Read about how the soundscape for A Monster Calls was created, and have a go at recording your own

To celebrate the news that Sally Cookson’s A Monster Calls will be streamed online by The Old Vic in June, we’ve been taking a look back at some of the resources we used alongside the show’s run in Coventry earlier this year.

In today’s Weducation activity, you’ll find out what a soundscape is, and have a go at creating your own using the objects you can find around you. You’ll also get to read about how composer Benji Bower created the soundscape for A Monster Calls.

What is a soundscape?

A soundscape is the use of sounds which are combined to create mood and atmosphere, often for a play or film. Often, the sounds used might be natural sounds that you would expect to find in a particular location. For example, a churchyard at night might include the sounds of:

  • Owls hooting
  • Wind through the trees, including a yew tree
  • Clocks chiming the hour
  • Rain
  • Animals searching for food

If you want to create a spooky churchyard, then you could include:

  • A creaking gate
  • Ravens calling to each other
  • Crunching gravel

Although music is sometimes used, there is often no melody, although certain, less realistic sounds might be added to the mix to help create a particular feeling or mood.

To create the soundscape for A Monster Calls, for example, composer Benji Bower recorded the sound of a real tree and then used synthesizers and computer software to manipulate it. Read what he had to say about his process below.