Assignment 2 – The Sight of Sound – #edtechcca2

My idea for assignment 2 was to make a soundscape for a scene from a book I had read. Almost immediately I thought of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island which I had read in High School. Initially I thought about the sounds of the island, the surf and the seagulls. After looking for sounds on some of the sound-clip websites I decided to try and create the sounds of a busy dock, the sounds that young Jack Hawkins would’ve encountered on his first visit to the port of Bristol, where he boarded the Hispaniola.

I searched for docks and harbour sounds on several sound-clip sites and also for seagulls, creaking boats, ships bells and crowds. One of the best sound effects of a crowd that I found was actually from a shopping mall, but it served my purposes quite well.

I shortlisted about a dozen clips from and, being careful to exclude anything that had recognisable modern sounds. I then downloaded the ones I thought would work best. The sound clips I used are listed below.

  • Rowing a boat by Lazure
  • Shopping Mall Ambience
  • Small Crowd by Mike Koenig
  • Ship Bell by Mike Koenig
  • Herring Gull 2

  • 20080421 by dobroide
  • boat_on_the_dock by suonidigenova
  • drunks fighting by tigersand

I used Audacity to mix and edit the sounds as it was a tool I was familiar with. I combined the sounds, altering the volume of some of the clips to fade them slightly. I also repeated a few of the clips to extend the soundscape to 45 seconds in length. One of the audio clips included some Spanish conversation, so I layered the ships bell and seagull over the top to obscure it.

I’m quite happy with the final result and think that it does convey the impression of a busy mid-18th century harbour. The final mix was saved as a mp3 file and uploaded to From there I found the embed code to add it to my WordPress blog. You can listen for yourself…

Finally, here’s a brief tutorial on how to edit and combine sound clips with Audacity.


About colinmaxwell

Creative Industries lecturer. Photographer, designer, game developer, film maker. Scotland.
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One Response to Assignment 2 – The Sight of Sound – #edtechcca2

  1. John says:

    Hi Colin,
    Nice job on the sound rich and old. I particularly like the muffled voices around 15 seconds in.

    I am/was thinking of a seaside theme but will probably switch. Re-discovering Freesound which is just lovely.

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