Pauline Oliveros – Pioneer of Electronic Classical Music

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Pauline Oliveros is an American improvisor, accordionist and composer who is considered a pioneer of electronic classical music in 20th century America. At 81 years old, her career spans some fifty years of boundary breaking music-making, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards. On April 1st 2014, she performs a real-time improvised performance linking musicians in Stanford (California), Troy (New York) and Montreal. This is the first performance of this kind in the UK at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

The performance forms part of Frontiers: Extraordinary Music from Downtown New York & Birmingham, a major festival of music presented by Birmingham Conservatoire and Third Ear.

Listen to Pauline being interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour here:

The Beauty of being able to hear sound…

To my great shame as the Programme Leader of Audio Production, up to now I have not made one single contribution to our blog! It’s not that I have nothing to say, (I contribute to other blogs and usually have too much to say!!!). No, it is simply that I enjoy reading what others are doing and what they have to say about it.

However, I was born with perforated eardrums and suffered as a child with very painful ear problems. Worse still I stammered! Indeed it is with some irony, that through one such bout of illness aged 6 & 1/4, I was introduced to the world of radio drama courtesy of my grandma’s light blue and cream Bush Radio (with a big round dial on it). I moved it backwards and forwards and thought it looked like a face. Then I found something, some BBC announcer halfway through telling what, I the listener was about to hear! I didn’t move that dial again for over an hour. Oh and as you’re asking, the play was a dramatisation of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I was in that world, I was in the ‘world of the wireless’ and my imagination had been switched on. No gadgets, no fancy visuals, apps or wires, just a mono speaker emanating voices, music and sound effects. At that point, my world changed forever: a true epiphany! It became reinforced and reinvigorated as my love of music grew…pop and classical mainly! In the 1970s, like every teenager of the time, as a sort of ‘rite of passage’, I awaited the chart rundown on a Tuesday lunchtime, crowding, clutching my lunch token, and in all weathers, around a radio to hear my favourite records and finding out what position they had made it to in the chart! Getting a record player from my parents and collecting all those records, the singles, now on the shelves behind me where sit and write this piece, meant freedom. The space of my bedroom, became my listening world: the albums meant listening pleasure, they were a backdrop to history homework, and listening with friends. Listening to music made me want to be in a band – and I still do that to this day. And, of course, I moan about not getting the correct bass sound or piano sound or if my mic is not set right!

So, from what had been a source of misery for me, with constant hearing, nose and throat trouble, the simple act and enjoyment of being able to hear: to listen eventually allowed me to enter into a world of making sound for others to hear: to listen to. Later, I have encouraged others, students, my children, and friends to make sound for others to listen to! Not only did hearing and listening became a ‘taken for granted’ pleasure, it also of course become part of my career. The beauty of being to hear and listen is summed up for me in Madeleine L’Engle’s Sci-Fi novel the Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978)  ” Part of doing something is listening. We are listening. To the sun. To the stars. To the wind”. We take hearing and listening for granted in many ways, and why shouldn’t we? We are audio/radio/music scholars! It is part of what we are about, our make-up, and why we are in the community of audio scholars.

Today, I saw a piece in the newspaper and then on the TV about a lady called Joanne Milne. She was born profoundly deaf, and now at the age of 39, through the marvels of technology, she has the power of hearing for the very first time. When I read and saw her story I was moved to tears. I ask you to click on the link and read and watch this too! Imagine living 39 years, indeed all of your life without knowing what sound is, and then being introduced to it for the first time? Despite my dodgy start, I realise how lucky I have been to experience the world/my world of sound and music. I hope you might be moved by it too…thank you for reading my first post!

Good wishes

Bryan

 

‘Dubbing Doctors’ – with BBC’s Richard Hastings-Hall

Richard Hastings-Hall visited Audio Production level 2 students today to talk about ‘dubbing mixing’, in particular mixing for medium budget daytime drama and the technical and creative constraints that working on shows like this can have. They are often handled very differently to other dramas, documentaries and television series etc.

For example the directors of these daytime dramas are not paid to be present at the final mixing session – it’s only the Exec Producer who signs off the mix.
Richard Hastings-HallRichard brought his Pyramix set-up (made by Emerging Technologies) with him which sadly did have some technical issues – but this was a good example of how ‘anything that can go wrong – will go wrong’. A thankyou must go to Luke Johnston who showed his skill in drive re-mapping!.

Some students found it reassuring that it wasn’t ‘just them’

Richard mentioned metering and loudness, and the need for good adherence to technical standards.
To find out more about the BBC delivery requirements look here

Richard revealed that often with quick turn around drama shows like Doctors – the sync sound recordings are not always perfect. the crew often doesn’t have time to go again. So very often

The dubbing team are left to ‘fix it in post’. Alternative lines of dialogue are hunted down from the rushes, smoothing techniques are used and generally the pressures are such that all this must be done in one 12 hour session. No foley ar ADR sessions are possible.

“In Doctors we don’t have time for foley sessions, so we have to be very resourceful when it comes to our use of time. Much of what we do is fixing problems”

Louise Wilcox, another dubbing mixer was featured in an article in the Institute of Professional Sound Website which may be of interest

 

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On another occasion during a Jane Austin themed episode he went overboard on a fight scene and had to remix it due to a topical news event which happened close to transmission.

Richard also talked about Brinkburn Street for BBC, which presented some unusual sound dillemas, as it was set in both the present day and the 1930’s so sometimes there were horses and carts outside the houses and sometimes jet engines and traffic. See iPLayer

Richard has been a dubbing mixer for over 20 years and has mixed 717 episodes of Doctors. He is currently freelance, based in Nottingham.

His IMdB page is here 

pyramixFind out more about Pyramix here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congrats! Audio Production’s Alice Asbury Wins Excellence Award

Well done from all at LSM to Year 1 Audio Production student Alice Asbury who received the University of Lincoln’s scholarship award.

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Photo from Alice’s mum

The Excellence Scholarship recognised Alice’s outstanding academic achievement. She attained the highest amount of tariff points in one sitting during her BTEC Extended Diploma in Music. Alice’s accomplishment put her in the category of ‘the highest achieving new undergraduate students joining the institution.’

Lincoln School of Media’s Alice was one of nine first year students, from across the University’s Colleges, to get an Excellence Scholarship from the Vice Chancellor Professor Mary Stuart: “Scholarships represents a very special moment for us all here at the University of Lincoln, when we acknowledge the successes of our newest undergraduate students.”

Sound of Cinema – Sound and Fury

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How do sound designers use soundscapes and sound effects to manipulate excitement and emotion in the cinema audience?

As part of the BBC’s Sound of Cinema season, Trevor Cox, Professor of Acoustic Engineering, visits Pinewood studios to meet Glenn Freemantle, Danny Boyle’s sound designer. Freemantle describes the extraordinary lengths he went to in order to re-create the soundscape of a remote desert canyon in the film 127 Hours, so that the cinema audience hears exactly what the climber trapped under a rock for 127 hours hears as he tries to escape. And he shows how to build up the sound in a creepy scene to make the audience feel uneasy.

Trevor Cox also learns how the sound of a futuristic motor bike is created in the latest Judge Dredd film ? how does a sound designer create a sound that is incredibly powerful but also believable?

And there’s a revealing trip to a screening room in central London to experience the very latest technology in the world of cinematic surround sound

The Art Of The Loop

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Most current pop music is created not with live instruments, but from pre-formed, off the shelf chunks of music known as loops. Musician Matthew Herbert explores the art of the loop and the million-dollar industry that has grown up around it, and asks whether it is setting music makers free from the constraints of traditional instruments or killing creativity.

Loops are pre-recorded performances, typically of a solo instrument, and typically 1 or 2 bars long. Looping isn’t new – it started soon after the advent of tape recorders. But recent advances in computer technology and software mean that effects which once needed a full-scale studio costing thousands of pounds can be created for little or no cost on a laptop or even a mobile phone. A CD of loops costing £10 can be used to make a million-selling international hit, but who is the real composer?

Matthew once made an entire album from the sounds of a single pig’s life, so he’s no stranger to the benefits of loops and sampling. He talks to producers, musicians and loop-creators and experiments with technology ancient and modern; he hears from looping’s defenders and detractors and looks into a musical future which he finds fascinating but many find terrifying.

And, along the way, he builds a dance track out of a Radio 4 Continuity announcer.

Produced by Micky Curling
A Folded Wing production for BBC Radio 4

The Rise Of Digital Music

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Interesting piece on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme (27/02/14) featuring George Ergatoudis (Head of Music at Radio 1), Mark Williamson (Director of Artist Services at Spotify) and Paul Brindley (co-founder of MusicAlly).