The course introduces Sound Studies as a discipline that explores the multiple end dynamic meanings of sounds. Traditionally sound is seen as a medium for signification: the content of a radio program is the spoken word, and the content of music is musical form or structure. Sound Studies go beyond the paradigm of medium/content to reflect how sonic experiences are codified and interpreted at different cultural, discursive and historical moments. How do voice qualities and timbre produce meanings in different contexts? How can a sonic environment or a soundscape be experienced as meaningful respectively noisy?

Sound Studies are open to historical or cross-cultural investigations as well as to exploratory investigations of sound in contemporary culture. It puts emphasis on developing skills in analyzing of, reflecting in and communicating through sound.  

The course incorporates video tutorials as well as interactive texts and assignments, where students are encouraged to use audio technologies. It draws in open access texts from established journals in the field and The Sound Studies Reader (ed. Jonathan Sterne, 2012), which students are recommended to acquire. Though being embedded within a multimodal field of resources and practices, Sound Studies privileges sound resources as well as methods that will allow learners to work beyond transcripts, thus introducing to sound as an artistic, cultural and meaning making field of its own.

The goal of the Sound Studies course is to equip you with basic knowledge and skills to deal with these opportunities.

Sound Studies in five units

The Sound Studies course is divided into five main units, which do not progress in a linear mode so you may either access them individually or consecutively.

After introducing to the field of Sound Studies, you will move from how voices are perceived and analyzed over theories and practices of listening into the theories of soundscapes and productions for sound environments as well as how to produce podcasts and how production formats offers both explorative and experimental design thinking and knowledge production.

  • in Unit 1: What is Sound Studies, you will get a first introduction to Sound Studies as research field and academic discipline, to the basic media archeology of sound as well as to analyzing and reflecting through listening
  • in Unit 2: Voicing, you will get an introduction to how voice is studied and become familiar with different levels of voice analysis with hands on examples and application of tools
  • in Unit 3: Listening, you will be introduced to theories of listening, how to contextualize what you are hearing and what the patterns are in individual hearing, as well as to different listening modes
  • in Unit 4: Sonic Environments, you will get an introduction to the theory of soundscapes and how you may work on the sound either shaping space or being distributed in space
  • in Unit 5: Producing a Podcast, you are introduced to the growing field of podcasting, and you will get basic guidelines and technical skills for producing and sharing your own podcast

There are no prerequisites for this course. You will, however, get recommendations for exercises and small assignments to test and develop your skills; we recommend that you take the exercises and do the assignments – if possible in small groups – to accomplish on the level of learning for which the course is designed. As course designers we believe that if you do so, the course will provide the knowledge, competences and skills within Sound Studies that we offer.

Learning and teaching with #dariahTeach Sound Studies

The Sound Studies course is designed for the BA-level, and may as all #dariahTeach courses be entered either as an individual learner relying on the #dariahTeach framework or be embedded in a curricular framework and local learning management system (LMS) for higher education or tertiary level teaching.

As an individual learner you may either learn on your own or form your own collaborative learning environment by encouraging fellow learners to join and to share experiences in how to access, analyze, share, and produce knowledge in sound.

If you wish, as a teacher on tertiary level, to embed the Sound Studies course and select units from the course, in your curricular framework or in your course work, you may use our Sound Studies exercises as resources for students’ peer-to-peer work while shaping your lectures with the help of our bibliography, recommended sound repositories and archives as well as tools.

Our literature recommendations are built on up-to-date research articles mainly in open access established journals within the field of Sound Studies, on select specialized articles acquired and copyright cleared for #dariahTeach Sound Studies, as well as on The Sound Studies Reader (ed. Jonathan Sterne, 2012), which our learners are recommended to acquire. 

You will find the Sound Studies literature recommendations in the left hand bar, together with recommendations for sound resources in open access archives and collections and recommendations for tools and software.


Sound Studies forum

The Sound Studies course also offers the Sound Studies forum as a small social platform for knowledge sharing and community building. Please start by making a post with your own name in the Sound Studies forum and tell us who you are and why you are interested in the course. The forum is designed as a facility for collaborative learning and knowledge exchange. It includes a few prepared Q&A's about Sound Studies. Please feel free to comment and to make new posts for discussion.

Who Created This Course:

Marianne Huang

Marianne Huang is associate professor with School for Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark. She instigated and served as head of research 2010-2011 with the digital research infrastructure project, LARM Audio Research Archive (2010-2014). LARM and the LARM services and resources are now embedded with the Danish DH infrastructure DIGHUMLAB. Marianne Huang has been working with DARIAH since 2011, on the DARIAH virtual competence center for Research and Education.


Jacob Kreutzfeldt

Jacob Kreutzfeldt is an independent researcher in the fields of sound and cultural studies. He has taught and coordinated an Auditory Culture Masters Elective course at The University of Copenhagen 2009-2016 and has also taught courses in cultural theory and communication. His research focuses on urban sonic environments, radio history, sound archives and sound art. He has been involved in two larger research projects: LARM Audio Research Archive (2010-2014) and Transnational Radio Encounters (2013-2016), and has supplied teaching material for the MOOC in Transnational Radio Stories.


Anna Lawaetz
Anna Lawaetz is an independent researcher in the fields of sound and audience studies. She defended her PhD about voice aesthetics and DH at University of Copenhagen in 2014 as a part of the LARM Audio Research Archive (2010-2014). She is engaged as researcher for The Royal Danish Theatre in the project A Suitcase of Methods (2015-2019). Beside her research she is working as a dramaturge and is founder of the performance group Sisters Hope and Lawaetz Aesthetics. 

Last modified: Wednesday, 15 March 2017, 7:46 AM