Audio Composing

For this project, using what you know about the power of sounds, you will write, record, edit, and produce a high-quality, compelling, audio essay between five and ten minutes in length related to your focal topic. Your audio essay should incorporate the research you’ve done on your focal topic to tell a story to a particular audience for a specific purpose. This story could take the form of a news piece, an interview, or even a fictionalized rendering of an experience or event arising from your focal topic. While you may choose to make more implicit rather than explicit arguments, your audio essay must make rhetorical choices that display evidence of extensive research and familiarity with your topic.

Stories are rhetorical, and can do important persuasive work, so carefully consider your rhetorical approach to your audio essay. Incorporate the following elements, as appropriate:

  • Music and/or Atmospheric Sounds: You may want to add a musical soundtrack to heighten the emotional effect of your argument. You can find creative commons licensed music at You also might choose to record atmospheric sounds (i.e. the sound of a crowd or a bird) if they contribute to your story.
  • Silence: Silence can play an important rhetorical function to shape your message. Think about its usage carefully, if you find it suitable to your aim.
  • Spoken Words: You will need to include voiceovers. I’ll ask you to develop a script early on to appeal to your audience. Be sure to revise carefully to assure flow and clarity.

We’ll work together to create the grading criteria that will answer the question of what makes a rhetorically effective audio essay. When you turn in your final draft, you will also turn in a reflective essay (750-1000 words) that explains your process and analyzes your rhetorical choices. I’ll share a more detailed prompt for the reflection in class.

I will lead an in-class workshop on Audacity, a free audio editing program, but you may choose to compose your project in whatever software you prefer (so long as you can access this software during in-class work time).

Grade Breakdown/Due Dates

Rhetorical Analysis:  (25 points)

Script:  (15 points)

Peer Response: (15 points)

Final Draft:  (50 points)

Reflection:  (50 points)

TOTAL: 155 points


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