This is somewhat for Alex, who asked for an example on how to do the 3 sound remix assignment for Networked Narratives. He’s spinning his audio wheels, which I said would likely happen. DONT PANIC!

We asked students to record and share three sounds of their morning routine, representing their preparation, transportation, and arrival at school or work- a transition from home to where they spend their days… These were to be shared as a response in the Sounds Tab at… calling on them to figure out how to record audio, get it on their computer, convert to mp3, and upload.

Since I work from home, more or less my transition happens during the morning dog walk (my 3 sounds).

The audio editing assignment was to download someone else’s sounds, and edit them together, adding a narration for a story you imagined taking place. I took a listen to all the sounds our students shared, and Rissa’s Morning Sounds stood out if only for the little bird sound I heard at the end of the first audio file. A little “cheep cheep” maybe a parakeet.

So my story is about the bird…

To make this, I downloaded all three of Rissa’s sounds from the YWP site, and imported them into Audacity (File -> Import Audio). The end up stacked in separate tracks, so I use the time shift tool (<-->) to slide them to the right so they go in order. I trim a few and apply fade-in / fade-out effects at the start and end, and also overlap them a bit.

Then I go to Freesound my favorite place for audio effects, because (a) there are so many and (b) they are licensed Creative Commons meaning the person who shared them is okay with me re-using them.

I searched on “bird flying” and decided to use a bit of Damn Crazy Bird by vflefevre because it sounded like a little bird zinging around. The next sound searching on “bird attack” and downloaded SoundMap of Lazio, Italy » Starlings loudspeaker – Ciampino by parcodeisuoni because the sharp sqwaking at the end. And lastly, the short ATTACK ZOUNDZ 1 » Attack Zound-67.wav by Jovica worked for a bit of bird cries.

These too I imported into Audacity, and shifted down the timeline, trimming a lot off of the first 2 because they are long. I wanted a sequence of the bird flying, then being attacked. I also left a silent gap deliberately after the last of Rissa’s sounds– a sudden drop of background sounds can be useful to shift, or emphasize a change in action.

I recorded my audio in the bathroom of a hotel I am staying at (because the heat was loudly humming in the main room, plus bathrooms provide some echo). I put in my headphones so as I record, I can hear my edited sounds and time my lines to where I think they match the audio. I got the recording you hear on the second try, it was good enough. I just made up the part in my head about my leg getting stuck, that might be my favorite part.

On playing back I ended up lowering the levels of some of the background sounds, using the “envelope” tool, especially to make Marissa’s sounds seem to retreat as the bird is left alone.

This was about 45 minutes from idea to publishing, but I have a good amount of experience in editing. But I had the arc of the story in my head all along, even without writing a thing.

Here are some screenshots from my Audacity editing:

(click for full size image)

Thanks Rissa for giving my a “sound” idea.

Featured image: “Abstract” pixabat photo by Extrabrandt is shared into the Public Domain using CC0.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so)


  1. Alan
    As you know (because you have done it for years in so many venues), the more we share the process and our thinking of how we compose with digital tools, the more others can follow the path. Great post.

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