Thursday, August 20, 2015

Two Neat Sound Things on NPR today

On my drive into work this morning, there were two (yes, TWO!) interesting articles on NPR about sound. The first was from 'The Loh Down on Science:' a piece about how the frequency of amplitude oscillation of a shout is what makes it so grating to our ears. Sandra Tsing Loh is on the faculty at UCI, so this piece is extra special because of that.

The second piece was on Morning Edition and was a piece about biologist/soundnerd Katy Payne's discover of how elephants communicate subsonically.  I often discuss Payne's research in my Introduction to Sound Design class, and I was delighted to learn more about her work this morning (and correct some misconceptions that I had).

Check them out!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015



The USITT Sound Commission is excited to announce the 2016 SoundLab Student Project.  Building on previous success, the 2016 SoundLab will focus on sound design content and creation for multi-channel theatrical playback. The SoundLab Student Project is a six-month long sound design project that culminates in opportunities for students to design in the 2016 SoundLab.

Beginning in summer 2015, USITT will take applications from student sound designers from high school, college, and graduate school programs. Each student will work with a mentor to analyze a play and develop a sound design concept. In December, students will submit their research and concept to the SoundLab Student Project organizers. The organizers will review all of the student submissions and invite selected students to move on to the second phase of the project.

In the second phase of the project, students will work with their mentors to turn their sound design concept into a realized piece of sound design. Again, students will submit their work to the SoundLab Student Project organizers, who will review the submissions. From the submissions, a small group of students will be invited to install their design in the 2016 SoundLab at the USITT Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In Salt Lake City, each student will have a reserved time slot to work with their mentor and USITT SoundLab staff to implement their design in the custom-built multi-channel SoundLab. Each design will then become a permanent part of the 2016 SoundLab, accessible by any attendee at the conference and possibly archived on the web.

Mentors can be current teachers or professors of the student, but if a student needs a mentor, USITT will help match students with mentors.

SoundLab 2016 Director of Programming Vincent Olivieri says that “the Student Project in Salt Lake City will be an exceptional opportunity for students from a wide range of backgrounds to work on a challenging project and make connections with sound designers from across the country.” Student Project Coordinator Drew Dalzell adds that students who participate “will have a unique opportunity to see a project through from conception, through research, and finally to its execution.”

Registration information can be found here.

Additional support for this project comes from Figure 53 and Samuel French.

For more information, email Olivieri at

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Happy Birthday Pierre Schaeffer!

It's Pierre Schaeffer's 105th birthday today!  He was a pioneer in the use of samples, so if you use samples in your work at all (and that includes 99.9% of sound designers), you owe him a debt of gratitude.

Check out a longer post on him over at Create Digital Music.