representation of two of his creatures in an engagement on the beach: the Animaris Rhinoceros and Animaris Currens Ventosa. The two creatures use a similar mechanism for walking, Theo Jansen's "new wheel". I would like to capture the mechanics of this wheel in as much detail as possible, as well as the lumbering rhinoceros and delicate ventosa. No particular video or image will be use specifically -- instead I will watch a couple of videos to get a sense of the sculptures as a whole. Jansen says that one of his goals is to have an entire beach of these creatures mingling about. A moment in time on this beach, a crossing of these two creatures, is the goal of my sound design.

Before the engagement can happen, the creatures must be introduced separately. We have not yet been exposed to the MIDI software we'll be using in class -- so much of what I want to achieve will be limited by what I can learn to do in time. For both creatures I want a similar pattern, perhaps at different pitches or tempos, to represent the walking action of Jansen's wheel. To get a sense of the walking and motion, these patterns will pan from across the room in various direction (FL to BR, for instance). The rhinoceros needs to sound heavier and more deliberate; the Ventosa is lighter, airier, more delicate and with flapping wings. Finally, the piece will reach a climax when you hear both creatures approaching at once from opposite sides of the room. As the creatures get closer, the room is a chaotic jumble of the "new wheel" pattern. The creatures pass close to each other -- almost colliding -- then go back off into the distance.

Some possible effects: Panning across speakers to get a sense of motion. Volume shifts to establish distance. Plugins: reverb, equalizers, etc, which establish large open space (beach). Violin or other legato instrument for ventosa wings. A distinct, less ordered violin for beach wind and surf. This will also serve as a pad for the whole track Simple musical pattern to serve as a base for Jansen's wheel. Variations on this simple pattern to establish different moods Maybe a minor version, a slow version, a much deeper version. The pattern may overlap on many different scales (pitch, tempo, etc) to get a sense of the complexity of these machines Trombone, bass, or other deep noise for rhinoceros lumbering...

SOURCE MATERIAL: Various pre-recorded sound effects, original recordings, Logic, Reason, and GarageBand.


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February 15, 2010