Five innovative audio projects: New uses for recorded sound

Today’s wealth of public domain audio and open source tools has inspired many amazing projects in the media space. Here are just a few projects that show some interesting new ways to analyze or reuse audio.

1. Blank on Blank

This animation series by David Gerlach sets out to introduce new audiences to forgotten sounds. By pairing archival interviews with striking minimalist animations, the lost words of figures from Gene Wilder to Fidel Castro become newly relevant. 

2. The Speech Accent Archive

In this project from George Mason University, speakers from around the world are given the same paragraph to read. Each reading is then phonetically transcribed, catalogued, and uploaded to the site.  

3. The Sounds of Google Streetview

Amplifon, a hearing aid company, recently released a project to bring a new level of immersion onto the digital map. An open source project built on the Web Audio API, Sounds of Google Streetview lets you add and explore stereophonic ambient sound from Streetview scenes.


This NEH-backed project comes out of UT Austin’s School of Information. Originally developed to analyze bird calls, the ambitious project aims to identify and analyze patterns in speech such as pitch, rhythm, and timbre.

5. WikiVIP

Wikipedia’s “Voice Intro Project” is an experimental effort to add voice introductions by public figures onto their own Wikipedia pages. All recordings are released into the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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