Field Processing Course Outlines
Dates: 13 .10.2020 – 24 .10.2020
Name of the professor: Boris Shershenkov
This course will be focused on h earing which , along with vision, is one of the most important
sources of information about the world around us. The sound perception shaped by millions of
years of evolution is fundamentally different from the visual one, focusing on other aspects of
reality that lie bey ond the visional temporalities.
Hearing as a tool for the perception of voices of an organic and inorganic nature is continuously
active, but we rarely realize this, removing the surrounding sound fields from the sphere of our
attention and less and less using the potential of listening as means of understanding and
empathizing with the Ot her in the ocularcentric world.
In modern technological landscape we are also surrounded by many different electromagnetic
processes and phenomena that have sound temporality, but are inaccessible to our senses. These
processes a re especially noticeable in the urban environment, where their sources are elements of
technological ecosystems which have become an integral part of our life. And the contact with
them in their language requires much widening the threshold of human percep tion.
However, the introduction of technology into everyday life gives us the more and more means of
communication with it self . Such widespread agents of technological augmentation as
smartphones can serve as a kind of translators for this purpose .
Aim of the course:
The course is dedicated to the direct sonification of electromagnetic fields as a universal language
of technological world and inorganic nature and saving them as the acoustic signals .
In addition to the acoustic interpretation of eve nts, such signals also carry information about the
environmental conditions and will be used by students as control signals in digital systems for
creation of musical compositions and sound installations and transformation into other media.
In fra mes of the course students will:
study the history and main directions of sound art and experimental electronic music of the
late XX - early XXI century;
master various methods of sound synthesis and processing in visual programming
environments and specialized applications including neural network tools;
learn how to manufacture transducers and microphone systems for sonification of physical
gather collection of sound materials and master the principles of their organization;
learn to define various sound parameters and use them as control signals for digital
master the basic principles of creating spatial sound panoramas and working with
multichannel sound systems.
1. Collins N. Handmade electronic music: the art of hardware hacking.
NY: Routledge, 2006. 245 p.
2. Farnell A. Designing Sound. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2010. 664 p.
3. Gottschalk J. Experimental Music Since 1970. NY: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. 268 p.
4. Hermann T., Hunt A., Neuhoff J. D. The Sonification Handbook.
Logos Verlag Berlin GmbH, 2011. 565 p.
5. Kahn D. Noise Water Meat - A History of Sound in t he Arts.
MIT Press, 2001. 455 p.
6. Kahn D. Earth Sound, Earth Signal. Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts.
University of California Press, 2013. 331 p.
7. Landy L. Understanding The Art of Sound Organization. MIT Press, 2007. 303 p.
8. Licht A. Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories . Rizzoli, 2007. 303 p.
9. Lucier A. Music 109 - Notes on Experimental Music.
Wesleyan University Press, 2012. 2 15 p.
10. Puckette M. - Theory and Technique of Electronic music [e -book].
11. Russ M. Sound Synthesis and Sampling (3rd edition). Focal Press, 2009. 559 p.
12. Schafer R.M. The Soundscape. Our Sonic Environmen t and the Tuning of the World. Destiny
Books, 1994. 410 p.
13. Sterne J. (ed.) The Sound Studies Reader. NY: Routledge, 2012. 566 p.
14. van Eck C. Between Air and Electricity: Microphones and Loudspeakers as Musical
Instruments. Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. 217 p.
Video lectures (preliminary preparation)
1. Sound as a physical phenomenon.
2. Advanced technologies in sonic practices.
3. Digital sound tools.
4. Sound synthesis and sonification.
5. Basics of field recording.
6. The art of hidden sounds.
Day 1: Introductory session: Digital Toolbox Overview: wave editors, digital audio workstations,
virtual instruments, and visual programming environments.
Day 2: Practical lesson: “Basics of sound synthesis and data sonification. Additive, subtractive, FM
Day 3: DIY -Workshop "Acoustic and contact microphones".
Day 4: DIY -Workshop "Electromagnetic radiation detectors".
Day 5: Practical lesson: “Sampling. Working with sound files and processing of audio mate rials”.
Weekend: Field research in an urb an environment. Gathering of audio materials .
Day 6: Practical lesson: “Creation of sound objects (objets sonores). Sound design and digital
Day 7: Practical lesson: “Sound as a control sig nal. Determination of sound objects parameters
and their application in composition and performance".
Day 8: Practical lesson: "Multichannel sound in spatial sound installations and performances".
Day 9: Practical lesson: "Artificial neural network tools f or sound".
Day 10: Individual projects preparation, exhibition design.
The outcomes of the course will be sound performances and multichannel compositions created
by students within the framework of the ir current practice using the acquired skills and tools. The
final projects will be presented in frames of sound art exhibition.
The list of materials and required equipment:
Students must be equipped with laptops and individual electronic devices with sound recording
function (smartphone with jack 3.5 mm analog input or audio recorder) and wired headphones
(jack 3.5 mm) .
Required software for laptop :
Required software for smartphone :
iPhone - Voice Record Pro
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/voice -record -pro/id546983235
Android - RecForge II - Audio Recorder
Each student will be provided with:
The s et for soldering work: 60 W soldering iron with temperature control, soldering iron and
PCB holders , solder, flux.
The set of electronic components for the transducer making.
Shershenkov - ITMO Field Processing outline (2020)
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