I invite you to share this project with anyone and encourage downloading and use of these recordings. If you are able to use any of these recordings, please contact me and let me know how you use them. I am very interested in your comments.

Support for the EarthRecordings.com was provided by the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia and was developed during my sesquicentennial leave. The purpose of this website is to expand my research as a sound designer through field recording. A primary goal of this endeavor is to explore HRTF sound recording.

I prefer to frame the recordings found on this site within the heading of “phonography”. The word “phonography” literally means sound writing or sound graphing.  Shorthand is an example of this.  However, the definition of phonography seems to have been reconstituted.  There are a small but increasing number of sound artists who describe field recording as “phonography” in an analogous way to the process of photography.  They capture and preserve the current sounds of environments and culture for future observation.  They also capture sound for other mediums such as theatrical productions, documentaries, compilations, and archives.  Certain folklorists work in this way to preserve vanishing cultures and the environments associated with those cultures.

My introduction to this field began in 2003 with a Summer Research Grant from Louisiana Tech University.  The grant allowed Dr. Susan Roach, folklorist for the Louisiana Folklife program, to employ me as a digital media specialist. Dr. Roach and I sifted through her extensive archive of analog sound recordings representing Louisiana folklife, digitized the best examples, and then converted them to web deliverable media.  

This work is published online at http://www.latech.edu/tech/rural/folklife/index.php?section=10

What is a sound designer?

The idea and role of sound designer defy a simple explanation because the title and function are subject to the context for which they are used.  Sound designers all concern themselves with controlling sound, and their respective disciplines represent focal points in physics, electrical engineering, sound recording, and composition. The theatre sound designer is responsible for the auditory and acoustic necessities, the creation and/or manipulation of sonic environments, and music for live production.   Therefore, theatrical sound design requires a synthesis of basic knowledge in these focal points with mastery of recording arts.  It is important to note that a basic building block for theatrical sound design is the sound recording.