Traversing Tompkins – Soundscape

Tompkins Square Park is an epicentre of a multitude of conflicting events and emotions. Enter and you hear the overwhelming volume of ambulances whizzing by, skateboards grinding against cement, and children hollering in the playground. However, this constant mayhem doesn’t persist for long as you traverse the cobblestone pathways. Entering the centre of the grass-clad and sun-filled park, your mind is set at ease from the city noise, interrupted only by the crunch of fall leaves and fragments of a stranger’s story.

My composition attempts to show this shift in calmness as it takes the audience on a journey through this park. We begin by entering and instantly hearing the chaos around the gates, as shown through the sound of travel and motion: whirring ambulances, motorcycles, and bicycles. The presence of the ambulances creates a slightly eerie mood and sets the listener off with a sense of discomfort in this loud noise. Then, quieting down, the listener is left with the sound of a lonesome journey, walking through the park alone and only hearing sounds and conversations of passersby. Just as the listener adjusts to this volume and relaxes within it, the journey is already ending and we exit the park, as shown through the increase in the volume of street sounds, including the ever-present ambulances near the park.

As this is my first time truly working with sound, I can say that I feel more confident in my abilities with both recording using a mic and editing with Adobe Audition. I enjoyed testing an area that I’ve never approached or spent much time thinking about previously!

I used many layers of audio in my composition and enjoyed blending them in different ways in order to create a natural sounding balance and smooth transitions.

Process Work

After presenting my audio to the class, I received helpful feedback regarding the volume of my audio. The aim was to shift from bolder, louder sounds at the start and end to mellow, muted sounds in the middle. While I achieved this through the content of the audio, shifting from street sounds to more natural pieces, the volume remained almost consistent in volume in the piece. After receiving this feedback, I realized this flaw and would change it if I could.

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