Texas Sonar Project

In Fall 2017, I taught for the first time a course on Performance & Technology. Since I had a small class, I decided it would be a good idea to move away from formal exams and try to try instead come up with some project that could bring together Texas A&M and the broader Brazos Valley community. I decided to ask students to create a short 15-minute radio story. They were free to choose the topic, as long as it related to Texas.The topics they discuss will range from coffee shops to natural disasters, from our music scene to political involvement, from pop culture to sports.

I hope this series can stimulate new collaborations between A&M faculty and students and other members of the Brazos Valley community.

KEOS 89.1 FM will air the radio series I’m curating every Thursday 4:30 pm, between February 8 and May 17.
The series has 15 episodes. All content created and edited by my Performance & Technology students.

You can listen to the previous episodes here.

tsp spring 2018 poster.001

PS: As you can tell, I’m not very creative with project titles…


TSP (Texas Soundmap Project)

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The central idea of this project (still in the works) is to map out Texas’ acoustic history and diversity.

Materials presented here come from three main sources:

1: Recordings from sound archives.

Cushing Memorial Library & Archives, Texas A&M University

Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Alan Lomax Collection, Association for Cultural Equity

East Texas History, Sam Houston State University


John, Ruby, and Alan Lomax recordings [1933-1948]

William A. Owens Recordings [1938-1942]

Oral Histories 

2: Recordings from personal collections.


Leonardo Cardoso Collection

3: Collaborative work with Texas A&M undergraduate students.

Students are organized into groups and work together to learn about the performance from different angles. The tasks each group has to complete include:

  1. Field recording: students should register a representative excerpt  of the performance.
  2. History of the performance: when and how did the performance start? What groups were involved? Has it changed through the years? If so, how?
  3. Participant observation: students have to attend the performances and describe their experience.
  4. Performance analysis: how is the event structured? Is there a narrative? Who are the performers?
  5. Spatial elements: where does the performance take place? How does the space help to shape the performance?
  6. Interview: students have to talk with someone directly involved with the performance.


Fall 2015 Group projects (Texas A&M students)

Spring 2016 Group projects (Texas A&M students)


Greg Bailey, Archivist and Clements Curator — Cushing Memorial Library & Archives, Texas A&M University

John Bondurant, Digital Archivist — Cushing Memorial Library & Archives, Texas A&M University

Leonardo Cardoso, Assistant Professor — Department of Performance Studies, Texas A&M University

William Page, Librarian — University Libraries, Texas A&M University

Sally Ann Schutz, PhD student — English Department, Texas A&M University


Department of Performance Studies, Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University Libraries

Cushing Memorial Library & Archives, Texas A&M University

Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture, Texas A&M University


Click on the image below to visit the TSP:

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Musical Topographies, Fall 2014 — Undergraduate Ethnography Projects, Texas A&M University [under construction]

In the Fall semester of 2014, I assigned ethnography projects to students in my two Music in World Cultures classes at Texas A&M University. Most students conducted participant observation in the College Station-Bryan region.The topic of the projects varied widely. Some students looked into the relations between ambient music and consumption at coffee shops and stores, others examined the importance of the Texas Aggie Band in performing institutional identity. Before conducting the ethnographies, students reviewed each others papers in a blind review system.


Top left: diagram used early on in the semester for discussing the ethnography project. Top right: peer review form students filled out, giving each other productive feedback; center: stereo recorders used by the students during ethnography; bottom: piles of ethnography proposals and peer reviews.

You can find information about each of the roughly 200 projects on this map [under construction]. Zoom out to see all the markers, and click on each to see the project title and description, and audiovisual material (if any).

All information will be uploaded in December 2014.

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Soundwalk at the University of Texas

soundwalk map

The route taken

On March 27 2013 the Sound Studies class conducted a soundwalk across the UT campus. The point of departure was our classroom at the School of Music. The point of arrival was the Plaza of the Radio-Television-Film Department, where we would meet Prof. Andrew Garrison (who would guide us inside the RTF building and talk about film sound).

Each student received a small notebook to write what they were hearing as we walked. I was particularly interested in hearing focusing and the amount of detail included in the hearing — writing process. You can see the results of this experiment below.

Inside the School of Music


Sound Studies course – essays

This post presents essays by students currently taking my Sound Studies course. I thought it would be interesting to share (with their permission) some of their experiences and views on sound, memory, technology, and space.

Students were asked to briefly discuss one of the following topics:

a) My piece of technology: write about a sound/audio device (bass amplifier, guitar, iPod, magnetic tape, synthesizer, MP3, sound meter, car audio, microphone, etc.). Investigate the history of this piece of technology and describe how/why/when you use it.

b) Acoustic memory: some places (bedroom, house) and spaces (our neighborhood) tend to leave a strong sensory mark on us. Recollect and discuss some of the sounds and listening habits of your past. How do they relate with some of the topics discussed in this course?

c) My sonic environment in 3 days: in 3 days make a list of sounds you encounter daily according to type of sound, place (house, office, bar, restaurant, school, street, etc.), space (e.g., Nuences St. & San Jacinto), period (dawn, morning, lunchtime, afternoon, evening, and night), loudness (10 for extremely loud, 0 to almost soundless), and nuisance level (10 for extremely pleasant, 0 to extremely unpleasant). Briefly relate 2 sound sources with topics discussed in the course materials.

Essay #1

My personal anamnesis is related to signal sounds taken place in the comfort of my own home growing up. Weekends as a child were a time to sleep in and wake up with a big bowl of cereal to watch Saturday morning cartoons. There was only one factor that was in my way that would determine my plans for my Saturday and that was my mom. Being older now signifies more responsibilities and more work which during the week we are busy and the weekend signifies a time for rest and a chance to catch up with the chores that were left aside from the busy week. While I was thinking as a kid I’m going to watch cartoons and go out to play with friends, my mom was thinking laundry, moping, dusting, etc…; cleaning was what weekends were for according to my mom. Depending on the type of week my mom had and how tired she was on Friday was kind of an indicator of what to expect the next morning, but there was always one reassurance that would drive me crazy and not want to get out of bed, the sound of dishes being washed and clanking with each other in the morning. (more…)