Fixing Sounds

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40 hours) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation.

 

Contributors:
Sound artists, composers

Project Manager:
Florise Pagès

 

Objectives:
What is “musique concrete”? It’s still around and on top form! It’s an art of musical composition, funny, subtle and surprising from a technical point of view, in which anything, literally anything at all, can become a sound substance. Once they have carried out the various stages that allow sounds to be fixed, each class has to devise a broadcasting system: choice of place, recorded and/or live sound, positioning of the sound sources and the audience, spatial effects, etc.

Workshops:
Lend me your ear
What do we do in order to listen? What do we hear around us? The contributor launches a mission to listen to the students’ environment and connects this to the sounds that make up the flagship pieces of musique concrete, which they then analyse together: a break, a gentle touch, a flash or a vibration.

The soundtracks of our lives
The class then discusses the narrative that it wants to put to music and what it wants to write with (an everyday object, a place, silence), and then the places it will record the resulting sounds and the objects with which to make these sounds: for example, the theme “A day at School” involves recording the walk to school, the bell, the shouts in the playground, the noise of the canteen, etc. Equipped with portable ZOOM recorders, Piezo microphones and iPads, the students create loops, chorus, echo, acceleration and repetition, and play sounds backwards, collecting sounds from all around them and creating others. They select and name these recordings and compile a sound database that they can dip into.

Craftsmen and women  
The students then begin the audio-processing phase. The classroom becomes a studio; equipped with software, mixing desks, effects pedals and headphones, they listen to their recordings and tweak them using various filters and transformation effects on them: the timbre, the attack, the grain, and so on. They listen to them again. The class then begins editing a sequence by arranging the sounds and managing the transitions, and eventually finalises a joint composition lasting several minutes.

 

Participating Schools:
- Paul Langevin, Drancy
- Gabriel Péri, Aubervilliers
- Pierre Degeyter, Saint-Denis
- Rosa Luxembourg, Aubervilliers
- Albert Camus, Neuilly-sur-Marne

 

Photos: DAMIEN DELDICQUE, JÉRÔME AUBRY & ALEXANDRE SCHUBNEL, LABORATOIRE DE GÉOLOGIE DE L’ENS PARIS. 

Fixing Sounds
Fixing Sounds
Fixing Sounds