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Sound and Story Resources

STORYCENTER Blog

We are pleased to present posts by StoryCenter staff, storytellers, colleagues from partnering organizations, and thought leaders in Storywork and related fields.

Sound and Story Resources

Ary Smith

As I was doing research for the first Sound and Story workshop, I discovered a bunch of cool resources that combine sound and story. Here are a few I wanted to share with you:   

  1. The Sound and Story Project records sounds from across New York’s Hudson Valley, and you can listen them all in a free app. They have oral history from all kinds of people, local ambiance like lapping waves and clucking geese, and short stories that give a rich sense of place. Many of these are recorded in an 8 foot by 10 foot recording booth called The Cube that they truck around the valley in a trailer. You can download a free app with all their stories or listen on their website. There’s lots of thought-provoking and inspirational stuff.
  2. Lucianne Walkowitz is an scientist and artist who transforms stars’ pulsations into sounds. She took data from the NASA Kepler mission about how stars get brighter and dimmer over time, and turned it into cool pulsing soundscapes mixed with Buddhist chanting. Her sonifications tell the story of stars’ fluctuations.
  3. The Sonic Memorial Project is an online audio installation with sounds from the World Trade Center and 9/11. They have phone calls, ambient sounds, memories from workers on many of the floors, voice mails, and much more - it’s an immersive experience.

These three are only the tip of the iceberg; feel free to suggest more resources in the comments. Exploring these sound and story resources taught me two things:  

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Sound and story are expansive concepts.  I might never have thought of the changes a star undergoes as a kind of story, but there you are. The same goes for sound. Musician Annie Lennox challenges us to expand the kinds of sounds we consider musical, and similarly, expanding the repertoire of sounds we might use in a story is nearly always a good thing.

There’s no one format for sound and story to work together. The question isn't, does the sound support the story? The question is, how does the sound support the story, and in what way? Podcasts, digital stories, audio installations, podcasts with elements of musical theater....the opportunities for combining sound and story are endless.

If you’d like continue exploring sound and story, please consider checking out the next Sound and Storytelling workshop in March!

Know of other cool resources? Let me know!