The last piece that we listened to this week, Using Music: Jonathan Mitchell, highlighted one of the issues that I am having with my essay. Although my essay is very different from his, and doesn’t have anything to do with engineering, both pieces are abstract and sort of hard to visualize without the help of external components. Mitchell writes that Bejan’s theory is “very interesting, but it’s also very abstract and visual, and so it was a challenge to find a way to clearly present his ideas using sound.” This is what I’ve been trying to do for the past few weeks and although I’ve started to form some ideas about how to fix this, I’m trying to find ways that I can keep a few of the abstract lines in my audio essay, and find different ways to convey the others. Mitchell didn’t have the option to rewrite this piece to make it more visual, so he had to borrow from sounds and music to help stimulate images that illustrate parts of Bejan’s theory. After listening to these clips, I am starting to realize that I don’t think I have to necessarily cut out all the parts of my essays that are abstract, I just have to find ways to make them more effective, easier and more interesting for the reader to listen to. If I had listened to this piece without any of the music or background sounds, I probably would have zoned out within the first two minutes. And Mitchell knows this, so he added a score that does (somehow) sound like the theory that Bejan is describing. I read in the comments that Mitchell “tires not to spend more than 40 hours total” on a piece of this size, which is 6 minutes long. I can’t help but wonder how much of that time is devoted to finding music. It seems like it would probably take hours to find the right song (unless you already have one in mind) and it must be hard not to get overwhelmed with all the music and sounds that you could potentially add.
One thing I noticed about all of the pieces is that they all have some sort of recorded audio that doesn’t seem scripted. I wasn’t planning to interview anyone, but I can see that one of the key advantages to doing that is that you end up with a piece that sounds real. Everything, right down to the pauses, seems natural. Not only does this make what you’re saying easier to the reader to accept, it really forces you to stop and think about the way that we communicate orally.