About Earth Recordings


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. Although I am repurposing this word to some degree, I like how it summons ideas of preserving current sounds of environments and culture for future observation. These recordings are also useful for other mediums such as theatrical productions, documentaries and image media, compilations, and archives. Certain folklorists use these recordings to preserve vanishing cultures and the environments associated with those cultures. Since sound occurs ephemerally in the air and exists in time, recording is an excellent way to study the sound of current environments.


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.


What is sound design?


A sound designer is a collaborative and conceptual artist that exploits the expressive possibility of sound by employing a synthesis of sound and music proficiency with technology to enhance video and film, art installations, theatrical performances, and other media. Sound Designers often work on teams and are responsible for all dramatic, aesthetic, and practical aspects of sound and music for particular projects. Sound designers must be skilled researchers and possess abilities in a range of subjects including script analysis, composition of soundscapes and musical pieces, sound equipment specifications and installation, physics of sound, expertise in recording, and sound related media. The sound designer must direct all of these components to best serve a project’s theme and production style determined by the greater collaboration of visual designers and director. Every aspect of the sound design is planned, composed, installed, and operated to support the greater collaboration of visual designers and artists.