Course overview


Online teaching

We are now offering many of our courses online (over Zoom or similar platforms). No prior experience with these platforms is required. Continue learning with us by taking courses remotely via live distance learning.


Field Recording documents the world of sound around us: environments, animals and human activity of every kind. It plays a key role in radio, film, online content and art practice. Using field recording and ‘found sound’ in composition has a rich history that goes back to the 1930s. This course explores the benefits of contemporary digital equipment, while developing your understanding of analogue processes. We’ll focus on your individual practice, both theoretically and practically

This course is suitable for anyone who has some experience in field recording and a basic understanding of digital audio software. We aim to improve both your theoretical and technical skills through a programme that embraces historical and contemporary sources and provides you with hands-on access to high-quality equipment. If you have already taken our Introduction to Field Recording and the Soundscape course you will find this course to be an ideal way to extend and develop your skills and understanding and shape a personal practice in a nurturing and supportive environment. We will refresh your understanding of basics and explore the techniques used by industry professionals. There will be plenty of hands-on time with equipment in workshops and during field trips.

During the course we will also focus on your individual practice: be it documentary of artistic and look at ways you can advance and develop your work. To this end, the course will explore multichannel composition and diffusion as well as stereo approaches and look at a wide range of sound installation practice. We will also spend time at Goldsmiths Electronic Music Studios recording objects and instruments, making sound effects, performing Foley for the moving image and looking at techniques and processes for recording professional standard dialogue and voiceovers. We will also explore a wide range of composition techniques and develop our understanding of the digital audio workstation (DAW). You will become a proficient Pro Tools user – or students with their own laptops/software can use other packages if they prefer. We’ll look at de-noising software and plug-ins and consider a range of approaches for sound manipulation.

Over ten weeks we will impart new and critical awareness around listening, recording, and composing with soundscapes. You will develop your technical knowledge so creative aims can be more fully realised, and we will assist you in the development of your creative sound practice. As well as field recording we will also focus on relevant studio practices associated with recording objects (including instruments), dialogue and voiceovers and extend you knowledge of soundscape composition to include multi-channel formats and sound installation techniques.

The skills you will acquire are transferrable 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?

• Develop your field recording skills both in terms of techniques and knowledge of equipment.
• Gain an understanding of the different modes of listening, digital audio theory, and advanced recording techniques.
• The course takes full advantage of Goldsmiths' extensive resources and with expert guidance and tuition, you will learn how to get great results every time you go on location.
• Develop an awareness of related studio practices: micing and recording sound sources, Foley, recording narratives and voice-overs.
• Use software to a high standard to create and organise soundscape compositions
• Utilise plugins to transform sounds and perceptions.
• Develop strategies for composing for various diffusions and media
• Explore multi-channel approaches to composition




Booking information

Disability Support

We are committed to providing reasonable teaching adjustments for students with disabilities that may impact on their learning experience. If you require adjustments, please complete the relevant section on the booking form and also contact us at so we can respond to your requests as soon as possible. 

Please note that our short courses sell-out quickly, so early booking is advisable.

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If you have any questions about this course please contact shortcourses ( .

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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/Workshop: Field Recording – Basics and Extended Techniques.

We will review our understanding of digital audio recorders and look at file formats and other settings. Mono and stereo techniques using built-in microphones and external mics will be discussed along with more esoteric options such as binaural in-ear mics, hydrophones (underwater), contact mics (surfaces), coil mics (electromagnetic content) and ultrasound detectors. We will also explore extended techniques using micro-condensers, multi-channel recording, mid/sides stereo, boundary layer and lavalier microphones. This will be a practical recording session on campus.

Week 2 - DIY Workshop: Make your own Contact Microphones + Preparation for Field Trip.

Contact microphones are low cost items that are easy to make. They are good for capturing noises from inside objects such as machines, water tanks and wire fences. Home made contact mics can be installed in sound sculptures and used in performance. This session will also introduce you to the tools and basic processes of soldering.  We will continue to practice recording on campus and discuss the forthcoming field trip.

Week 3. Saturday Field Trip 12-4pm

Starting at the Greenwich foot tunnel we will progress to Island Gardens and then onward to our final destination, Canary Wharf.  You will be provided with a range of specialist field recording equipment and you can bring along your own if you wish. 

Week 4 - Field trip De-brief, Group Listening to Recordings + Composing in the Studio.

In this fun and interesting session we get to hear what you chose to record and how. These sessions always reveal some remarkable content.  At the end of the session we will transfer recordings onto the studio’s computers for use in your composition. Recordings will also be made available for download so you can explore them on your own as well.

Week 5 - Lecture/Workshop: Sound Making – Recording Objects (including acoustic instruments), Voiceovers, Dialogue and Performing Foley.

We will use the Electronic Music Studio to look at specialist microphones and techniques for recording acoustic instruments and sound making objects. We will makes our own sound effects using analogue techniques and generate sound content for a short film. We will use a range of microphones to record the human voice.

Week 6 - Lecture/Lab – Basic Principles, Compression, EQ and Reverb + Composing with Sound in the Studio.

In this session we will refresh our understanding of the basic elements of working with a digital audio workstation (DAW): session formats, sound file imports, making and editing tracks, track fades, using compression, EQ and reverb plug-ins and automation. Pro Tools will be used for demonstration purposes and will be available for you to use on the computers in the Electronic Music Studios. You can also use your own laptops/software if you wish. You may choose to work individually or in groups.

Week 7- Lecture/Lab – Further Effects, Plug-ins and Composition Strategies + Composing with Sound in the Studio.

We will review a range of plug-ins that can be used to modify field recordings for sonic and creative effect. A number of sound art and documentary practices will be used to give examples of compositional strategies and participant are invited (but not required) to deliver short presentations about their own work with sound and receive group feedback. We will continue working on our compositions.

Week 8 - Lecture/Workshop – Processing Sound + Organising Sound and Building Sound Libraries + Composing in the Studio.

We will explore the sound-shaping potential of stand-alone software applications such as Spear, AudioSculp and soundhack. Isotope RX will be used to demonstrate ways of ‘cleaning up’ and manipulating audio recordings. We will also investigate ways of archiving sound and creating personal libraries for easy access and use.

Week 9 - Lecture/Workshop – Introduction to Multi-channel Formats + Installation Sound + Composing in the Studio.

In this session we will explore 5.1 and 8.1 surround sound through both listening to examples and getting hands on experience with Pro Tools HD and Logic Pro X at the Electronic Music Studio.

Week 10 - Lecture/Lab – Composing in the Studio - Completion of Work + Group Listening and Feedback.

In this final session you will have time to complete your individual or group compositions and we will address basic mastering concepts and approached for creating finished work. The second half of the session will focus of playing and discussion your work – this can be finished pieces or work in progress.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course you will have gained:

• Advanced understanding of field recording techniques and equipment.
• Transferrable skills that can be used in a number of different contexts, including sound art and fine art, as well as documentary film and radio production.

• A good working knowledge of digital audio software and an informed understanding of the various options available. 

• How to use a range of microphones in the studio or on location to record instruments and objects.
• A well developed understanding of the current and historical contexts of phonography.
• The theoretical, contextual and practical skill to help you develop ideas, make great sounding recordings and progress your practice.

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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