In this activity you will create music for imaginary or real deep sea worlds, inspired by Deep by composer Shiori Usui. You will also be encouraged to use the free software Audacity to help create your music.
Shiori Usiu is a Japanese composer based in Edinburgh. In 2014 she composed Deep for BCMG partly inspired by the BBC's Blue Planet. Here is a clip from the episode about the very deep sea:
This is what Shiori said about her piece:
'Deep is inspired by all the weird and wonderful creatures living in the deep sea. I wanted to find out about who they are, and what they might be hearing or not hearing. I also imagined what it would be like to live the life of the creatures which inhabit the mysterious underwater world with more unimaginable conditions than a human being could think of. That was the starting point of my journey, and then my imagination ran wild.'
Listen to BCMG performing Deep conducted by Martyn Brabbins. What instruments can you hear? What creatures do you imagine?
Not only did Shiori compose Deep she also created an immersive experience at the CBSO Centre. Musicians were placed at different levels, the space was lit to look like the sea from top to bottom and the audience was invited to sit or stand in the midst of the musicians. Photo by Rleahair/SoundandMusic.
For this resource, we suggest that you use the free software Audacity to create your music. This can be used on both PCs and Macs. As well as being able to edit, sequence, layer and transform sounds, you can also record sounds using it. However, a different recording device would be fine as would using a completely different platform/software or not using software at all.
There are lots of clips from Blue Planet on Youtube HERE. Have a listen to some of them with the sound off. How would you create music for one of the clips?
Could you design your own undersea world full of strange creatures? Maybe there are creatures that haven't yet been discovered? Do yours light up or have other special features that help them to survive so far down? What might they sound like or what might they be able to hear?
As this activity is about the sea, I thought it would be fun to make and record sounds using water in some way. What watery sounds can you find, make and record? Here are some of mine:
As well as being a composer, Shiori is also an experimental vocal performer. If you listen carefully to the recording of Deep you will hear her making strange sounds with her voice. What strange sounds can you make and record with your voice? I had a go:
For this activity, you are going to use some software to help you compose called Audacity. You can download it by clicking HERE. Click HERE for a simple basic guide to using it. You might need help from a grown up to get started. With Audacity you can record, edit, transform, sequence and layer your sounds.
Once you have recorded and saved your sounds, import your sounds into Audacity. Now edit them to remove any bits you don't want. You can play around with and transform your sounds on Audacity by changing the pitch or volume, adding reverb, echoes or distortion from the effects menu. Here are some of my transformations:
Save your original sounds and your transformations. Read the Audacity guide and learn about sequencing and layering your sounds. Create a piece of music to accompany one of the blue planet clips or just a piece of music that reflects how you imagine the deep sea to be. Remember you can keep on editing and transforming your sounds throughout the composing process.
Please send any music you create to firstname.lastname@example.org
For a PRINTABLE version CLICK HERE