Music from Sand


(Vimeo link)

Sound designer Diego Stocco recorded different sounds made by sand, then turned them into music!

I had some sandbags in the backyard that I used in November during a rainy day. I was moving them to a different spot when I heard the noise of the sand. I thought that maybe I could try a new sound design technique so I bought some piezo film transducers and started to experiment with them.

The entire track is created only out of tuned sand tones. No additional sounds or waveforms. I emphasized the inner notes of the sand grains and mapped them on a sampler as a series of instruments. The grooves are all played live with various techniques, including taping two piezo films to my fingers.

Link -Thanks, Diego!


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Hi Sandy, I understand what you're saying but I'd like to clarify a couple of points.

It might not be totally clear from the video but the glass is only to contain the sand. The piezo microphone is not like a condenser or dynamic microphone, there's no *ting!* recorded, only the grains of sand rubbing against the piezo are recorded. I used a glass just because it's transparent, I could have used a paper cup or a wooden box and the sound would have been the same (but visually less interesting because you couldn't see the sand moving).

When I'm playing the groove at the beach it's not my flesh hitting the sand, I taped the piezo to my fingers, again, it's the sand hitting against the piezo transducers. I could have used gloves and the sounds would have been the same.

Ultimately this video is not to make sand sound like a grand piano or a guitar, it's a sound design experiment and it might sound nice or not depending on personal taste.

Have you ever heard of booming sands? Those masses of sand moving and producing a loud tone? Some people that have heard them say that they sound pretty interesting, even if it's just sand moving against sand. It's one of those fascinating mistery of nature! :)
Peace.
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Diego, I DID read it and I'm saying that the sound of sand hitting a Piezoelectric Film Contact Microphone is different from sand hitting sand.

The sound is: sand bouncing off of the material of the microphone, or rubbing against it. Not the sound of sand. You are using 2 objects to facilitate the sounds. Sand + Object = sound of sand and that object.

Your hands pounding sand like a drum is not the sound of sand, it's the sound of your hands, your flesh, hitting sand.

Sand is hitting the glass, *ting!* : you would probably not get the same tone from sand hitting other grains of sand.

So, those are really nice samples of sand hitting a contact microphone or a glass, etc., but it's not 100% the sound of sand, alone... which, like I said above is pretty limited in range.
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Technically, you didn't read the description of this project : )
Every sound you hear in the video is made from sand.
What I'm playing on the keyboard is the tuned noise of the sand, mapped into a sampler. The melody, the chord sounds, the bass, everything is extracted from sand noises.
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Technically, most of the time he is recording the sound of the sand on whatever object he's using.

Sand hitting the microphone. Sand hitting the glass. Without an object for the sand to hit and make different sounds, he'd only have the sound of sand hitting sand which is pretty boring.
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