Field Recording and the Soundscape


10 weeks

Day and time:

Monday, 6.30-8.30pm


Next course: Starting date
Monday, 8 Jan 2018
Future courses: Upcoming dates

Course overview

Related subjects

Sound Engineering

Department Music

Dr Marcus Leadley


Richard Hoggart Building, Room 150

This course is suitable for those new to phonography and for those who want to improve the quality of their recordings.  Beneficial for artists working with sound and those who are ready to invest in more professional equipment.

Thanks so much for running the course!  I learned a lot and had a great time.  The field trip and guest lecturer were especially useful and informative and offered a nice break from the usual class routine.  Learning the theory first provided us with a really nice mental grounding in the subject before we tried to make anything.

Participant, 2017

This course was absolutely brilliant. I feel it was treated as seriously as if we were on a full time course - which surprised me (perhaps it shouldn't have - i don't know!). It was immediately a confidence-boost in that respect - and ethically I think it's absolutely spot on when so many people cannot afford to go into higher education.

Participant, 2017

We will listen for inspiration in the current and historical contexts of phonography. Over the length of the course you will gain an understanding of 'site' encompassing space, place and location as well as other intersections such as time and the socio-political. This course is ideal for complete newcomers to phonography, those who have some experience of phonography but want to improve the quality of their recordings or for artists who want to learn how to incorporate sound into their work for videos or installations.

This course is both practical and technical. We'll spend time outside, listening to and considering our surroundings. You will learn how to make high fidelity recordings using a variety of mic'ing techniques; there will be demonstrations and workshops using portable recorders, pre-amps and external microphones. This course is also a great opportunity to learn about software and audio editing techniques, and to enhance your recorded work using editing and EQ.

Over the duration of this course you will gain theoretical, practical and conceptual knowledge in phonography and soundscape composition that can be used in an aesthetic, documentary or political context.  These skills can be transferred broadly across Sound Art practice and fine art.  They can be used in radio or film and applied to location recording for films or post-production sound.  These skills can be used in documenting oral histories, building sound libraries, creating sound walks and more. 

Why study this course?

• Gain an understanding of the history and current practices of the soundscape, listening and related terminology.
• Develop an awareness of relevant audio and microphone techniques.
• Understand advantages/disadvantages and usage of specific models of portable recorders and pre-amplifiers.
• Use software to create and arrange soundscape compositions and effect and process sounds.

After you have taken this course you may be interested in taking our Advanced Field Recording and Soundscape Composition short course the following term.

Future courses

Upcoming dates:
Monday, 8 Jan 2018 - Monday, 12 Mar 2018
Monday, 1 Oct 2018 - Monday, 3 Dec 2018

How to Apply

Please click on the date of the course you’d like to attend below. You’ll be taken to Eventbrite, which is our booking system:

Please be advised our short courses sell-out quickly, so early booking is advisable. 






Tutor information

Dr Marcus Leadley

This course is taught by Dr. Marcus Leadley, a sound artist, composer, curator and academic whose work explores the relationship between sound and place. He holds an MMus in Studio Based Composition and a PhD in Sonic Arts. The title of his PhD thesis is In Situ Listening: Soundscape, Site and Transphonia.  Dr Leadley is an experienced field recordist and his current research interests include phonography, soundscape composition and acoustic ecology.

Course structure

Week 1 - Lecture – Listening, Context and History of the Soundscape

Week 2 - Lecture / Soundwalk – Listening, Context and History of the Soundscape con’t + Soundwalk

Week 3 - Lecture / Workshop – ‘Site’ - Space, Place, Location + Recording Equipment Workshop

Week 4 - Lecture / Seminar – microsounds and recording Seminar

Week 5 - Field Trip on Sunday from 12-4pm

Week 6 - Lecture – Soundscape and the socio-political + Composing Soundscapes

Week 7 – Lecture / Lab – Composing Soundscapes con’t + Software Intro

Week 8 - Lecture / Lab – Composing and Software con’t

Week 9 - Lecture / Lab – EQ, effects and processing sound

Week 10 - Lecture / EMS lab – Presenting Work and Feedback

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will have gained:

• Theoretical, practical and conceptual knowledge in phonography and soundscape composition
• Transferrable skills that can be used in a number of different contexts, including sound art and fine art, as well as documentary.
• An understanding of ‘site’ encompassing space, place and location
• An awareness of audio and microphone techniques
• An understanding of the current and historical contexts of phonography

About the department

Our Department of Music is a dynamic, creative and exciting place dedicated to both producing and understanding the theories behind music. From symphonies to soundscape, we cover a diverse range of topics, those which challenge the status quo, and those which forge sounds of the future. We've enabled musicians ranging from Errolyn Wallen, to James Blake, to Mercury Prize winning Katy B to realise their full potential. Even Placebo frontman, Brian Molko, has studied here. We host courses from our state-of-the-art Electronic Music Studios, which uses Pro Tools HD.

The Department hosts one course on Phonography at undergraduate level and touches on it briefly in two modules at Masters levels. We also offer the Masters programme, MMus – Sonic Arts. The Unit for Sound Practice Research based at Goldsmiths has as one of its concerns ‘Phonography, soundscape studies and field recording’ Students on this course will utilise Goldsmiths’ multi-channel Electronic Music Studios in realising multi-channel compositions which are unique and unparalleled throughout the majority of London’s educational institutions.


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