Analyzing Audio

Once you’ve spent some time analyzing a photograph (see previous post), you should now turn to listening to voices of people from the era and time we are examining.

Once again, we should be making notes and analyzing what we’re hearing (or seeing, in the case of a video) by using a tool such as this one: Primary Source Audio Analysis

Go to the American Library of Congress Collection of audio recordings from the time or of people recalling the time. You will want to skip a few pages, until you’re at items 172-204.

A first good step is to SUMMARIZE the recording:

Interview about life in Oklahoma and how and why Tom Higginbotham came to California (part 1 of 2)

Interview about life in Oklahoma and how and why Tom Higginbotham came to California (part 2 of 2)

Your task will be to use one of these recordings to create something dealing with or from the perspective of the person in the recording. The links above are for practice, but should give you a good idea of the material we’re working with.

Gather examples of “voices” of migrant workers from various kinds of sources:

  • literature;
  • folk music;
  • sound recordings, and
  • other documentary evidence collected by folklorists about Depression-era migrant workers.

Select snippets of language using any of the following three criteria. The way that the migrant workers use language is different than the speech of today. For example, the speaker:

  • uses words or phrases that we no longer use;
  • uses words or phrases we no longer use in the same way, and
  • uses sentence structure different than what we are accustomed to.

Trust your ears in identifying variations in language usage. You might wish to choose examples of language that:

  • seems to capture the feelings of the workers, and/or seems to refer to issues they think are important, and
  • is interesting, and captures the attention of the reader or listener.

Tell Mr. Robson what's on your mind!