I hope this is relevant for the sound design forum, and apologize if not. I have to make a found sound remix for a university assignment and am struggling to find good samples for certain elements. I have all the percussive elements I need except for a hi-hat sound and also, I cannot find anything that transposes well enough to make into a melody. Does anyone have any ideas of things I could record to achieve these? I cannot use any vocals or instruments. Thanks, Oli

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    I've always liked the sounds of scissors for hi hats. Anything tonal can become a melody...pots and pans.
    – user7731
    Apr 1, 2014 at 16:49
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    If you're not In a hurry, I'd recommend to record a train arriving to a station. It might sound like non-sense but I had to do something similar and I managed to record many interesting sounds. Brakes make this sound that was really fun to process further until I got sick lead :) Unfortunately, older trains are much better because of screwed up noises they make
    – daremes
    Apr 2, 2014 at 15:55
  • @brad, the scissors idea works pretty well cheers. I tried a few pans before posting but they were all a bit dull.
    – Perceptic
    Apr 2, 2014 at 19:46
  • @daremes that's an awesome idea. I get trains almost everyday so it's no inconvenience and I'm sure I won't be waiting too long before an old clunky train comes by haha thanks.
    – Perceptic
    Apr 2, 2014 at 19:48

2 Answers 2


I think it's ok for your question to be here. Not sure which examples you have looked at in-class, but here is some potential inspiration:

Having said that, perhaps it's just a question of stretching your idea of what melody actually is...

  • Wow those are some great videos! I should be able to get lots of ideas from them. I'll have to talk to my tutor about whether I can use a bow as they're pretty strict on what counts as an instrument but if I can, I'm sorted for all different kinds of melodic sounds. Thanks!
    – Perceptic
    Apr 2, 2014 at 19:59
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    @Perceptic Pleased they were useful. There are some more from Diego Stocco out there too. There's also another making of vid about Amon Tobin's album Foley Room which is relevant. Actually, I'll just add it to the answer. Apr 4, 2014 at 7:18

I have quite a lot of experience with 'found' sounds, and as far as melodic sounds go: try a metal kettle or some saucepans (you might want to hit them with something soft, like a mallet, to avoid the loud 'clang') – a lot of them can produce a melodic note which you can then pitch-shift. I don't know if a glass/plastic bottle filled with water counts, but you can use that as a melodic instruments (or a wineglass filled with water which your rub on the rim with a wet finger).

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