I Would Rather Walk With You Participants

Thank you for registering to take part in contributing recordings for I Would Rather Walk With You. This page contains helpful resources to assist you. If you have any questions or would like to chat about your contribution, you can email me on emily@emilypeasgood.com or telephone 07749 115 484.

This web page is a digital version of the information I have emailed you, expanded upon in sections with additional videos and recordings. To download a text version of this web page, download the ‘EXPANDED’ Participation Pack below.

About the Artwork and Fort Burgoyne

Introduction to I Would Rather Walk With You

I Would Rather Walk With You is a musical composition and sound installation that will be permanently installed in the West Wing Battery at Fort Burgoyne. The Battery is surrounded by a ditch, has walls with gun loops (slit windows) in, and is accessed across a bridge that leads into a Gatehouse and the Battery.

Crossing the ditch into the Gatehouse. Image by Lee Evans Partnership, taken during stabilisation works.

As a visitor approaches the bridge, a choral work will commence emitting outwards through the gun loops to create the illusion of people standing in positions of defence. Each gun loop emits one voice, with all combining as a choir that sing about community and working together. In the Gatehouse, intimate spoken voices can be heard, recollecting stories and memories surrounding Fort Burgoyne, talking about community, and discussing hopes for the future of the West Wing Battery. Some of the recollections are sourced from WW2 audio archives, and are demonstrated on the website. Other recollections and discussions will come from you if you choose to answer the Questions detailed in the list of Sound Effects. Inside the Battery, sound effects that capture its history can be heard. There are three locations where the artwork can be heard: the bridge, the Gatehouse and inside the Battery. Your recordings will feature in the Gatehouse and inside the Battery.

About the West Wing Battery at Fort Burgoyne

To create sound effects that capture the spirit of The West Wing Battery, here is a summary of what we know about this interesting location. Fort Burgoyne (originally Castle Hill Fort) was built from 1861-1868 to improve defences to Dover dockyards, creating a strong military position as a land front fortification. It had additional West and East Wing Battery’s to cover areas of ground not covered by the guns at the Fort. I Would Rather Walk With You will be installed in the West Wing Battery. Fort Burgoyne.

Fort Burgoyne. Image by Elle Halley/The Land Trust.

An interesting fact about Fort Burgoyne is that it wasn’t heavily used for its intended purpose as a defence fort. When work on the Fort and the Battery’s was complete, finding enough regular Garrison Artillerymen to look after the guns was difficult. At the time, there was a strong volunteer movement in the UK and as such, Volunteers were recruited and trained in how to look after the guns at summer camps. For most of the year, the guns were put into care and maintenance. However, once every two years, they were fired three times consecutively to test they were in working order.

The role of the Volunteers was very important. In Victoria times, it was common to hold an annual yearly ‘Volunteer Review’. At Fort Burgoyne’s Volunteer Review, the Volunteers assembled in the grounds surrounding the Fort and enacted in a mock battle. On Easter Monday in April 1876, The Times reported that 3000 Volunteers took part and were so good, their job couldn’t have been done better than by the regular troops. In the years leading up to 1898, several mock battles occurred at the Fort, often observed by the people of Dover. It was an exciting event, designed to show off the Volunteers’ ability to defend Dover if the occasion arose. They took pride in their roles, and enjoyed demonstrating their skills in teamwork. However, from 1900 the Fort was obsolete. It became a barracks for Infantry regiments and depot for the Army, rather than a front-line defence for Dover.

In the lead up to WW1, many of the guns were removed, and in 1912, huts were built to the south of the Fort as a precursor to Connaught Barracks. During WW1, conscientious objectors were imprisoned at Fort Burgoyne, en route to Canterbury prison. In WW2, the West and East Wing Battery’s were reinforced with trenches for riflemen, and in 1940 a barrage balloon was tethered close to the West Wing Battery (‘B’ flight No. 8).

From the 1960s, the Fort was mostly unused but still retained by the military. It is said that one Commanding Officer of Connaught Barracks used the West Wing Battery as a garden. In 1979, the Fort was scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act as a site of national importance. It was released by the military in 2006, Connaught Barracks was released for a housing development, and in 2014 The Homes and Communities Agency transferred the site to the Land Trust with an endowment to help secure its future.

The Gun Shed. Image by Lee Evans Partnership, taken during stabilisation works.

When I visited the Battery, I was excited about its possibility as a space whose Victorian and later history could be remembered through sound and music. It is a beautiful and still place. While it has not been heavily used for its intended purpose, it has seen action at points in history. Its soundscape would have likely included Royal Garrison Artillery men training the Volunteers, practicing drills and firing guns. I have managed to obtain some archival sound recordings that capture life at Fort Burgoyne and the West Wing Battery in WW2, and hope to also create the sound effect of a barrage balloon. The West Wing Battery would have been a hub of activity at different points in time, with people discussing their daily lives, family and friends, or whistling as they went about their duties. The sounds I am asking you to create aim to capture this history to transport visitors back in time. They also explore how the Volunteers had a sense of pride in their role, and worked together as a community to prepare for the possibility of defending Dover. The Land Trust aim to establish the West Wing Battery as a community space for all to access, enjoy, relax and play in, a theme that is explored through the sound effects, spoken sentences and questions I will ask you to record.

For more information about Fort Burgoyne, CLICK HERE.

How do I take part?

Making and Sending Recordings

There are several ways to create and send recordings. Once you have decided the best method for you, I recommend making and emailing yourself a test recording to check it works and familiarise yourself with the process. I do not mind what file format your recording is in (e.g. mp3, WAV, mp4), but if you have the option WAV is preferable. If you cannot find a suitable recording method, please get in touch to discuss other options.

iPhone app: Voice Memo: The built-in Voice Memo app can capture audio very well if you tweak some settings. Go into SETTINGS > VOICE MEMOS > AUDIO QUALITY and change the quality to LOSSLESS. There is a video demonstration of using Voice Memo on the website page, titled: ‘Making and Sending a Lock Down Sound Recording’. Email recordings to emily@emilypeasgood.com.

Android app: Titanium Recorder: Titanium Recorder is a great app for recording. To adjust settings, tap the MENU button (three dots) at the top right of the screen and select SETTINGS. I recommend adjusting GAIN if you need to. Increasing GAIN allows a louder and more detailed recording, which is useful if you are making a quiet recording. Decreasing GAIN is useful for a loud recording, to avoid peaking (distorting). Email recordings to emily@emilypeasgood.com.

Mobile phone Dictaphone & Audio Text Messages: Most mobile telephones have a Dictaphone app. Older phones usually have a Dictaphone feature accessed in the MENU. If you have an older phone, ensure it is possible to email recordings to emily@emilypeasgood.com.

Most smartphones allow you to send recordings as text messages, by pressing a microphone icon near the text message window. Send recordings to 07749 115 484.

Facebook Messenger Voice Messages: Visit my artist page: http://facebook.com/emilypeasgood and click SEND MESSAGE. In the message window, click the + sign in the lower left corner. This will bring up a microphone symbol you can press and hold to make a recording. If accessing Facebook from a laptop, you will need to open the message in the main message window (as opposed to a small tab at the bottom of your Facebook feed) to see the + sign. Feel free to send a test recording (Image below).

Recording in Facebook Messenger

WhatsApp voice messages: Add me as a contact on WhatsApp: 07749 115 484. The record function is in the bottom right-hand corner of the message window (Image below). Press and hold the microphone symbol to make a recording. Feel free to send a test recording.

Recording in WhatsApp

Voicemail: Leave your recordings as a voicemail on my telephone. Be sure to text first to explain what you are doing, so I don’t answer the telephone. My number is 07749 115 484.

On a website: http://online-voice-recorder.com allows you to make recordings online. It is free and easy to use. Press the red record button to make a recording. It may ask permission to access your laptop microphone. If so, click Yes. After recording, press STOP and save the file. By default, files are saved to your downloads folder. Email recordings to emily@emilypeasgood.com.

Laptop or Tablet: There are many free apps allowing recordings to be made on a laptop or tablet. If you require assistance, please contact me with your computer make and model, and I will help.

Other Recording Devices: If you are familiar with sound recording and have access to Dictaphones and other recording equipment, please use whichever device works best for you. Email recordings to emily@emilypeasgood.com.

How many recordings should I send you? You can send me as many recordings as you like, with as many variants or takes as you like. I recommend sending recordings as you go, as opposed to waiting to send them all at once.

What if my file is large? If you make recordings on a computer, or can transfer recordings from your phone to a computer, you can send larger files with these free online websites:

The 10 Commandments of Recording on a Mobile Phone

The 10 commandments of sound recording provides guidelines in sound recording. It is not necessary you read it – you can just get cracking and head straight to Recordings & Sound effects below. These guidelines are summarised in the Demonstration Videos.

The 10 Commandments for Sound Recording are adapted from Viers (2008) Sound Effects Bible.

1. Thou Shalt Create A Clean Sound Environment

Aim to record clean sounds in a clean sound environment. Clean sounds have as little background noise as possible. A clean environment is one that has good ‘acoustic’ qualities, and does not refer to whether you have dusted or hoovered lately!

Selecting Your Recording Environment

In sound recording, ‘acoustic’ is used to describe the sound (sonic) qualities of a room or space. Rooms and spaces have different acoustical properties. For example, theatres and cathedrals have specific internal shapes constructed from materials designed to amplify voices and musical instruments, such as stone and wood. Offices are designed to reduce volume with acoustical ceiling tiles, sound-absorbing cubicle panels, foam and carpets.

In your house, rooms that amplify sound have opposing surfaces, and feature hard materials such as tiles, steel and wood. People often enjoy singing in the shower or loo because the opposing surfaces and hard tiles create a reverb that is pleasurable to listen to. In contrast, rooms with carpets and soft furnishings absorb sound and the colour and volume of the sound is dulled.

The best room for recording in has as little reverb as possible, such as the living room, bedrooms, and spaces with carpet and soft furnishings. Have a walk around your house and see which room has sounds the dullest. This is the best spot to record in. (I know someone who records podcasts under their duvet, and it sounds fantastic because it is so dull).

Recording in your garden and other outside spaces can also work if there are not too many background noises or opposing walls; as outdoor sound is not contained in a space, it does not amplify as well. I Would Rather Walk With You is an outdoor artwork, and it would be good to do some outside recordings to match the acoustic environment of the West Wing Battery. If you do not have access to a garden at home, do not worry. I do not have a garden, and work around this by editing recording to sound like they were made outdoors.   

Making Your Recording Environment ‘Clean’

It is important to listen to your recording environment, to see if there are any background noises you can eliminate or reduce. Our homes are full of background noises from a variety of sources: 

  • Air conditioning/central heating: Turn it off if you can, or cover it with a blanket or coat to reduce the volume;
  • Cars/Vans/Planes/Trains: If you live in an area where vehicle traffic is audible, try to choose a room or time of day where it is less invasive;
  • Clocks ticking: Remove them from the room and your wrist;
  • Fluorescent lighting hum: Turn it off if possible;
  • Refrigerators: Select another room, or cover with a blanket;
  • Computers/Tablets/TV whirring away or pinging with notifications: Ideally, turn the WIFI or the device off; 
  • Telephone rings, beeps, vibrations, notifications: All mobile telephones in the room should be put in airplane mode during recording, as opposed to silent. When they are set to silent, they still transmit frequencies and cause electrical interference that is audible in recordings. I once undertook recording on a portable ‘Zoom’ recorder, with my phone on silent. During the recording, I did not know that I had received 10 text messages. When I listened to my recording the next day, I could hear a repetitive tone in the recording that was so loud, my recording was unusable.
  • Anything plugged into mains power: Mains powered devices have an electrical hum (AC Buzz). If you can’t turn it off, covering with a coat or blanket helps;
  • If outdoors, sounds of people mowing their lawns, chatting, playing, or even the wind on a breezy day: Select another time to record;

Most unwanted background noises can be dealt with by turning items off temporarily, covering items with a blanket or coat, and removing small items from the room. For outdoor recording, selecting a different time of day can be helpful. Battery powered devices—like a mobile telephone—are less likely to cause an electrical hum.  

Sound recordists have trained their ears to very aware of sounds we might usually ignore. If you would like to develop your listening skills, check out the Listening Exercises on the website.

2. Thou Shalt Slate Every Take With As Much Info As Possible
A film industry clapper board. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

You may be familiar with clapper-boards in the film industry. At the start of each take (recording), a clapper-board is filmed ‘clapping’. It contains vital information about the film take, such as what is being filmed, the director, the camera being used, and the date. Similarly, when recording sound, we should provide as much information as possible about each recording we make. This is called ‘slating’. After pressing ‘Record’, use the following template to slate your recording. For ease of access, a separate slate template has been sent to you and is available on the website.


1. Name of who is recording:

2. Name of what you are recording:

2. Name of the location you are recording in:

3. What device you are using to record with  (e.g. mobile telephone, laptop):

4. Where the device is placed (e.g. 2 inches away from mouth):

5. The time of the day:

6. Wait for at least 2 seconds before making your recording.

3. Thou Shalt Have A Pre Roll and a Post Roll of At Least 2 Seconds

Pre roll and post roll refers to silence before and after your recording. Often, people start recording immediately after pressing ‘Record’, and press stop immediately after recording.   This creates problems as sometimes the start and end are clipped off. When you press ‘Record’, wait for at least two seconds before recording your slate, and again before recording your sound. Similarly, once you have finished recording, wait for at least two seconds before stopping the recording.

4. Thou Shalt Record The Room Tone

For each recording location (e.g. the bedroom, the garden), make a 30-second recording of the sound of that location.  This is called recording the room tone. You might not hear the tone of your room, but it is unique and helpful for reducing background noise in the recordings you submit. It is helpful to record the room tone first, to get it over and done with. Remember to slate the recording of your room tone! An example is below:


1. Name of person recording:

2. Name of what you are recording: Room Tone

3. Name of the location you are recording in: Jenny’s bedroom

4. What device you are using to record with: My iPhone

5. Where the device is placed: Standing in centre of the room

6. The time of the day: 2pm

5. Thou Shalt Make A Separate Recording for Each take

Unless indicated in the Sound Effect list, ensure each recording is in a separate take with its own slate. Similarly, if you decided to record an object in a different way, do this as a new take with a new slate.Recording lots of sound effects and variations in a single take makes it difficult for me to understand what you are submitting and how to edit it.

6. Thou Shalt Check Your Phone Volume

It is important that the sound you record isn’t too quiet or too loud. The best way to monitor volume is to listen back with headphones after making each recording. When a sound is too loud, it peaks and will cause distortion, known as ‘peaking’. If a recording is too loud, you can adjust the overall volume of your phone or app, move further away from the phone, or lower the volume of your voice or sound effect. When a recording is too quiet, it blends with background noise and lacks clarity. In this situation, you can adjust the volume of your device, raise the volume of voice or sound effects, or move closer to the phone. Ideally, you should record as loud as possible without the volume peaking.

Pop shield. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Another cause of peaking is when air is blown into the phone. This can happen when speaking closely to the phone, or when recording outdoors on a breezy day. It creates a ‘whooshing’ effect that renders to the recording unusable. A solution is to use a pop shield (Image to the left) to prevent little ‘pops’ and blasts of air. You can create easily make a ‘pop-shield’ out of many items around the home, as demonstrated HERE. You can also make one out of paper, as demonstrated HERE.

When recording outdoors, you might experience wind blowing into the phone. I recommend recording at a different time when the wind is more favourable, finding a more sheltered spot, or altering your position. Usually, outdoor recordists use a furry windscreen placed around the microphone (you may have seen them on the TV during news casts), but they are less compatible with mobile telephones.

7. Thou Shalt Point The Phone At The Sound

The microphone in your phone will make a good recording when positioned correctly. First, we need to learn where the microphones are located. There is usually one microphone at the bottom of the handset where you speak, which I call the ‘speaking mic’, and sometimes an additional microphone by the camera. When recording, make sure your fingers or phone case are not touching or obstructing the microphones.

If you hold the phone at the sides, you should avoid touching the microphones. For standard speaking volume, position the speaking mic approximately 2-3 inches from your mouth. If using a laptop, sit directly in front of it. For louder calling or shouting, place the phone on a surface that is a similar height to your mouth or the object you are recording. Your phone should be on its back with the speaking mic closest to you. Experiment with distance if the recording is too loud or quiet. If you are recording someone passing by (e.g. walking and whistling), place the phone central to both directions: do not follow them with your phone.

8. Thou Shalt Not Interrupt A Take

Once you press RECORD and are in the middle of a take, let the take happen naturally. Avoid making changes to the location, placement of the phone, volume etc. If you want to make a change, finish the take you are doing, then do another with a new slate explaining what you are doing.

9. Thou Shalt Listen To Recordings with Headphones

Microphones hear sound in a very different way to our ears. Listening back to recordings on headphones or ear buds is the best way to hear what the microphone hears. This is called the true sound, and it isn’t possible to achieve by listening through phone speakers. If on listening back you think you can record more clearly, do the take again, with a new slate.

Headphones are another way to check if the volume of your recording is too loud or quiet. If on turning the phone volume up, the recording sounds ‘distorted’, it is worth recording again with some adjustments. If the recording is too quiet, you will hear a lot of background noise when you turn it up. Again, it is worth recording again with some adjustments.

10. Thou Shalt Record More Than You Need, and Offer Variety

There is no such thing as too many recordings. It’s great to provide variety, and some recordings might not be usable for a several reasons. In this case, I can select your ‘best take’.

Sound recordists refer to extra recordings as ‘Safety takes’ as they are there, just in case.

If you can offer variety, please do so. Variety can be created by recording the same spoken sentence or sound effect:

  • In different rooms;
  • With different lengths, e.g. do some long and some short takes;
  • With different impact, e.g.  do some quieter and some louder;
  • With different speed, e.g. do some quicker and some slower;
  • With the phone in different places, e.g. close to you, and further away.

Send me every take you record, even takes you think are PANTS. I want them all!

Demonstration Videos

Choosing the best room in your house to record in:

Watch me recording sound effects:

Recordings & Sound Effects

What are Sound Effects?

A sound effect is any sound recorded or performed live that tells a story. In I Would Rather Walk With You, one sound effect ‘barrage balloon’ simulates the story and effect of the barrage balloon that was tethered near to the West Wing Battery in the 1940s.

A good sound effect sounds like what it is, without needing to tell the listener what they are hearing. Sound effects can make a story come alive; sweeping the listener into the story. Films provide a good example of the importance of sound effects. Without sound effects, films—particularly animated films—lack life and do not sound ‘real’. A great example can be seen in the work of Foley artists, who use objects to create sounds based on a character’s actions in movies and TV programmes.

You will create sound effects in a similar way to Foley artists, without the visual element. But, I am a strong believer that hearing gets to places sight cannot see. Hearing certain sounds triggers and creates stories and memories without the need to see those stories and memories on a screen. In a location like the West Wing Battery, sound is a powerful way to immerse people in its history and stories.  Sound can also help us remember the past. Sounds disappear from our soundscape, and when we hear them again we are transported to a different moment in time. Some of the sounds that were unique to the West Wing Battery and Fort Burgoyne no longer exist. They are lost, with no known recordings. We are going to try and recreate them. Can you record these sound effects as though you are trying to preserve them for a museum collection?

Recordings and Sound Effects

There is a wide selection of categories and sound effects to choose from. You can record one, some or all. If you have visited Fort Burgoyne/the West Wing Battery before, I am very interested in hearing your responses to the Questions. I am also interested in hearing your own ideas for each category. If there are any sounds or sentences you feel might have been heard at the West Wing Battery throughout its history, please do record them. This is intended as a guide, and your contributions are equally valuable, if not more so.

1. Questions to Answer

If you have visited Fort Burgoyne/the West Wing Battery before, these questions are very relevant. If you have not, you can still answer question 3. 

Recording tips: Answer each question in a new recording. Ensure each recording is slated with a description. E.g. for the first question, the slate might be: ‘My memories of the Battery’.  I’d like these recordings to sound intimate, like you are close by. To get this effect, I recommend placing the phone 2-3 inches from your mouth. You might want to fashion a ‘pop-shield’ if you can hear air blowing into the microphone. Listen back through headphones to check the volume, and make another take if necessary, or to provide variety.

About your memories

  • Please talk about any memories you have of Fort Burgoyne/the West Wing Battery.
  • What does Fort Burgoyne/the West Wing Battery mean to you?

About Fort Burgoyne/the West Wing Battery today

  • What do you think about Fort Burgoyne/the West Wing Battery, as it is today?
  • What do you think about the work that is taking place there?

About the future of The West Battery

  • What does community mean to you?
  • The West Wing Battery is going to be a community space. What kind of space do you hope it will be?

2. Voice Acting: Scripted Sentences

Say the following sentences in your regular speaking voice. Some tips about the emotion I’d like you to convey are included in brackets at the start of each sentence. If you have visited the West Wing Battery, please feel free to add a new sentence about your experience there.

Recording tips: Say each line in a new recording. Ensure each recording is slated with a description. E.g. for the first sentence, the slate might be: ‘Saying: ‘I would rather walk with you’’.  I’d like these recordings to sound intimate, like you are close by. To get this effect, I recommend placing the phone 2-3 inches from your mouth. You might want to fashion a ‘pop-shield’ if you can hear air blowing into the microphone. Listen back through headphones to check the volume, and make another take if necessary or to provide variety.
  • [Serious/thoughtful] I would rather walk with you in the dark than be alone in the light.
  • [Serious] We are standing where other people haven’t been for a long time.
  • [Wonder or excitement] It feels like a secret garden! 
  • [Amazed] It’s like a secret world to take refuge in.
  • [Thoughtful] A beautiful place, secret and quiet, with so many layers of history.
  • [Add your own sentence]

3. Voice Acting: Imagination Scripts
Crossing the ditch into the Gatehouse. Image by Lee Evans Partnership, taken during stabilisation works.

On the Gatehouse

Imagine you are standing at the top of the Gatehouse above, looking down on people approaching the bridge into the Battery. Call out the following short words/phrases.

Recording tips: As calling is loud, place the phone further away from you, ideally at chest or mouth height. Experiment with different distances to avoid distorting the recording, starting with 2 meters away.You can record these words/phrases in two ways:

1. All words/phrases in a single take with a 2 second gap between each. In your slate, I would suggest saying something like: ‘On the Gatehouse, all the words’ or ‘Training Drills, all the words’. 

2. Each word/phrase as a separate recording, but said in several different ways. Slate each recording. E.g. for ‘Hello!’ the slate would simply be ‘Recording ‘Hello!’’.

Listen back through headphones to check the volume and make another take if necessary, or try saying the words differently.

  • I’m the King of the Castle! You’re the dirty rascal!
  • Hello!
  • On guard!
  • Everyone is welcome here!
  • I’m Commanding Officer [your name]
  • Who goes there?
  • Are you ready?
  • [Call your own name]
  • Over the top!
  • To the rear!
  • To the side!
  • To the right!
  • To the left!

Do you have any suggestions to add to this list?   

Training Drills

These words are from training drills in 1877. You can find out more information here. Every command must be loud, and distinctly pronounced, ideally at the same pitch.

Stand at easeEyes RightRight HandFront
Stand easyEyes LeftLeft HandForward
Attention!Eyes FrontRightRear
One! Two! Three!Right TurnLeftQuick March
OrderLeft TurnAbout TurnSlow March
OpenHaltInclineDouble March
CloseCompany Halt!By the right 
DismissInclineBy the left 

Do you have any suggestions to add to this list?  

4. Sound Effects

You can record these indoors and outdoors to provide variety: one location, or both!

Recording tip: Make a new recording for each sound effect. Ensure you slate it with a brief description, and record for at least 20 seconds. Longer takes are better for movement effects. Listen through headphones to check the volume and make another take if necessary or for variety. As each recording varies, suggestions on phone placement are below.

Movement sound effects

These effects benefit from varied approaches. For walking, marching and stamping, vary surfaces e.g. gravel, carpet, tiles, wood, a creaky staircase.  Vary shoes: clogs, boots, wellies.

Children playing Victorian games in the garden (e.g. skipping rope, yo-yo, marbles, etc.)Phone placement as high as possible. 3 feet is ideal. No garden? Try placing the phone in different locations. Recording indoors.

Children playing Chevy/Prisoner’s baseThis is an old Victorian ’tag’ game, where the child must get to  ‘base’ without being caught. When they get to base, they shout ‘prisoner’s base!’ When they are caught, ‘Chevy!’ is called, instead of ‘tag’.  Record as above.

Walking and whistlingPhone placement: central at waist height. If someone is holding the phone for you, they should keep it in the exact same position and avoid following you with it as you walk by. This will give a ‘passing by’ effect.

Footsteps walking by / Marching by / Marching on the spot / Stamping / RunningPhone placement: central and near to the ground. Record with the phone central, and quite near to the ground. If someone is holding the phone for you, as them to keep it still and not follow you. This will give a ‘passing by’ effect.

Do you have any suggestions to add to this list?

Human sound effects

As these effects are recorded at close range, avoid recording right after eating a meal or drinking fizzy or sugary drinks, as it can coat the mouth and create wet smacking sounds when the mouth is opened and closed. These effects might benefit from a pop shield. Some tips on phone placement are below:

Laughing and gigglingExperiment with how far away the phone should be, so the volume isn’t too loud.

Quiet gigglingPlace the phone 2-3 inches from the mouth

SssshTry saying this in different ways: urgently, gently, like an angry librarian, or a cheeky child trying to avoid being caught doing something naughty!

Chatting about day to day activitiesChat away about your day to day activities. If there are two men in your household, I’d love a conversation of men chatting away. Women are invited too, of course!

Do you have any suggestions to add to this list?

Other/Object sound effects

A belt snapping togetherFold the belt, and make a snapping sound however you see fit. Phone placement: level with belt. Record with the volume as high as possible, without peaking. Try doing a version from a distance too, in a new take. 

A car driving by If safe, record from the side of the road. Keep the phone waist-height and central. To create a ‘passing by’ effect, keep t he phone still and avoid following the car. I will edit this sound to create the hum of a  ‘barrage balloon’. Airplanes will work too.

A match being struckRecord as close to the phone as possible.

RainIf you have a garden and a hose, rain can be captured by spraying it on different surfaces: the side of the house, concrete, brick, shingles, grass. Keep the stream steady and constant and try to record for at least 30 seconds. Record each surface on a different take. Place phone central and higher than the hose. Avoid spraying your phone!

Banging a drumIf you don’t have a drum, can you find something else to record that sounds like one? Sometimes banging a wooden spoon on a book creates a similar effect. Get experimental! Phone placement: level with object. Record with the volume as high as possible, without peaking. Try doing a version from a distance too, in a new take. 

Polishing shoesIf you have a shoe brush, have a go at this exercise, without the polish (unless they need a good clean!). Alternatively, try a hand scrubbing brush or even the dish scrubber. Record as close as possible, without peaking.

Do you have any suggestions to add to this list?  

5. Songs

The first two songs are suitable for children. The remaining songs are for adults, but can be sung by younger people if they’d like to have a go.

Recording tips: Record each song in a new recording. Ensure each recording is slated with a description. E.g. ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’. Phone placement can vary: 2-3 inches from your mouth, one metre away, or two metres away. It would be good to have variety. You might want to fashion a ‘pop-shield’ if you can hear air blowing into the microphone. Listen back through headphones to check the volume, and make another take if necessary, or to provide variety.

Pop Goes The Weasel

This song originates from the 1800s or earlier. Some believe it has Cockney origins, as people would pawn (‘pop’) their coat (‘weasel and stoat’) if times were hard. Folk songs are passed along aurally, and regional variations are often found in folk collection archives. Very young children need only sing verse 1 or 2 of this song, and all are welcome to have a go at the full song. This lyric is edited from several versions found in the UK, dating 1853 to 1914. An additional verse is included to reference Dover.

Half a pound of tuppenny rice

Half a pound of treacle

Mix it well and make it nice

Pop! Goes the weasel

Up and down the city road

Round and round the eagle

That’s the way the money goes

Pop! goes the weasel

Every night when I go out

The monkey’s on the table;

Take a stick and knock him off

Pop! goes the weasel

Up and down the Castle Hill Road

Round and round the steeple

Soldier men they march and trot

To Pop! Goes the Weasel!

Here's a Prisoner We Have Got

This song originates from the 1800s or earlier. The lyrics are edited to compliment Fort Burgoyne’s history, when in WW1 conscientious objectors were imprisoned there. A haypenny is a halfpenny, a coin that was used during WW1.

The melody for this song is lost in time. Can you make one up? 

Here’s a prisoner we have got,

We have got, we have got,

Here’s a prisoner we have got

My fair lady


What’s the prisoner done to thee …

He would not go to war …

One half crown will set him free …

I only have a hay penny … 

Away to prison he must go …

I've Been To France and I've Been to Dover

This short song was collected by Percy Merrick in Shepperton, Sussex, in 1899.

I’ve been to France, and I’ve been to Dover

I’ve been a rambling all the world over.

Over, over, over, and over,

Drink up your liquor and turn the bowl over.

A Sailor from Dover

This song was first collected by Cecil Sharp in Muchelney Ham, Somerset, in 1904. It likely is considerably older, as folk songs take decades to travel further afield. This version was recorded in 1911 in Minehead, Devon by a B. Slade, as performed by a Captain Lewis.


A sailor from Dover, from Dover he came.

He courted pretty Sally, pretty Sally was her name

She being so proud and lofty and her passions being so high

That she on a sailor would scarce cast her eye


Oh Sally love, oh Sally love, oh Sally love, said he

I fear that your false heart – it will my ruin be

Unless that your hatred should turn all into love

I’m sure that your false heart will my ruin my prove


My hatred’s not for you and is among other men

But to say that I love you is more than I can

So keep your inclination love and mind your own discourse

For I never intend to marry you unless that I’m forced


When six months were over and almost gone and passed

This beautiful young maiden grew lovesick at last

She grew so sick in love that she could not tell for why

She sent for the sailor of whom she had denied


Oh, am I the young man that you wished to see?

Or I am a doctor that you send for me?

Oh yes! You are the doctor that can either kill or cure

The pain that I feel my love is hard to endure


Now don’t you remember when I first went to sea?

And don’t you remember how you slighted me?

So now my pretty Sally and as long as I as can breathe

I’ll dance and sing all on your grave while you lie underneath!

The Volunteer Revue At Dover (All the girls of Dover Town)

This song was collected by Mervyn Plunkett in the late 1950s. However, there is evidence it has more distant origins, and I have edited the lyrics to reference to the Volunteer Revue’s that took place at Fort Burgoyne in the late 1800s.  

The melody for this song is lost in time. Can you make one up?


All the men at Dover Town

Have thrown their tools and work clothes down

To swear to go and serve the town

At the Volunteer Revue in Dover


All the girls of Dover Town

Have thrown their brooms and dustpans down

To swear to go and cheer the town

At the Volunteer Revue in Dover


Young and old will tell you true

The soldier, snob, and the tailor too

Fort Burgoyne is the way to go

At the Volunteer Revue in Dover


Watch the Volunteers parade

See the sortie and the raid

The skill of three thousand men displayed At the Volunteer Revue in Dover

In Dover Town Where I Was Born

This short song was collected by Cecil Sharp in Cannington, Somerset in 1907, as performed by a Bill Bailey! The words are unclear in places and the melody is cumbersome. Can you create a new melody that flows a little better?

In Dover Town where I was born, and a […] my trade O

I married a girl called Peggy Brown and she was a pretty little maid O

She’s a um-one-fal-the-diddle di-do

She’s a um-one-fal-the-diddle-du

Score from The Vaughan Williams Collection Library

Additional Resources

Listening Exercises and Games


Take a few minutes to do this. If you are with other people, read all your lists out loud, noting differences. Each person will have a different list as listening is very personal. All answers are correct. These sounds describe your acoustic environment. This simple exercise can be performed anywhere by anyone. It would be a good idea to try it several times in contrasting rooms to get into the habit of listening.


Now we are going to divide the lists in various ways. Start by assigning the letters, N, H or T to each sound, depending on whether it is a sound made by nature, a human sound or a technological sound. Which category predominates?

Now place an X beside each sound you produced. Were most of the sounds on your lists produced by you or by others?

Some sounds were constant throughout your listening period; others may have been repetitive, occurring more than once, and some were heard once only. Assign the letter C for constant, R for repetitive and O for once beneath each sound on your list.  (By the way, can you think of a sound that has been going on continuously ever since you began these exercises that you haven’t noticed before?)

We are a part of our acoustic environment, and make sound in our environment. But what is the opposite of sound? And what is silence?


What does silence mean to you? Complete the sentence SILENCE IS ….

Here are some examples:

  • Silence is thinking;
  • Silence is darkness;
  • Silence is tranquillity;


Can you stand up and sit down around without making a sound?  If any sound is accidentally made (the brushing of clothing, the floor creaking etc) the person who made it should freeze, think about why the sound occurred and try to avoid making it again. The person who moves without making a sound is the winner.

  • Can you move something out of the room and bring it back again without making a single sound?
  • Can you pass a piece of paper to another person in absolute silence without making a sound?


Take a moment to answer this question before reading the examples below. If you are with other people, discuss your answers:  


  • Sound tells us where things are;
  • Sound tells us direction things are coming from;
  • Sound tells us what and who is in the room;
  • Sound tells us a story or a memory.


Every community has its own sounds and character. Can you think of any sounds that you only hear where you live? At my house, I often hear my neighbour’s dog barking. It is a unique sound that sometimes annoys me. There is a seagull that tap, tap, taps on a skylight in my house. And sometimes I hear a man called Gary pass by with his dog Brandy. She huffs and puffs so loudly as she pulls Gary along.

  • What sounds make your community unique?
  • What is their history?
  • When and where can they be heard?
  • Are they likely to survive?
  • If not, perhaps they should be recorded to keep their memory alive.
  • Do you like these sounds? Dislike them? Barely notice them?


Can you find the following sounds?

  • A buzzing sound;
  • A tinkling sound;
  • A thumping sound;
  • A crumbling sound;
  • A bubbling sound;
  • A squeaking sound;
  • A snapping sound;
  • A flaky sound;

If you can’t find them, perhaps you can create them?

These Listening Exercises are adapted from Schafer (1992) A Sound Education: 100 Exercises in Listening and Soundmaking.

How to make a Pop Shield at Home

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