Draft Audio Story

I made a Radiolab-like interview, but it has a tiny, tiny twist: the interviewee does not talk. Instead, he answers questions by improvising on his electric keyboard.

The interviewee is supposed to be me, Bailey. The content of the interview goes over the story of how I came to be good at piano improv. It lists the three things that got me where I am now…

  • I first learned how to improvise when I joined my high school’s jazz band.
  • As I stayed in jazz band, I found that practicing for band songs afforded me little time to practice improvising.
  • I left jazz band, allowing me to practice what I wanted.

I comment on each thing by improvising a little song. Each song represents its own emotion.

This interview is part of a talk show I made up called Improvising on Pianos. Since the interviewee is already supposed to be me, the show’s host had to be someone different. Thus, I made up a character named Peter Pantsless to serve as the host. I gave him a dumb voice to emphasize that he’s not meant to be me.

I had two big inspirations for this draft. One was Radiolab. The high energy in its podcasts gave me direction for the feel of my audio story. Another was The Dori Monson Show, a radio talk show my mom listens to a lot. The sense of fascination the host has during the show’s interview portions became the basis for Peter Pantsless.

The first step I took in making this draft was recording a narration segment for the beginning. After that, I recorded one question for each part of my story. I wanted to explain the story more thoroughly, but I had to make the talking parts short so everything could stay under two minutes.

The fun part was recording myself playing piano. For each interview answer, I recorded many takes of myself improvising a short melody. I then put the best take into my audio story. In addition to a melody, the third answer utilized multiple other tracks I made. I wanted the third answer to be a grand finale, so I gave it a fuller sound. I also recorded background music, since this would be a good way to keep high energy going throughout the interview.

On the technical side, making this draft wasn’t glamorous. Let me be clear about something: putting together music in Audition is hard. It is very hard. Lining up tracks with each other took hours to do.

I completed the background music by copying and pasting the same note progression audio. I had to cut both ends of that audio very carefully so that the background music would have a steady beat.

Cutting the ends of the first answer’s audio took a lot of effort too. This answer’s beat needed to line up well with the background music.

Thankfully, by the time I got to editing the third answer, I was pretty well-practiced at lining up the audio. I needed to line up four different tracks, but I managed to do so quickly by organizing separate parts of each track.

To finish up, I adjusted the volume for each bit of audio. By doing this, I emphasized certain tracks over others.

If I must name the thing that gave me the most difficulty, then it is the lack of precision for moving tracks around. Because I couldn’t move the music tracks exactly where I wanted, I had to rely more on cutting the ends of audio to make sure things were lined up.

My suggestion to someone else using Audition is to avoid mixing music. Audition doesn’t seem to be designed for this. If you want a high-quality way to mix music, I recommend finding different software.

That said, my current audio story has terrible quality. Despite my time taken lining tracks up, the timing is still far from perfect. My audio story is definitely incomplete, but I plan for its final draft to be much better. Between now and next Friday, I aim to line the music tracks up even more carefully. I also want to replace the third answer’s current melody with a better one, and I want to change the talking parts a bit so more narration is included.

No citations are necessary for my audio story. Everything in it is recorded by myself.

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5 thoughts on “Draft Audio Story

  1. Hi Bailey!

    Your idea is so unique and creative! I love the emotion that comes through the second response from the piano player. I think this really tells a story and is easy to understand what you were feeling during this time. I think the interviewer’s voice is funny, but I would maybe use your normal voice since we don’t hear that at all in the clips anyways. It would make more sense if you already had used your voice and you wanted to add more audio elements. I think you had a good balance between the actual narration and the musical elements and it was very fun to listen to! I think your audio story shows that you put a lot of time and effort into this project! I don’t have any other feedback for you. Great job!

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  2. I really like the way you set up your audio story, i think your idea for it was very creative and different. I liked how you used your electric keyboard to respond to the questions instead of verbally answering them, I was able to understand your feelings and thoughts for each question through your keyboard which is fascinating and a fun experience. I think you could maybe change the voice a little, it can be a little distracting. Besides that i believe your piece is very good and well put together. A few minor places where you can tell you cut the ends in order to go along with the next part, but aside from that, you couldn’t even tell where you cut cause it flows together really well. I overall think you did a wonderful job, and i like the concept.

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  3. Bailey Rosenberger: You have done an outstanding job, I am extremely impressed by what you have accomplished within your assignment. It was very fluid and very smooth, I could tell how much work was put in and just how much time you spent on commentary. It felt very cut, clean and scripted, I really liked your format. One of the aspects I especially loved was the way you could convey emotion through the use of your piano, I could effectively understand through the beat and rhythm, just how the pianist felt about the question asked. If I were to comment on anything that could potently improve your project would probably be, maybe add a little more commentary behind the piece, even without that, your work is still phenomenal. On more constructive comment, I might add would be to just be relaxed when speaking, I could feel that you were slightly tense while you were speaking, with a more relaxed tone, your audio final might be more fun. Magnificent work over all.

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  4. From your about page, I noticed that playing piano is one of your habits, and from your audio story, I think you are really good at playing piano. I really like the way your interview is, it is very unique, and very interesting, as your about page said, you really are an interesting person. The only thing that I think that will make the audio story better is to have a clearer segment between your interview questions and the answers. I think the segments will help the audience to have a clearer idea about your questions and the different songs you used to answer the question. But I really think the songs you use illustrate a great idea of your answers to each question, even though there is no word at all. I also think that the way you answered the questions leave the audience spaces to imagine what would it be in words.

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  5. My peer reviewers all seemed to think my podcast is unique and interesting. However, almost all of them shared a pretty big criticism: the voice I made wasn’t necessary. Even though I personally hate the sound of my real voice, it’s clear that using my real voice will need to be the first change I make. Another thing to consider from my peer feedback is adding a bit more commentary about my songs. I’m still deciding if doing so will be good for the story or not.
    My instructor commented that I make my project more of a narrative. I wholeheartedly agree, since my podcast ended up being more of a straight interview than a recounting. As I was making my draft, I was actually forgetting it needed to be more Radiolab-like. It wasn’t until after finishing when I realized this. I have known immediately since that moment I need to change what my narration says.

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