Do you need free? As in “copyright free, CCBY, public domain sounds and music for a student or personal project” free? If so, your options are extraordinary and here are a few of them.
The Free Music Archive (FMA) is always first on my list of sites to find free music (and sounds, too). If you and your students need to get up to speed on Creative Commons and legal sharing of music , then please check out the FAQ from FMA and watch the best presentation I have seen to date on using ‘free music’ (also from FMA). There are apps as well.
Incompetech has collections of free, mostly CCBY music. All you have to do is give proper attribution. I really like this one.
First stop, Freesound. Click on the sample below for a simple and subtle train stop.
Next, Zapsplat. They are new and don’t have nearly as extensive a sound library as Freesound, but what I have used is quite good. They also have free music (which I have not tried yet). If you kick in a donation (they are volunteer-run and no salaries are paid to anyone), you can get a few more benefits. It is quite robust even if you don’t donate.
And maybe you want to make your own SFX? Watch this YouTube vid by Ryan Connoly of Film Riot and get some ideas about how SFX are made.
Editing/Sharing Sound Online
Twisted Wave is a simple, easy to use sound editing tool. Here is a file edited. I cut 30 seconds from the end and I added fade in and fade out along with normalizing it.
SoundCloud Pro is my favorite storage space and with the recent infusion of money from Twitter I don’t worry about it’s longer term success as much. SoundCloud works with TwistedWave and other apps, but the best part about it is that it allows you upload any sounds to share publicly (or privately). It allows folks to annotate those files. It is in many ways the YouTube of sound. And…this is so cool I am beside myself… soon you will be able to turn your sound files into vinyl records.
And there is always, Audacity, the open source work horse of audio editing. Free. Free. Free.
I think the best advice I can give you is to just have fun and then make stuff, your own music and your own SFX. It has never been better for those who are not particularly gifted musically to have some fun making music.
Incredibox–this goes in the Internet rabbit hole and where the hell did that hour disappear to.
Hatnote–Hatnote is a fascinating big data visualization project which tries to recreate the sound and sight of Wikipedia as it is being created. I have used this as ambient music and saved it to SoundCloud and Google Drive. I just use my SoundCloud app to record and upload. Then I use the TwistedWave bookmarklet to bring it into that app to be edited.
I paste a new file (my poem) on top of the Hatnote file and ‘Bob’s your very uncle’ something new under the sun.
The value to me personally and professionally in using these files and making new rags from old is that creation makes me feel good. Or as Heather Harvilesky remarked the other day.