Sound Analysis Workshop

CCB Sound Analysis Workshop
CCB Sounds Analysis Workshop

The K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics offers a week-long introductory-level Sound Analysis Workshop, usually twice per year. The workshop is intended primarily for biologists interested in analysis, visualization, and measurement of animal sounds. We cover basic principles of spectrographic analysis and measurement of animal sounds, as well as specific tools and techniques in Raven Pro, a sound analysis application program developed by the Yang Center. Spring workshops also include a brief introduction to techniques for targeted field recording using directional microphones.

Since its inception in 2007, more than 400 participants from 43 countries have participated in the workshop, with basic and applied research interests in the sounds of birds, marine mammals, bats and other terrestrial mammals, frogs, insects, and fish.

The workshop provides an opportunity to exchange ideas with fellow participants on your sound analysis work and to develop new contacts with staff and researchers in the Yang Center.

Workshop Content and Format

Workshop content is presented in the form of lectures, demos, discussions, and hands-on exercises covering general principles and specific techniques in Raven Pro. Spring workshops include two early morning field recording practice sessions. In the last two days of the workshop we focus on review and follow-up of core material and on specific needs and interests of the participants, in both small-group and individualized consultation sessions. Limiting the class size to 12 participants allows us to give attention to each individual’s needs. Throughout the week, guest presentations by Cornell and visiting researchers illustrate diverse applications of analysis principles and techniques discussed in the workshop.

Is this Workshop Right for You?

In a one-week workshop, there is not enough time to cover everything that participants might need to know in order to use bioacoustic principles and methods in their work. Instead, our goal is to provide a basic foundation of concepts and tools, upon which participants can continue to build after the workshop ends.

The following two documents should help you determine whether this workshop would be worthwhile for you, given your specific interests and needs.

Detailed outline of topics covered in the workshop (PDF).

List of related topics that are not covered in the workshop (PDF).

If, after, reading these documents, you have questions about whether the workshop is right for you, please contact us by email.

Registration and Logistics

The course is presented at the Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, home of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York.

Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, home of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York
Imogene Powers Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity, home of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York

The standard fee for the workshop is $1,430, but students enrolled in a degree program, postdocs or residents of countries listed here are eligible for the discount rate of $1,080. A deposit of $300 is required to reserve a place. The fee includes tuition, course materials, lunches during the week, a one-year license for Raven Pro and a hard copy of the Raven Pro User’s Manual. (Students may renew the Raven license for as long as they remain students.) Participants are responsible for their transportation, accommodation, and meals other than lunch. A range of accommodations is available nearby.

Information about traveling to Ithaca and local accommodations (PDF).

Due to coronavirus pandemic, all in-person activities, including SAW, are postponed until further notice. If you would like to be notified when future Sound Analysis Workshops are scheduled, please fill in this form. When the in-person workshops resume, applicants doing scientific research or conservation work are given priority for acceptance into the workshop on a non-competitive first-come, first-served basis. Other applicants (recordists, artists, hobbyists, etc.) will be placed on a wait-list and may be accepted if space is still available approximately six weeks before the start of a workshop.

Participants are expected to provide their own Windows or Mac laptop, and to be proficient at basic computer operations such as finding, copying, and moving files, and downloading and installing software.

Contact Information

If you are interested in attending this workshop, or have further questions please contact Dr. Laurel Symes,

About Automated Species Identification

Some participants who consider attending the Sound Analysis Workshop hope to learn about the use of software to automatically find and identify sounds made by multiple species in audio recordings. Raven Pro cannot automatically identify animal species by their sounds. Although fully automated acoustic species identification is an active area of research and development, we are not aware of any software that performs this task reliably under a wide range of conditions. The Sound Analysis Workshop does include discussion of Raven Pro’s band-limited energy detector (BLED) and spectrogram template detector (TD). The BLED finds generic acoustic events of specified durations in a specified frequency band. The TD finds acoustic events with spectrographic signatures matching one or more template events. Both detectors may fail to find some intended target sounds, and may find sounds from multiple sources in addition to an intended target. Depending on the characteristics of the signal(s) of interest and other sounds in the recording, either detector may perform well or poorly.