Speaking of timbre, here’s a nice, warm, dense voice:
Song Beside the Barn Wall by Alice Templeton (1 min 37 secs)
We are very pleased to feature the following guest post by K.R. Copeland, a Pushcart nominated poet, editor and freelance creative. She describes herself as a left of irreverent fan of humor, horror, snark, pop culture, art, nature and all things audible. She even adores her boyfriend’s snoring. She recently established the Facebook group Audio Files as a venue for sharing noteworthy sounds and audio projects.
I am a sound geek, plain and simple. Always have been, always will be. Ever since receiving my first Fisher-Price Child’s Phonograph, back in the 1970’s, I’ve been a hopeless audiophile.
I fondly recall listening to children’s songs and nursery rhymes for hours on end, memorizing, imitating, and wailing away, much to my parents’ chagrin. When I was about 12, I upgraded to a cabinet stereo/phonograph, not entirely unlike this one:
Music was an integral part of my existence; an everyday escape, a panacea. I would listen to the lyrics and the voices and my imagination would run wild. Something inside me ignited. And then, I discovered poetry. At that time, there was not much in the way of spoken word recordings, or, at least not to my knowledge, but I quickly recognized the familiar cadence when reading the rhymesters aloud, and again, I was in love. Smitten with the musicality of language!
The next seemingly obvious step in my sound-driven evolution came by way of:
Yes! Now the sophomoric poetry and lyrics I was beginning to write could be endured by all (within earshot). I mean, my parents did not have to be in the same room, or even on the same level of the house, to hear what I had to offer, thanks to the amplification of good old Mr. Microphone!
I studied poetry and literature throughout my school career, and continued writing and honing my craft. My first publication credit came by way of a local newspaper, which published a little Valentine’s ditty I’d written. I was 22. Since then I have published umpteen poems in text form, and produced a couple chapbooks to boot.
More recently I decided to delve into the great wide world of audio poetry, which the internet makes available in grandiose doses. I was incredibly excited to see/hear what people were doing with sound poetry, especially when coupled with music. Again, I branched out. Purchased a Zoom H1 handheld recorder, as recommended by an audio specialist:
This lower-end starter microphone is compact, easy to use and allows for storage and upload of both MP3 and WAV files. The sound quality and noise reduction, in addition to simplicity of use make this a great tool for neophytes like me. Still, I needed more boost. A friend suggested Audacity, a free online, professional sound editing system.
The Audacity program allows for upload of multiple tracks, which you can edit, amplify, mix, match and remaster, all from the comfort of your own living quarters. With the help of these two products, I have successfully created multiple musical poetry tracks. Here is an example (using free audio hosting at SoundCloud):
As I broaden my horizons, I find myself wanting to know more about the ins-and-outs of quality recording. This brings us to present day. I have created an audio group on Facebook called, Audio Files, a friendly, supportive community for others like me, to share their recorded work, the works of others, their trials and errors, and any and all information on the subject of sound. All are welcome to come hear, share and be merry, one audio file at a time.
Like the poem, but not at all sure what the reader’s intent is with this almost hesitant and super-enunciated reading style, or if there is a particular background to it, but don’t find it particularly enticing or convincing.
Variations on Some of Dante’s Last Lines by Norma Cole (poem text)
Yes, she has a beautiful voice, but it’s way more than that. She gets inside the poem and reads it to you from the inside. She has that half-humorous ‘let’s pretend’ look and tone on her as she entices you in, but it’s only half-humorous – she conveys that there really is a real world in the poem she is inviting you to enter. Also love those eloquent sketched gestures with her right hand, as if it’s connected to her voice somehow. Previous Voice Alpha post on Carolyn Forché.
It may be a good reading, but I can’t tell – it’s so slooooooow.
Over at The Poetry Storehouse, there are two ways to submit. You can submit your own poems, or you can submit your readings of others’ poems collected at the Storehouse.
Here are some basic resources for those who may not yet have ventured into the field of audio recording but would like to. Putting together a basic set-up is simple and doesn’t require any expenditure. All you need is:
- Our top recommendation for ease of use and great FAQ support is Audacity, a free, open source software for recording and editing sounds, which works equally well for Mac and Windows.
- Start with your computer’s in-built microphone, which in most cases can produce perfectly acceptable audio recordings if you set up your environment with care.
- If you want to upgrade your recording quality, there are any number of good USB microphones on the market, which you just plug straight into your computer. There is a good set of choices at this link, ranging in price from $40.00 to $100. I use the Blue Microphones Snowball model and swear by it.