Assignment 4

Working with Audio Tracks

Goals of This Assignment

  • Import sound files into Reason Audio tracks.
  • Learn some basic audio-editing techniques.
  • Learn how to time-scale and pitch-shift audio clips.
  • Add effects to Audio tracks.
  • Combine Instrument tracks with Audio tracks.
  • Make a creative, musical collage of spoken sounds, accompanied by Instrument tracks — at least 90 seconds in length.

Submitting Your Assignment

  1. Verify that you have satisfied all the requirements by consulting the Assignment 4 checklist.
  2. Turn in a Reason song file, with the assignment number as part of the file name. Submit this in Canvas, in the Assignments section, following the submission instructions.

Background

The sound files you use in a Reason Audio track can come from anywhere. For this assignment, you must use a sound file I provide for you, taken from a selection of poetry readings. As long as you’ve made good use of that file, you may include additional sound files.

NOTE: You must be on the IU network (or VPN) to download this, or you will get a browser error.

You must use one or more of these files in Reason audio tracks. As long as you’ve done that sufficiently, you may also use them as source material in a Reason sampler.

Sound files have different formats. Always try to use uncompressed formats, such as Wave (.wav) and AIFF (.aiff or .aif). But Reason also will accept the compressed formats MP3 (.mp3) and AAC (.m4a).

Sound files store data in digital form, using binary numbers to represent the individual amplitude points of a waveform. For some background on the process that turns a sound wave into a stream of such numbers, see Digital Audio, Part 1.

Reason lets you perform non-destructive editing of audio. This means that it will never alter (destroy) your original sound file. You work with audio clips, which are references to segments of the original sound file. You can edit the edges of clips to reveal more or less of the sound file’s contents, but you can retrieve the entire original file later. Older sound file editors offered only destructive editing of audio. Operations one performed in such programs could alter the original sound file. Current waveform editors, such as Audacity and Adobe Audition, include destructive editing among their capabilities, but most Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software performs exclusively non-destructive editing.

Musical Considerations

Your sequence must last at least 90 seconds. The sound file I give you to work with contains a reading of a poem. You must perform extensive edits of this sound, cutting and pasting it to create a collage of spoken words.

It’s okay to have an extended quotation from the original poem, as long as you also have other audio tracks that include extensive edits.

Try to make a vivid musical statement. You need not preserve the intelligibility of the text. Consider that the reading of the poem is already very musical, in the sense that the speech has strong rhythmic and pitch features.

There are two ways to bring the poetry into a musical setting that uses Instrument tracks.

  1. Find harmony, melody, and rhythm for your Instrument tracks that bring out the latent musical qualities of the poetry.
  2. Impose pitch onto the poetry (via audio pitch correction) to make it fit the harmony in your Instrument tracks.

You are welcome to make use of either, or both, approaches.

I expect you to tell a musical “story” or convey a definite mood using sound. This assignment is not designed merely to exercise your technical knowledge of the software — it’s an opportunity to be creative.