Author’s note: This story/narration may be upsetting for some people. Please read/listen at your own discretion.

Pompeii, 79 AD. Though she didn’t know it at the time, this year in this location would go down in history. But for now, to her, it started as every day other day this year did. She was woken up by the roosting crowing and got up to wash off her face. She got dressed and ate breakfast then set out into the streets of the city to do a little shopping before the dinner party that was to take place that evening. And by “a little shopping,” she meant “a lot of shopping” as she left the house around 10 o’clock that morning and didn’t return home until about 6 o’clock that evening. All of her and her husband’s friends are now at the house, reclining and telling jokes as they ate. Everyone is laughing and enjoying themselves until someone hears a loud BOOM and distant screaming. They all go quiet to try and figure out what the sounds were caused by. The screams get louder and the booms are happening more frequently. The day that they all knew was possible, but had been living their lives ignoring it, had finally come. Vesuvius was erupting.

If you read my About page, then this story probably isn’t a surprise. I knew that I couldn’t just create a sound effects story of my morning routine, but what if I did a story about a day in the life of a someone living during the early Roman Empire. I then started thinking about what kind of sound effects I could do for this without making it boring. That’s when I had the idea of sounds effect story of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in August or October/November (the traditional date of August 24/25 has recently been called into question. Isn’t that exciting?!) in 79 AD.

The Assignment:

“Tell a story using nothing but sound effects. There can be no verbal communication, only sound effects. Use at least five different sounds that you find online. The story can be no longer than 90 seconds.”

The Process:

I started by looking through freesound.org for sound effects that I could use by searching effects like “rooster crowing” and “outdoor market.” I was lucky enough to find a recording of an outdoor market in Italy with people speaking one of the closest (but not the closest, believe it or not) languages to Latin. For all of my searches, I made sure to look for uploads under Creative Commons License 0 so there was no chance of copyright infringement.

I then imported all of them into Audactiy, and cut the each clip in exactly the way I wanted to make the story coherent.

I had to turn down the gain on some of the clips as they were much louder than the ones before it and I didn’t want damage the ears of headphone users. Once that was all done, I uploaded it to SoundCloud.

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