Topic outline

  • Dear Sound Culture course participants,

    thank you all for your interest in this course! There were quite a few people who registered to take this class, and you have all been selected to reflect a maximum diversity between the different departments within Aalto. That's very exciting, since it means that students of arts, engineering, science, and business will all have a chance to get together to discuss what sound is and how it functions.

    This is a pass/fail course. However, I will evaluate you on five "points" at the end:

    1) Attendance of 80% of the course

    2) Participation in class discussions (yes, you will have to talk. A lot!)

    3) Presentation on an assigned text

    4) Presentation of two sound recordings and a sound journal

    5) Construction of an electronic sound device

    The WebOodi lists 24 contact hours + 57 hours of individual/small group work for this course for 3 Credits. Please make sure you set aside time outside our meetings for the coursework (reading, recording, presentation preparation, electronics building).


      Sound surrounds us. We never stop experiencing it, even when we sleep.

      But because we live in a very visually-oriented culture, we rarely stop to think how sound affects us in physical, cultural, and psychological ways. Nor do we always have terminology to describe these affects properly, which can be especially troublesome to artists and designers when trying to incorporate sound into their work.

      This course aims to cover sound from a number of perspectives, and introduce ideas from the worlds of Sound Design, Acoustic Ecology, and Sound Art to help students get a better of understanding of what sound is and how it functions. We will read, hear, view, and discuss materials from a number of sources such as academic texts, sound art documentation, music, environmental recordings, and film sound.

      A number of activities, including sound walks, deep listening exercises, audio recording, sound composition, and Do It Yourself electronics building, will reinforce topics from the discussions.


      The student learns to become more aware of sound and observe how it functions in both acoustic and media environments, and to draw conclusions and interpret information from what is heard.

      The student learns the basics of audio recording and audio editing both in theory and practice.

      The student gains basic experience in constructing a simple, electronic sound instrument.

      The student has general understanding of sound design in various contexts, and has tools for analyzing them for quality and content when dealing with sound design.