Art and Technology

Be a Sound Artist

Make a sound track of found sounds

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The idea

There are sounds all around us. We can also make sounds: sensible or silly...LOUD or quiet sounds.

Sound art is art which uses sound both as material (much like paint or pencils) and as its subject (what it is about).

We are going to make sound art by going on a sound walk and using an app to make a sound track.

This Digital Makers activity has been tried and tested by groups with Special Education Needs and Disability in workshops at Tate and as part of Diggin the Gallery.

Rebecca Horn, ‘Concert for Anarchy’ 1990
Rebecca Horn
Concert for Anarchy 1990
© DACS, 2020
  • A tablet.
  • Download pyka_loop on the app store. Make sure you ask a parent or guardian before downloading.
  • Sound instruments such as rice in a box, a bell, a xylophone or a plastic bag.
  • Your ears (most importantly!)
Bruce Nauman, ‘a’ 1970
Bruce Nauman
a 1970
© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2020

Play with your voice for a couple of minutes and see what sounds you can make.

Out of ideas? Ask your friends or family to add some in. You can even make some of your favourite animal noises. ROARRRR!

Kids in sound art workshop at Tate Britain

© Tate

Find some sounds. What sounds would you like to record?

Start easy. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds that are there around you. Birds tweeting, water dripping, creaking pipes, footsteps in the room next door.

Too quiet? Head outside...

Kids sitting with a tablet at a sound art workshop

© Tate

Record your sounds.

Ready? Tap the red button to start recording.

See that shape? That's your sound. Tap and hold the shape to listen to it. Sound good? If you don't like it, just drag it off the edge of the screen to get rid of it.

Keep listening and recording until you have six shapes that sound great together

Screen showing sound generated patterns

© Tate

Loop your sounds. Tap a shape with two fingers to make it loop. Grab the handles to make the loop shorter or longer. Tap with two fingers again to stop it looping

Become an expert. If you find looping easy, here's some other things to try:

  • Stretch or pinch shapes to make them louder or quieter.
  • Move the outside line of the circles to create strange sounds.
  • Move two fingers up and down in a shape to make it high or low.
Jorge Macchi, ‘Incidental Music’ 1997
Jorge Macchi
Incidental Music 1997
© Jorge Macchi

Ready to make your own music track?

Tap the white dot on the side and tap the 'record' box. Now tap the big red button and record your performance. Remember to press stop when you've finished.

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