In 2005 the Music Technology Group at UPF launched Freesound.org (http://www.freesound.org/), a collaborative sound database where people from different disciplines share recorded sounds and samples under the Creative Commons license. 7 years later, Freesound.org has become one of the most popular sites for sharing sound snippets, serving around 35.000 visits per day, having more than 2 millions registered users accessing more than 130.000 uploaded sounds. The project has received relevant award as two times Google research awards, the Barcelona City award in the mutimedia category and a BMW award. Throughout the last years, the Freesound project was developed further through a set of specific initiatives, one of those is Sons de Barcelona.
Starting in 2008 with the financial of BMW award, Sons de Barcelona (Sounds of Barcelona) (http://barcelona.freesound.org/) is a project that aims to foster interest in music technologies among the students community and adults through creative workshops in secondary schools, music schools or other cultural entities, working with environmental sounds. The recordings done during the workshops are uploaded and shared in Freesound
The main objectives of Sons de Barcelona are:
- Contribute to increase interest for the sounds and technology through workshops with different groups of people, mainly young people in secondary schools
- Promote the individual and collective creativity by introducing people to music technologies and their creative potencial
- Empower young people to recording environmental sounds and create compositions from them.
- Foster the open source culture through internet by encouraging young people to share sound recordings in Freesound under Creative Commons liscence.
All the workshops are customized for every educational or cultural center where it will take place. They are designed around the work of the participants, and adapted to the special features of the centre where they are taking place, working together with teacher or cultural manager. The contents and methodologies of the workshops will relate to the working methods or procedures developed in those centers, in order to promote interdisciplinary ways to work with sounds.. The team driving the workshops is composed by musician and educators. It is important to highlight that most of their contributions are carried out on a voluntary basis.
The workshops involve around 15 or 20 attendants, and time varies depending on the number and type of attendants taking from 5 to 10 hours (divided into 2 to 5 days).
Since 2011, Sons de Barcelona expanded by participating in the Project “Sounds of Europe” (http://www.soundsofeurope.eu/), together with Q-O2 (Belgium), IRZU – Institute for Sonic Arts and Research (Eslovenia) and the research centre CRISAP from the University of London (UK). Partners within the project share artistic experiences and exchange sounds at European level. As part of the project, Sons de Barcelona participates in the programme The City Rings, which consists in the sharing of rounds and compositions amongst schools in different countries. These materials serve as the basis for the debate and appreciation of sound, as well as material for exercises. This is a 2-year project with the financial support of the European Commission.
Number of workshops: Sons de Barcelona has developed so far 23 workshops in Barcelona. The number of sounds uploaded as a result are 538.
Number of attendants: It has served more than 300 people, from primary and secondary schools students, music students and adults.
Geographical outreach: Being in its beginnings limited to Barcelona, from 2011 Sons de Barcelona is participating in the European project “Sounds of Europe” in order to share artistic experiencies related to enviromental sounds amogst different European cities:. Spain, Denmark, Belgium, UK, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Estonia, Slovenia, Sweden and Greece.
Places where workshops have been held: schools (12), universities (2), cultural centers (4), libraries (5), art centres.
Dissemination: the project has appeared in the main local media and Sons de Barcelona also has won the Catalonia Audiovisual Council award.
Sons de Barcelona focuses its interest in different ways of exploring and thinking about the sounds (typically ignored in any curricula), and through it, contributes to a better understanding of the technological tools developed for its processing and exploitation. Additionally, it becomes an excellent platform for the exploration of creativity, environmental and cultural issues.
Through creative strategies, participants are encouraged to generate “soundscapes”, as a testimonial of city life.
New generations are totally immersed in the internet era, but some of young people just use internet for leisure. Those workshops also aim to introduce this young people to the possibility of creating cultural and artistic contents in internet, and to share works and co-create using digital platforms.
The works are uploaded in Freesound and other people can work with them, composing and creating different works. As a result, this generates a chain of artistic creation, working from original field recordings and turning them into musical compositions. One sound can generate a variety of new sounds. And those, can also generate more new sounds.
Critical mass: With more than 40 researchers coming from different and complementary disciplines, the MTG carries out research on topics such as audio signal processing; sound and music description; musical advanced interaction; social communities around sound and music and gesture modeling techniques. Its size and consolidated status guarantee that it may keep the workshops running for a longer period.
Accessibility of experiences: At the web, the experiences in the Workshops are explained, pictures and videos.
Accessibility of material: Freesound and creative commons: All registered sounds in the workshops are uploaded in Freesound. Freesound works on a creative commons license. The educational materials are also available for teachers and educators.
Sons de Barcelona has proved its universality with its extension to other european cities. Future plans include workshops focused on multicultural identity related to sound. For this project, Sons de Barcelona will work closely with the asian communities living in Barcelona and their soundscapes.