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BA Drama and English Literature / Course details
Year of entry: 2021
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Course unit details:
Audio Project 1: The Audio Feature
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
This unit focuses on the audio feature – a flexible genre which incorporates aspects of drama and documentary – and the creative and dramatic potential of sound. Students will work in small groups to create original ‘audio features’ using combinations of pre-existing or original recordings of speech, sound and music. The audio feature lies in ‘the shifting landscape between the play and the documentary’ (Piers Plowright) and is a genre which encourages a creative use of sound, taking in abstract and impressionistic soundscapes and more narrative-driven combinations of speech and sound. The work of key practitioners in the development of the audio feature on radio will be drawn on as sources of inspiration, with a particular focus on the pioneering output of Olive Shapley and Louis MacNiece, the Radio Ballads of Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger and Charles Parker, the Inventions for Radio developed by Barry Bermange and Delia Derbyshire and the work of Piers Plowright and Eleanor McDowall.
Theatre and Performance 1 OR Theatre and Performance 2 OR Performance Practices 1 OR Performance Practices 2
To introduce students to the concept of the audio feature and its origins in radio, providing knowledge of the key developments and practitioners working in the field as well as the range of approaches to the genre, ranging from more abstract and impressionistic sound poetry to more familiar combinations of drama and documentary.
To develop an understanding of the creative and dramatic potential of sound and how different sonic elements (speech, sound design, music) and characteristics (e.g. spatial and timbral properties) can be combined to artistic, dramatic and informative ends.
Working in small groups, students will devise and pitch a project proposal for a 10-15 minute feature, research, prepare and record relevant sonic materials and then receive training in industry standard audio editing software to arrange these sonic elements into an effective and meaningful whole.
By the end of this course unit students should be able to:
- Apply the technical and associational (e.g. intertextual/ideological) properties of various sonic elements (speech, sound design and music, whether original recordings or pre-existing material) in combination with each other in order to create a meaningful audio feature which addresses a particular concept or issue.
- Place their practical work within intellectual and historical traditions of radio features and sound art.
- Use industry standard audio editing software to construct a 10-15 minute audio feature.
Knowledge and understanding
Apply the technical and associational (e.g. intertextual/ideological) properties of various sonic elements (speech, sound design and music, whether original recordings or pre-existing material) in combination with each other in order to create a meaningful audio feature which addresses a particular concept or issue.
Place their practical work within intellectual and historical traditions of radio features and sound art.
Demonstrate knowledge of key developments, works and practitioners in British radio and the radio feature in particular as well as more recent applications of audio features
Demonstrate an understanding of the creative and dramatic potential of sound
Understand the principles of audio editing and layering different sonic components (speech, sound and music) into a cohesive, effective and meaningful whole
Demonstrate an understanding of appropriate recording and interviewing techniques
¿ Analyse, evaluate and develop sonic material within aesthetic and technical contexts;
¿ Research existing audio features for guidance on completing the set task;
¿ Evaluate the potential of a particular subject or situation for an audio feature, and put this into practice;
¿ Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different conceptual and dramatic strategies in bringing their project to fruition;
¿ Plan sophisticated audio structures that creative meaningful interactions between different sonic elements (speech, sound design and music) and solve technical and practical problems in bringing these to successful realisation for eventual presentation;
¿ Apply standard professional musical notation and evaluate its applicability to creative objectives.
¿ Apply knowledge of the technical and practical features of different components of sound creatively;
¿ Articulate conceptual debates, arguments and dramatic strategies through sound;
¿ Create audio works that blend and juxtapose speech, sound and music in a coherent and meaningful way;
¿ Collaborate with actors and interviewees;
¿ Supervise and direct rehearsals, recording sessions and audio interviews;
¿ Use industry standard audio editing software (Pro Tools)
Transferable skills and personal qualities
Demonstrate organisational and management skills in booking actors and interviewees, arranging rehearsals and preparing the final project for presentation;
Demonstrate attention to detail through preparing and editing audio material to professional standards;
Demonstrate creative problem solving;
Collaborate with other students in realising their ideas, and the ideas of others.
- Analytical skills
- Analysing texts and materials for dramatic potential and conceptual relevancy
- Group/team working
- Team work (collaborating with group members, actors and interviewees);
- Inventing a creative concept and putting it into motion; fulfilling set task with set resources
- Being responsible for overseeing a creative product from inception through production, post-prod2uction and final presentation
- Project management
- Finding and booking actors, interviewees and recording space; Working to fixed deadlines (devising a dramatic structure, preparing audio materials in time for workshops, recording and editing sessions as well as final presentation)
- Oral communication
- Interpersonal skills (collaborating with other students and actors/interviewees)
- Time management (running workshops, rehearsals, recording sessions; working to fixed deadlines; devising a dramatic structure, preparing audio materials in time for workshops, recording and editing sessions as well as final presentation); editing (of original and pre-existing audio material)
|Group-devised original sound feature project||60%|
|Critical report on the project’s concept and creative process||40%|
Formative or Summative
Sound feature project - written
Critical report - written
Ongoing feedback during workshops –peer to peer and tutor to student
¿ Crook, Tim. 2012. The Sound Handbook. London and New York: Routledge.
¿ Hendy, David. 2013. Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening. London: Profile Books.
¿ Kahn, Douglas and Whitehead, Gregory (eds). 1992. Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio and the Avant-Garde. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
¿ Niebur, Louis. 2010. Special Sound: The Creation and Legacy of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
¿ Rattigan, Dermot. 2002. Theatre of Sound: Radio and the Dramatic Imagination. Dublin: Carysfort Press.
¿ Schafer, R. Murray. 1993. Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. Rochester: Destiny Books.
¿ Sterne, Jonathan (ed). 2012. The Sound Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge.
¿ Street, Seán. 2012. The Poetry of Radio: The Colour of Sound. London and New York: Routledge.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Practical classes & workshops||33|
|Independent study hours|
|David Butler||Unit coordinator|