IMA Number: 780.72 | 3 credits

Course Type: Production

Professor: Michael Gitlin

This class meets WED 3-6pm in HN 544

Full Course Description:

Sound Fields is a production course in which we make a wide-ranging approach to the critical and aesthetic possibilities of sound, both in relationship to the image and, importantly, as a thing in its own right.

We often think of the film/video experience as being primarily a visual one. We commonly speak about going to see a movie or watch a video; we don’t usually say we are going to hear a film or listen to a video, even though sound has been an important part of the experience for over 80 years. This course is a chance to reverse that polarity, to listen deeply, and to foreground the theories, techniques and tools of the audible experience.

Topics to be explored include: modes of listening; aural architecture and the locative quality of sound; definitions and cultural meanings of noise; musique concrete and the uses of found sound; some sound/image relationships; the voice in non-fiction film/video; and the varieties and functions of silence.

We will be listening to/looking at a wide variety of both historical and contemporary sound-only and sound and image work, including work by John Cage, Hildegard Westerkamp, Pierre Schaeffer, Glenn Gould, Janet Cardiff, Chris Marker, Luke Fowler, and Deborah Stratman, among many others.

There are two production assignments in the class. The first assignment will be an audio-only piece. In the second project, you can combine sound and image. For example, you might work on the sound design for a existing film.

We’ll have a bit of technical instruction in microphone usage and audio post- production. Previous experience with sound editing software such as Soundtrack Pro, Adobe Audition, or ProTools is not necessary, though some experience with picture editing software will be helpful.

Permissions: Cleared after advisement.