I am creating an audio piece that represents a hockey game from the perspective of the player. The theme of this work is perspectives, in the sense that the player on the ice has a much different experience than the fan watching from the stands. The piece will focus on one specific player’s experience of the game and will convey how sounds can both help and hinder her overall performance. Through the emphasis of the constant sound of blades on ice coupled with occasional moments of ragged breathing, the piece delivers to the listener a glimpse of the game from the player’s perspective, which enables them to better understand and appreciate the on-ice experience.
This piece contains an ambient arena background track throughout to deliver a realistic experience. However, since this track was recorded from the stands, it is from a fan’s perspective and not a player’s. Therefore, there is much more work that went into the production of this project. The piece begins with the sound of a large crowd cheering, which builds excitement. A team cheer can then be heard clearly as if the listener is within the cluster of people chanting. As the cheer fades out, a new sound emerges: the sound of a pair of blades on ice. It is this sound that is the cornerstone of the project, the constant reminder to the listener that for the next two minutes, they are in the game. As the player waits for the puck to be dropped, the focus moves to the sound of breathing which creates a feeling of nervousness. The game begins and a plethora of other noises are heard, seemingly drowning out the breathing. The use of fade-ins and fade-outs create the illusion of movement, while sounds coming from either the left or right speaker deliver a sense of location and direction. The reverb effect was also helpful in making the tracks sound as if they were recorded in an arena. The piece is infused with various shouts from coaches and other players which can either be distracting or helpful, depending on how the listener receives it. The music, too, can either serve to instill feelings of either excitement or annoyance in the listener. The piece finishes with the sound of a received a pass followed by quick strides and a shot from the protagonist. It becomes evident that the player has scored as it results in more cheers by the crowd as well as the sound of an air horn. This allows the listener to vicariously experience the joy and pride associated with scoring a goal, which is among the best feelings in the game of hockey.
The addition of all the tracks to the ambient arena track enhance the experience to an on-ice level and also remain somewhat neutral in order to allow the listener to react to it how they see fit. Using an audio medium allows the listener to think for themselves and imagine it as they choose without being influenced by visual aspects, which creates a more personalized experience. This project can be related to by listeners who do play hockey, but can also create a convincing, vicarious experience for those who do not, or are unable to play hockey themselves.
Special thanks to:
Nicola Nemy, Blaise Crocker, Emma Childs, and the Ryerson Women’s Hockey Team.