Sound portraits

Hi, anyone here into “sound portraits”… which is like a portrait painting/drawing/etching of a person which foregrounds, captures, commemorates, celibrates or perhaps caricatures an individual person… but with sound.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard one, but I’ve loved the idea since I heard about it from somewhere. Extreme sound design!


I experimented with this but for portraiting landscapes and landforms: Sonic Portraits of Bears Ears - took many years to get to know the particular areas and their history from both geological and cultural perspectives. The results are rather minimalistic mixing in-situ vibration-based audio with ambient audio. I dig the idea in general, keen to explore further.


There’s definitely scope to do this with sonification, in the same way people make visual data portraits

Collect data about the people you want to portray, build a system that encompasses the range of data you’ve collected, and then see what it spits out and tune from there.


My girlfriend is making a series of written portraits that will eventually become a book, I was toying with the idea of music portraits accompanying the poetry or even new unrelated music portraits


I composed and performed this piece at a memorial event for a musician friend of mine that passed away a few years back. He would always post videos on his social media of his guitar riffs and ideas that he was currently toying with, and for the composition I sourced all of the sounds from the most recent of these videos he posted prior to his death.

In that sense the piece was very much intended to be a posthumous “sound portrait” of my friend. .

RIP Sean Tobin.