As I’ve continued my search for primary sources for the final project, I stumbled on a gem, in the form of a a series of questions asked by Congressman Jared Polis to DEA administrator Michele Leonhart. During this exchange Polis questions her on health effects marijuana has relative to fellow schedule 1 drugs. After watching this exchange I was in awe. An administrator for the DEA, an organization that has a multi billion dollar war on drugs, cannot factually argue for the policies her organization has created. Her responses reek of uncertainty, and leads me to become scared for our future; that people such as her, hold positions of power that can sway how society operates. Due to time constraints and other obligations, the assignment I originally wanted to complete seemed out of reach. Since this is the first time I’ve had solid access to the Internet since Wednesday afternoon, I’ve decided to use some ingenuity and complete this assignment (albeit late).

The assignment I’m tackling is the, context assignment. For this, they ask to use the audio from one movie, and add it to the picture and ambience sounds of another. I thought this could prove successful in portraying how I felt watching the Polis/Leonhart exchange. Since I don’t have the programs necessary to rip a video from youtube and download an mp3 (iPad problems), I’ve located the Benny Hill theme on soundcloud. This is expected to be played over the audio of the interview found on the youtube video. Thus portraying my sentiments of Leonhart coming across as uninformed and making the war on drugs seem like an inevitable joke. The Benny Hill theme does an excellent job, of making something that happened in Congress, come across as a joke.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFgrB2Wmh5s&w=420&h=315]


This was my first time using audacity, at first i tried recording myself, then i tried adding another recording to the existing recording. I was able to select an area of sound and delete it, copy and paste it, add affects to it. It was a very interesting experience working with my own sound of my voice. Hearing myself. being able to play around with it on a very basic level makes me wonder what do “professionals” do. And as i have seen on youtube and other social media websites, the sky is not even a limit anymore. You can literally do anything you want with any recording. In this specific recording i have slowed down, added echo, and speeded up my voice. Editing sound is a tool that is used on daily basis, its up to you to do what you wish with the gift of sound.
Morphing of the sound


Can drama be read monotonously and still convey the same meaning? That is the historical argument that I chose to illustrate in my sound clip. The excerpt is of an emotional scene between the main character and her father as she breaks through the grasps of customs and traditions to find her own way in America. I used my laptop and Audacity software to create the sound clip, and Soundcloud to upload it to the blog.

Drama has been played out in theaters since ancient times. The ancient Greeks broke drama into two main genres: comedy and tragedy. Thalia was the muse of comedy and represented by the laughing mask, and Melpomene was the muse of tragedy and represented by the weeping mask. The mask helped the audience know the emotions of the characters at various points in the drama. As technology advanced and before the invention of the television, people were able to enjoy drama from the comfort of their home, listening to movies, shows, news, etc. on radios. To get the same effect as in live theater, it was important for the characters to use various tone and inflections to portray their emotions and allow the audience to imagine the scene playing out, along with the help of strategic sound effects.

]The assignment I chose called for Over-Dramatic Reading with a twist: to choose any written material to read in a way that alters the message of the original text. I went the opposite way of over dramatic reading and read it monotonously with the objective of seeing if there would be a same effect. Instead of reading a sad scene in a happy or mad way, or reading a romantic scene in a sarcastic tone, I attempted to take all inflection and pitch from the voice to test if toneless drama is possible and still allows the audience to get the same meaning as if the audio aid was still there. The irony is that even silence speaks volumes.


For this assignment I chose to order from McDonalds in different accents or languages. I’d like to start by explaining the resources that I used to complete my audio recordings. The main hardware was my Macbook containing Garage Band. I then made three recordings, one in English, one in French, and one in Spanish. Thankfully, I had the accessibility of knowing someone that is trilingual. She speaks English, Spanish, and French.

English Recording

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/68366000″ iframe=”true” /]

Spanish Recording

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/68366084″ iframe=”true” /]

French Recording

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/68365648″ iframe=”true” /]


It is obvious to tell what I ordred in the English recording, but for the French and Spanish I ordered things that McDonalds would sell in Spanish and French speaking countries  For example, in the Spanish recording the customer orders an arepa, a typical south american food, and a frescolita, a typical south american soda. In the French recording, the customer does order a big mac which is seen in the United States, but the point is to show how Global McDonalds is. This leads to the historical argument I created from doing this assignment, which is despite McDonalds being an American company, there are one of the more international company worldwide.

I chose not to do any type of accent for the English recording, because I figured if I am comparing different countries I wouldn’t to put on a southern or “New York” accent on to prove the point. It is obvious why I chose not to do the Spanish and French recording because, I simply doing speak those languages or good enough where I can record myself clearly and articulate myself correctly.


After my initial assessment of the project and testing different songs in my own mind, and through the sampler, I realized the true purpose of combining two very seemingly different musical styles. Even when just examining the final product on the surface, I found that beyond the style produced there was a real historical statement being made. Music, while defined mainly by geographical and ethnic boundaries, is universally a collective human enterprise. While the songs I chose were only produced a few years apart from each other, the same project could be executed with Johnny Cash and Bach, Tom Jones and Wu-Tang, or even Bruce Springsteen and Philip Glass. Again, on the surface a musical and stylistic statement is being made, but when examined under a microscope a true human argument is posed to challenge how geographical and ethnic boundaries separate how we classify human expression.

This same process could be applied to any number of comparative analyses. The surest method of learning about two perceived ideological opponents is to first combine them and catalog their similarities. For instance, when the process is applied to political competitors, such as in the recent Presidential Race, you could compare the rhetoric of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in speeches and analyze just how similar on paper they may appear. While many will surely object to and immediately refute any minute possibility of their political enemy sharing ideals, you must first observe the situation from a birds-eye view, operate beyond your own bias. That is what this process truly achieves in teaching the observer, to drop your guard and construct an honest argument around the truth.

Although in the past I have often used this style and process to achieve what I wanted musically, I have found a deeper meaning in applying the method to all aspects of my life. Similarities lie in the most unexpected places, and the differences that once set people and ideas apart will ultimately bring them together.



After going through everyone’s assingments in class, I decided to change my assignment from the “Make weather” audio to the “Create a Voicemail Recording,” which is an assignment to a record voice mail message for use samples, impressions, and/or music.

Instead of trying to (poorly) impersonate Barack Obama, I decided to instead create an automatic voice messaging system for his answering machine. This allowed me to think about what issues the president is facing that people would want to ask him about like the economy, the job numbers, and the ongoing wars and conflicts overseas. I also added the “swipe” at the G.O.P and Fox News, as they have been a notorious thorn in the president’s side during his terms.

The reason I switched my assignments is because I think the voicemail assignment offered more space for a historical argument. Mine being – what  questions has Obama left unanswered?

The voicemail format of the audio really helps so that – what about the economy, job growth, immigration and the Gaza conflict? I only added 5 for time purposes, but I could’ve added at least five more, and had interviewees record their questions under each number, like a recording.

Next, I could go back into Obama’s speeches, and see if he can answer these questions in another recording. His view on job growth, how he’s going to handle Afghanistan, new policies he’ll announce on immigration. It could also be a means to listen to the silences  as the numbers keep adding up “Press 12…Press 13…” with the more conflicts Obama faces in his term.

The thing about a voicemail is that it’s a message you leave because you want to be answered. Called back. Responded to.

What if Obama can’t respond back because he doesn’t have an answer? The silence of an ignored voicemail can say a lot.


Audio project proposals

  • Workshop selected posts
  • Clarify instructions for production

Public History – Reading

Anne Trubek, “A City’s History, Made Mobile,” Yahoo News, June 6, 2012.

  • What is public history?
    • what are some of the tensions between public history and “academic history”?
  • Cleveland Historical – mobile app
    • Developed by the Center for Public History and the Digital Humanities at Cleveland State University
    • Geo-located entries, GPS automatically locates text, photos, and videos
    • Uses Omeka (4 minute “What is Omeka” video), Curatescape
    • Community storytelling
    • Wide collaboration across individuals, community organizations, educational institutions, etc.
    • Review current state of project on Cleveland Historical website
  • Related examples

Blogs@Baruch Q&A




I will be doing the Hear it Here theme using homophones to retell a story.

I am going to be using my laptop with a built in microphone and work with the standard Microsoft recording to prepare my story.

Similar to using political rhetoric I will attempt to retell a story related to current events through double-speak and fun wordplay.


I’m going to try to tackle the Imitate some weather audio assignment. In this task, by using only my voice and things around the house, I’m going to imitate some kind of weather.

Tin pans, my shutters, and me going SSSOOOOOSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHH should make this project really challenging but fun! I have a Macbook and the Garage Band application that I’ve used for audio files before, so hopefully I can do this project without much headaches.



For this assignment I am going to attempt the One Question assignment. I am going to record video on my phone, and edit them on my computer with Final Cut Pro. However with time constraints I’m not sure if I will be able to generate a quality enough video to accomplish the task in a way I see fit. As a backup plan I’m going to also attempt the interview/music assignment. For this I will transfer mp3 files to audacity, and record questions through the microphone input on my computer.

When asking such a broad question, the one question assignment can prove successful in framing someone’s insight and mindset at the time and place the video was taken. The openness of the question leaves the responder of the question with free reign to speak of anything that they see as a fit answer. In retrospect these videos could capture the most honest thoughts from these people at that specific time.


The audio assignment I will be choosing is the “May I Take Your Order” assignment. This will require me to use an accent and pretend that I am ordering from a McDonalds. I will use a recording device, probably from my iPhone to produce my assignment. The historical argument that I will attempt to create is to show how global a company like  McDonalds is and how there are so many different types of people eating at McDonalds.


I did the “The Contest Nobody Could Win” assignment. It is a guessing game, where one must guess which songs make up a very short audio recording. Please don’t post your answers so that others can play too.

I used Audacity to create a mix of 6 one second segments from 6 different songs. I used Soundcloud to share the mix.

Although my mix is useful for nothing more than a guessing game, replacing the origin of the audio from songs to presidential speeches(for example) would be helpful for creating a combined theme of several speeches.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/68097384″ iframe=”true” /]


You've been Chipmunked'
Image Source: DS106 website

Which audio assignment will you be doing.
I decided to pick a song by popular artist Jay Z and “Chipmunk it” like Alvin and Chipmunks would do it. Song name is “99 Problems” and Jay Z performed it during Obama presidential election rally.

What hardware and software will you be using.
For mixing I used Virtual DJ Home 7 and my laptop.

A statement about how this approach to storytelling might be used to make an historical argument.
Chipmunked audio can be used as an interesting and unusual approach to make a historical argument. While working on this project I came to realization that chipmunking has a potential to have two different effects on the final outcome – positive or negative. By this, I mean if the original product is presented by respectable person and in the serious manner, the chipmunked version will turn it to funny and unimportant. In a case of any US president speeches no matter how important or urgent is the message, urgency and importance will disappear in the chipmunked version.

On the other hand, there are cases when performer uses inappropriate expressions such as explicit lyrics, unethical views or even incite hatred and violence. Products of this nature cannot be presented to certain audiences such as young adults. Using chipmunk effect will put a positive spin on this inappropriate product and, at the same time, will be able to historically preserve this artifact without destroying it. Perfect example is Jay Z and most of his songs that are filled with bad language and messages. After applying chipmunk effect the song became much “friendlier”. I would not even be surprised if one day Hollywood would use it in one of their funny kids cartoons.

To summarize, chipmunking effect on the audio product provides an interesting and unique opportunity where we can twist the message and at the same time make a historical arguments. Similar methods are used in politics and other areas of life where people want to emphasize certain messages that are convenient to them, and make extra effort to veil others that are undesirable.


The assignment I have chosen to take on is Forced Collabo, in which you must construct a new song combining artists you may never have thought to work together. This assignment struck me because of its potential for some really interesting results. You get the opportunity not only to rewrite history but to create a new story in which you are the author. With all of this in mind, I came to the conclusion that I would mix “By the Time I Get To Arizona” by Public Enemy with “Cybele’s Reverie” by Stereolab. While both of these groups operated during the same period, early 1990’s, they clearly come from two very different worlds, sonically and physically.

The hardware I am using to create my project is a Roland SP-404sx sampler recording into Logic Express. With the sampler I am able to assign different sections of each song to a specific pad and then play, edit, and record all in real-time.

Roland SP-404sx

I believe that through this process of combining separate elements of music, whether seemingly opposed, can prove telling about the nature of music itself and how people relate to sounds throughout the world. Technology such as the sampler has given musicians a tool in which they can create new music by breathing life into the work of others, sometimes long forgotten soul 45’s and maybe other times top 40. In either instance, the sampler, since its inception, has served as the greatest force against exploitative copyright law and continues to leave music in the hands of its rightful owner, the musician.


Not many people are familiar with the sounds of the ocean, 100 miles from shore, and the sound of reels screaming while tuna fishing out there. I will be producing a short audio recording from one of my tuna trips out of the eastern tip of Long Island (have some of them on video).  I will be using my mac, and the software is audacity. This approach to story telling can offer a very “real” experience of a certain event and the listeners may be able to get a better thrill hearing this aspect rather than reading about it or seeing pictures.


Which audio assignment will you be doing.

The audio assignment I had chosen is “Chipmunk it”. Its remixing a pop culture songs to mimic the effect as if a chipmunk was singing it.

What hardware and software will you be using.

The hardware I uses its a computer. The software I use is VirtualDJ.

A statement about how this approach to storytelling might be used to make an historical argument.

This approach to storytelling might be used to make an historical argument because it create a new way of looking at the music and how it change over the years. Also, people obsession with “chipmunking” songs.  Examining the popularity of “chipmunked” songs, and raise the questions why Chipmunked music is so popular?


[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/67862851″ iframe=”true” /]

The chipmunk audio approach to storytelling could be used to make an historical argument by comparing the effect of the chipmunk audio to the intended audiences. For example some of the questions that arise while chipmunking an audio is does the message still get delivery as intended of the original author, does the message still hold values and significant meanings and will it have the same impact. For example if we chipmunked the 2012 presidential debate, will the listeners of the debate feel the same way about their candidate. Will they know who is saying what? Or will they take them seriously? And will they vote base on the messages or change their views.

Also, for the maker of the chipmunk 2012 presidential debate, is he or she saying that both candidates are essentially the same. Does the author want the voters to listen to the message rather than the tone and delivery?

Another example is chipmunking historical speeches. As we mentions in class, if we chipmunked Dr.King’s I have a dream speech, and play it to an audiences whom have no knowledge that its Dr.King, will they still feel the same way about the message, will it be impact and emotions be felt the same way.   My guess is probably not but does it signify the important of the speakers who delivering the speech?

In conclusion, I believe chipmunking an audio is an interesting approach to storytelling and making a historical arguments, because it have several intended ways of producing a story, by hiding anonymity of the author and changing the delivery of the contents.


Reading, due by class time on Monday:

Nov 19: The goals of public history

Audio Assignment

You will choose and do an assignment from the DS106 Audio Assignment Bank. This project can be related or unrelated to your group project.

Here is a guide to producing audio.

By 8:00 am on Monday, November 19, write a post that includes the following:

  1. Which audio assignment will you be doing.
  2. What hardware and software will you be using.
  3. A statement about how this approach to storytelling might be used to make an historical argument.

By 5:50 pm on Wednesday, November 21, post your audio production (hosted on Soundcloud) to the course blog along with an updated statement about how this approach to storytelling might be used to make an historical argument.  



Ira Glass on Storytelling

  • Building blocks
    • Anecdote
    • Moment of reflection
  • Break away from conventional presentation of argument followed by evidence
  • Hard to find a good story
  • Kill the crappy stuff, failure ok

21 minutes

Discussion of Site Maps

  • Group by group review
  • Restatement of guiding historical questions


Ira Glass on Storytelling, in four parts on YouTube:

Pt 1: 

Pt 2:

Pt 3: 

Pt 4:

Group Work, post due by 8:00am on Wednesday: 

Together as a group you should create a detailed site map that outlines the organization of the assets you presented in class for the last assignment.  Remember that your project needs to cover the following areas: spatial history, data mining and analysis, textual analysis, and visual and aural culture.  All four of these areas should be represented in your site map.

You may design and publish your site map outside of our class blog, but write a post with the map embedded (preferable) or linked to.

Your post should include the following:

  • A statement of the historical question you’re examining in a single sentence
  • A visual representation of how your final product will be organized for readers/viewers (this is the site map) — be as specific as you can about how users will navigate through the various forms of material you will present
  • Reference to tools that will be employed to analyze data before it gets presented on your site
  • Reference to tools that will be employed to display information on your site
  • An up-to-date inventory of primary sources

Discussion of Site Maps

  • Group by group review
  • Restatement of guiding historical questions

Reading Review:

Bill Nichols, “The Voice of Documentary,” in Alan Rosenthal, ed., New Challenges for Documentary

  • Documentary strategies and styles have a history
  • Four major strategies presented, evaluating strengths and limitations
    • Direct-address, Griersonian, off-screen narration
    • Cinema verite, everyday lives, portable cameras, “transparent”
    • Interview-oriented 
    • Self-reflexive, acknowledge documentaries have always been “forms of re-presentation”
  • Question of “voice”
  • Importance of balancing raw data with interpretation, linking evidence with argument (while providing proper context)
  • Reading/Writing the silences

Next Steps