Skip to content

Audio Reflection (auf Deutsch! :D Actually in English)

This project was less of a doozey than the last. I managed the baseline criteria: make the audio of appropriate length; use three audio tracks; adjusted the bass and treble mix of the audio tracks and went splice-happy. No licenses were used, since I generated all the audio. I used a script of two original texts: a poem from high school, and a reflection paper for my German drama class. Those (along with a ‘translation’ of both pieces to be used for the audio revision) are my source texts which I manipulated for this audio project. I recorded some strumming and chord progressions modelled around “I’d Like to Walk Around in Your Mind Someday” by Vashti Bunyan. (I justify here fair use because firstly, the song is used in an educational context; and secondly, the song was not copied in its exact original form without modification.) Altogether, I think the project well-met the baseline criteria, as I have just outlined. I will later approach aspirational criteria.

As for the rationale, I had some good ideas and some weaker. The poem and German essay came from a place of teacher-appreciation. I decided to create my audio project based on these two pieces, because I really don’t think students frankly discuss how much they and their thinking have been shaped by teachers and professors. Giving that appreciation shows the instructor that they perform their duties impactfully, but also shows the student’s willingness to admit that their earlier ideas or blank slates required improvement and addition. That process is long and arduous. I thought it appropriate to display its fruits.

And as for the musical track, its original lyrics relate thematically to my intentions. In Vashti’s song, the narrator speaks in apostrophe, and enumerates the ways they would “like to walk around in [the recipient’s] mind someday”. Though I could not use the lyrics as an intertext, I tried to use some of the mellow chord progressions to convey a heartwarming mood to complement the spoken poem and German essay. This bespeaks much about my intentions, insofar that I wanted to create a charming and heartfelt audio production. Take that as one of my goals. Another one of my goals was to successfully and artistically merge an English and German clip. This is more up in the air, and I’m uncertain whether I’ve accomplished it in this iteration. I’ll come back to that in revision.

As for challenges, the biggest were in recording and production. I don’t know if it was cleverer to produce all of my own audio rather than to use prerecorded samples. It caused frustration in getting the equalization on my guitar tracks right, only to discover that my old Peavy amp buzzes weirdly and doesn’t record direct-line audio right. So, I set up my condenser and stuck with recording my acoustic guitar. That worked fine, and adjusting the bass and treble in Audacity made the guitar track sound rich and smooth. Another problem was that my laptop microphone sufficed for nothing in this project. It was fine to draft on, but besides that, the quality was crap, it didn’t pick up audio strongly enough, and I doubt the ability to master tracks rendered from it well. Breaking out the condenser microphone solved this immediately. Even if it’s a cheap microphone, it’s of good quality. And altogether, though it required more time, I’m happier with myself that I recorded my own audio. It provided me a great range of creative freedom I wouldn’t otherwise have.

In terms of aspirational criteria, my project meets a mixture of the criteria. I think the volume balanced well, with the guitar track not overpowering the vocals. Clipping was also eliminated where heard, and I made sure the volume balance wasn’t overwhelming. I believe the switches between the English and the German were discernable enough, in that there were sufficient spaces between the differing clips. (Although, I think the transitions could be tightened. Choppiness was nonexistent, though, from having cleaned up the audio.) The effects new to me were: envelope, bass and treble, and crossfade. Envelope was useful for minimizing clipping and reducing S-hiss; bass and treble for adjusting the equalization; and crossfade for making deliciously slick transitions between two track sections. I believe I used alignment to position the poetry and essay clips to be in pseudo-conversation with each other. This is conveyed specifically by the essay clips following each stanza, as if to comment with example. This alignment leads to my genre methods, which would come from poetry readings (not uncommonly done to music) and bilingual text and audio. In layering the poem over the guitar track, I enacted a modern practice of poets backing their live readings with music. For the bilingual nature of the project, it’s a matter of each language commenting on a source text. As for audience, it would seriously have to be bilingual German-English speakers interested in artforms such as poetry and drama. There’s not controverting that. As for emphasis of the sources’ meanings or overtones, I’m unsure if accomplished that.

Alright, that’s my longwinded reflection! I hope that provided much more background on my audio project than what I provided for my visual.