Tag Archives: recording

Ear Cleaning: more than just a filtering system

Worth mentioning that this is not as messy as it sounds. Ear Cleaning is a practice coined by R.M Schafer, founder of the World Soundscape Project, and pioneer in soundscape composition and ecology.

As you can hear from this short recording Schafer merely brings things to his audience’s attention. That is, simply to stand up and sit down cannot be done silently. You can hear him state that it is an exercise he does with children but it is necessary for anyone of any age to do this. His concerns are therefore aimed at the future generations; many of his later text were centred on listening exercises and musicmaking.

Ear Cleaning is a simple exercise that requires no apparatus or extra tools other than your ears and your complete attention. Barry Truax, in the Handbook for Acoustic Ecology, defines it as:

“Any process that encourages a person to listen more discriminately, particularly to sounds of the environment. The term was originally used by R.M. Schafer in his book Ear Cleaning (Toronto, BMI Canada, 1967) to contrast with the traditional practice of ear training in music education which concentrates on the identification and reproduction of intervals, chords, melodies and so on. A set of ear cleaning exercises is given in the above publication.”

(Source : Handbook for Acoustic Ecology)

There are plenty of books and papers to read up on about the subject. I recommend:

Ear Cleaning: Notes for an Experimental Music Course by R.M. Schafer

“Before ear training it should be recognised that we require ear cleaning”

Ear Cleaning, in my opinion, is a necessary practice for all recordists who want to be part of the world they record.

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Chris Watson Week pt. 04

Guided by Sound

As a natural sound recordist Chris Watson has walked the breathed of the planet to capture the sounds that others only imagine:

Geosonics is a collaboration between Chris Watson and Soniccouture.

However Chris Watson has also spent time on a more local concern and engaged with the RSPB and the BBC in documenting the sounds of birds in the UK. For the whole of October he presented BBC 4’s Tweet of the Day (see the list of episodes in the link).

Guided by sound: Recording the Bearded Tit for Tweet of the Day

Here’s more on how he records natural sounds, this time for the London Wild Bird Watch

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Chris Watson Week pt. 03

The Station

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[Image: BBC]

The Station, broadcasted on Wednesday 09 October 2013, is a soundscape composition that captures the psyche of a place by way of it’s acoustic character and history.Only 24 hours in Newcastle Station, as Chris explores, is full of soundmarks that are recognised by the people who work in and use the station on a regular basis.

It is a great piece and includes narration from Chris Watson. Not only is this a good example of acoustic ecology it is also a fantastic narrative piece that cinematically represents a journey and explorations. Technology and doing allow us to make these.

The sound recordist Chris Watson, regularly travels to and from this station and became fascinated by the sounds and acoustics of the building, so when he was granted permission to record inside, he leapt at the chance, visiting at various times during both day and night over several months, to capture the sounds within; from the quiet crackle of the overhead wires on a misty dawn morning to the terrifying roar and clamour of footballs fans and police dogs when Newcastle were playing at home to Sunderland, and the chanting voices and shouts of the fans overwhelmed even the sounds of the trains.

More tomorrow!

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UK SoundMap – The British Library’s National Sound Mapping Project

The UK SoundMap is a currently active ‘community-led’ project that aims to sample the sounds of Britain as heard by you and me, and him and her… and basically anyone with a device capable of recording sound – even a smartphone. Everyone is encouraged to contribute, and should do so. The mammoth project utilises the free AudioBoo web platform to host, stream and map the contributed sounds, which culminates in a comprehensive, soniferous survey for all to browse, research and enjoy.

Why is the British Library doing this? If you need an answer:

Britain’s sonic environment is ever changing. Urbanisation, transport developments, climate change and even everyday lifestyles all affect our built and natural soundscapes. The sounds around us have an impact on our well being. Some sounds have a positive or calming influence. Others can be intrusive and disturbing or even affect our health. By capturing sounds of today and contributing to the British Library’s digital collections you can help build a permanent researchable resource.

The Acoustic Ecology team have started to contribute – check out recordings pinned around Scarborough and Rievaulx, including a thunderstorm, a gurbling river and Civil War weaponary reverberating around the fields surrounding Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire.

In partnership with the NoiseFuturesNetwork, the project has been open to submissions since July 2010 and will remain open until the end of June 2011. The final map will be studied by the Noise Futures Network team and results will be published in time. Go on, upload your recordings on AudioBoo, pin them on the map and remember to tag them with ‘uksm’ for inclusion!

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