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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Documentary: Touch the Sound

Touch The Sound (1:39) This feature documentary by Thomas Riedelsheimer follows Evelyn Glennie, a profoundly deaf musician, in her efforts to find new ways of making sound. "It's a spacious, hauntingly meditative film that thankfully does not dwell on the implications of Glennie's deafness; rather, it admires her achievements and interprets them for new listeners and delightfully shatters the way we think about sound."

The starting point for Evelyn's journey is the sounds and rhythms that surround us in everyday life. And from there, the path delves deeper - sculpting the nature of sound itself, discovering its genesis and how the universe depends upon it.

Accompanying Evelyn on her journey is filmmaker Thomas Reiedelsheimer - winner of the 2001 German cinematography prize, the Golden Gate Award Grand Prize in San Francisco (2002), the Grand Prix Montreal (2002) and two German Film Prizes (best Camera, Best Documentary) in 2003. Video source: Hulu.

For more about Evelyn Glennie, view Lecture Evelyn Glennie: How To listen  (32:12) 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Lecture: Mini Series On Ocean Acoustics

The ocean covers most of the earth's surface and is geologically diverse and biologically alive with a variety of life. In the darkness of the deep sea most ocean animals use sound for calling, sensing, navigating, locating prey, and avoiding being prey. Sound making is critical to under ocean survival.

This is a series of mini-lectures on bio-acoustics produced by Ocean Conservation Research - a non-profit organization that is developing understanding and seeking solutions to the growing problem of human generated noise pollution in the ocean.

There are currently four short videos in this series hosted by Michael Stocker:

How Fish Hear (4:56)

Michael Stocker is an acoustician and naturalist by trade and a musician by avocation, he has written and spoken about ocean bio-acoustics since 1992, presenting in national and regional hearings, national and international television, radio and news publications, and museums, schools and universities. His understanding of both physics and biology has proven invaluable in court testimony and legal briefs, defending the environment against the dangers of human generated noise in the sea. Source: Ocean Conservation Research.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Noise Issues: The Future of Noise

Noise (7:53) This CBS program segment hosted by Mo Rocca looks at the future of noise. Where science fiction foresees the future soundscape as an oasis of quiet, the reality today, this video suggests, is one in which the world is becoming noisier.  

At one time, humans depended on the sense of hearing for survival, but with the coming of the industrial age and the growing domination of the soundscape by noise people began to avoid attentive listening. 

Sound artist Bruce Odland notes that noise is the result of wasted energy and that quiet machines are more efficient. However, quiet machines are an acoustic problem for some - such as the electric car that it can be upon one unexpectedly because of its quietness. Source: CBS News. The Tomorrow Show with Mo Rocca and featuring sound artists Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Soundwalk: Ciudad de Lugo (City of Lugo)

Ciudad de Lugo   (10:12). The Spanish city of Lugo's soundscape is explored in this soundwalk down its dark streets at 21:30 on Saturday, April 17th, 2010.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Soundscape: Guanajuato City of Light and Sound

Paisaje Sonoro de Guanajuato  (3:02) Francisco Garcia Ledesma documents  a night before the day of the Virgen de Guadalupe (December 11, 2009, 23:00 hours). In this soundscape one hears the drums and cornets played by participating church members in this Catholic festival.  Video by Rodrigo Garcia Moran Source: YouTube

Monday, December 26, 2011

Research: Acoustic Communication - Humans and Dogs

Can humans recognize barking signals (4:06) This PBS video segment examines the question as to if humans can understand the sounds dogs make as if those sounds are a form of language. Ádám Miklosi, Head of the Department of Ethology at the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary,  is examining this concept. Given that animal communication is so much a part of the soundscape, this short work is included in this collection. Source KCET Los Angeles.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Project: Blindfold - Sound Navigation

Blindfold (2:37) This is a virtual and interactive sound installation by Jens Fische in which the user can experience the situation of a blind person navigating through a soundscape. Source: Vimeo 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Soundscape Composition: Sonic Sidewalk

Sonic Sidewalk (10:19) This video documents a Softday Mobile Philharmonic project in which participants used low-cost equipment and shareware/open source tools to first record sounds and then use those sounds to create cell phone ring tones. These tones were then combined in a public improvised sidewalk performance of their soundscape composition at Frenchs Cafe on Catherine Street in Limerick City (Ireland) on Saturday May 8th, 2010. Source: YouTube

Friday, December 23, 2011

Project: Interactive Sound Walk

Interactive Sound Walk (:58) During the last week of November 2001, went to Mexico City with the goal of creating an interactive installation for the opening event of the Fonoteca Nacional de México .

The installation was an interactive map that is manipulated by the user selecting a location and listening to the soundscapes from that spot. The map included the 31 States of México and México D.F. Each one of these states included several representative soundscapes.

The installation was divided into two parts. First, the user could manipulate a physical table on which the map of México has been printed. When the user pressed on the top of one states or locations the sound from that area could be heard. Second, the user could watch a video projection of the same map that moves according to the user interaction, and shows information about the soundscape that is playing. Click2Read about the project.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Soundscape Composition: Audio Graffiti with Hidden Mother

Audio Graffiti  Inspired by street art's attempts to change the urban environment by expressing itself in it, Hidden Mother launches the project "Audio Graffiti". A series of improvised performances that examine and comment on the acoustic environment of Stockholm. There are currently 8 videos in this series. Source: YouTube

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Project: The Gaits - A High Line Soundwalk

The Gaits (2:07) Composers Lainie Fefferman, Jascha Narveson, and Cameron Britt have created a free iPhone application that uses the phone’s accelerometer to turn footsteps into twinkling metallic sounds, electric guitar chords, dulcimer notes, water splashes, car horns, and applause. By connecting them to small, wearable speakers, iPhones become instruments effortlessly played by strolling, sauntering, or sprinting down the High Line in New York City.  Click2Read more about the project. Source: YouTube.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lecture: Auditory Perception and Listening Challenges

Lecture: What in the world do we hear? (8:52) By Brian Roberts.  This lecture explores what perceptual research tells us about how our auditory system and its ability to overcome the challenges arising from everyday listening conditions.  Brian Roberts is Professor of Auditory Perception at Aston University. Note: This informative presentation is incomplete, and the viewer is referred to the Aston University web site where the complete video is apparently no longer available.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Soundscape: Palm Sunday Procession

Palm Sunday (3:53) This short video captures the vibrant soundscape of a 2007 religious Palm Sunday street procession in São João del Rei, Brazil.  

Domingo de Ramos, 2007, em São João del Rei. Procissão que parte da Igreja do Rosário em direção à Catedral Basílica do Pilar.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Project: Soundscape Art Project

Soundscape (3:37) Hugo Solis is a University of Washington graduate student in the Digital Arts and Experimental Media program. In this video he describes his art piece that will use sounds collected on ship, in the water, and on the Enlighten 2010 cruise. Source: Vimeo

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Project: Sons do Arco Ribeirinho Sul

Sons do Arco Ribeirinho Sul (2:20) This project by Portuguese artist Luis Antero began last October following the 8th edition of OUT.FEST-Festival Internacional de Música Exploratória do Barreiro. It intends, through an artistic approach based on sound recordings, to facilitate the awareness and preservation of forests, marshlands and riverfront of this region in Portugal. Click2Read about this project in Portuguese or Google English translation.  Source: Vimeo

Related links:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Project: SoundLife London

SoundLife London in Leicester Square Gardens was the first exclusively sound-based public art work of this scale in the UK.

It is a unique hour long sound composition created especially for Leicester Square Gardens by sound artist and musician Martyn Ware, which reveals the 3-dimensional sound world that surrounds us at all times in the most fascinating and diverse city in the world. It is a composed 'soundscape' of looped and mixed found and collected sounds with an ambient musical composition. It aims to augment the everyday background noise of Leicester Square with a distilled ‘sonic essence’ of London – a dynamic soundscape of familiar places and feelings associated with Westminster and beyond A variety of sonic themes are introduced at ten minute intervals each hour throughout the day. The installation played from 9am until 7pm every day from 4 to 14 June 2009. Source: VIMEO

There are three videos:

Trailer (3:07)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Soundscape: Antarctica

Antarctic Sights and Sounds (4:15) This is a beautifully shot film by Jim Napoli that brings the sights and soundscape of Antarctic alive. Source YouTube

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Noise Issues: Orcas and Shipping

Into the Waves with Orcas (4:30 ). Orcas use sound to navigate, find food and communicate. But underwater noise is making it more difficult. We explore, in this slideshow, how scientists use hydrophones to track noise from ships and boats to discover what affect noise pollution really has on orcas. Source: KQED public television.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Documentary: John Cage, "I have Nothing to Say and I Am Saying it"

John Cage (56:03)  For composer John Cage (1912-1992), one sound, or noise, was as useful as another. Is the sound of a moving truck musical, he says, then adds with characteristic impishness, ''Which is more musical, a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?  John Cage was well known for his interest in the soundscape beyond that of traditional musical forms. Source: American Masters (1990)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Soundscape Installation: Music from Earthquakes

Tectonic (4:03) Tectonic is a sound sculpture created in real time by earthquakes as they occur across the globe. A tightly integrated system between Max/MSP, Google Earth and Ableton Live processes a stream of real-time data that is translated into synthesis and sample playback parameters. 

When an earthquake occurs, seismic data is relayed to the system, sound is produced and Google Earth immediately flies to the coordinates of the latest earthquake giving us a visual representation of the newest developments. As multiple earthquakes occur daily, the sculpture builds, enmeshing itself in a complex soundscape of textures and tones - every second, different from the last and never repeating the same stage twice. Source: Vimeo

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Lecture: Daniel Levitin - Evolutionary origins of music

How the Brain Evolved to Play and Listen To Music (1:02) This video examines the evolution of human sound making and understanding. Daniel Levitin visits Google's San Francisco, CA office to discuss his book "The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature." This event took place on August 22, 2008, as part of the Authors@Google series. An unprecedented blend of science and art, Daniel Levitin's debut, This Is Your Brain on Music, was an extraordinary success. Now in what is being called a tour de force by his peers, he showcases his audacious theory of "six songs," illuminating how the brain evolved to play and listen to music in six fundamental forms—for friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion, and love. Source: Authors@Google series.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Research: Studying Sounds to Learn About Ecosystem Change

Feeling Lost Sounds (2:07) Landscape ecologists are studying what sounds can tell them about a specific ecosystem. Researchers have found that certain sounds or lack thereof can be an important indicator of environmental changes. By recording the sounds in a particular area, scientists can track the typical patterns and note any changes and investigate the causes. Source: American Institute of Physics.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Soundscape: Chaitén

Chaitén (3:11)  The town of Chaitén, Chile, was evacuated in May, 2008 when the long dormant Chaiten Volcano erupted about 10 kilometers from the town located in the Chilean Patagonia. This video visits the soundscape of an abandon cabin now void of human habitation and sitting within the shadow of the mountain. This is an audiovisual essay produced for Forks Magazine. Source: YouTube

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Research: Boat Alarm and Manatees

Boat Alarm Could Save Manatees (4:33) Manatees can't hear the low sounds of boat engines, which is why the animals are frequently injured, a researcher says. A high-pitched alarm could solve the problem as demonstrated in this Wild Chronicle segment from the National Geographc Missions Program. Source: National Geographic Videos.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Phonographer: Chris Watson Underwater Recording

Chris Watson Records Underwater (4:38) In this short spot sound recordist Chris Watson documents his efforts to record underwater sounds that will become a part of an installation for London Wild Bird Watch, which will take at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's London Wetland Centre, 20-22 April 2012. See also: Chris Watson: PhonographerSource: YouTube

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Noise Issues: Copenhagen

Noisiest Pollution in  Copenhagen (4:55) This short TV-story explores the issues of noise pollution in Copenhagen and Denmark, which the program identifies as the noisiest nation within Scandinavian region. Source: YouTube

Monday, December 5, 2011

Soundscape: The Forest Awakens

Forest Awakens. (5:44) This video, filmed by nature photographer Craig Blacklock provides an audio-visual experience of a northern Minnesota forest as spring arrives. The production, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality & Healing, is designed as a take "5" from the stress of daily life. Source: YouTube

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Interview: Carlos Alberto Augusto - Sound, Theater and Acoustic Space

Sound, Theater, and Acoustic Space (10:21) Composer and acoustic communication specialist Carlos Alberto Augusto talks to Raquel Santos about sound, space and theatre (in Portuguese). This is an excerpt of an interview for the program “Entre Nós”, Universidade Aberta - RTP2, 2007.  

Carlos Alberto Augusto spent over 15 years in noise pollution control, research and regulation with the Portuguese environmental authority and then went on to study with two great Canadian composers and teachers R. Murray Schafer and Barry Truax. He completed his M.A. at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada) under Truax's supervision. Source: Vimeo.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Soundscape Composition: A Day in the Park Parts 1-3

A day in the park is a soundscape composition commissioned by Hilary Phillips AVDC Biodiversity Birthday Project coordinator.  The guidelines for the piece were to make a soundscape composition made from sounds recorded in three green spaces in Aylesbury, the idea being to highlight the biodiversity of the Aylesbury Parks (UK). The project was developed by Lawrence Fernando with I-Van Multi Media Project and area youth. There are three videos in this series: Part 1 (9:43), Part 2 (6:52) and Part 3 (4:31). Source: YouTube.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lecture: Barry Truax - Acoustic Space and Soundscape Composition

Acoustic Space and Soundscape Composition (1:02)  Professor Barry Truax, Simon Fraser University, was one of the members of the World Soundscape Project at SFU when it pioneered the study of acoustic environments and published the Vancouver Soundscape recordings and booklet. Since then this work has achieved an international profile through the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology. Truax’ artistic work has included the creation of soundscape compositions that create musical pieces using environmental sounds. Barry traces this history and plays examples.  As a composer, Truax is best known for his work with the PODX computer music system. He also developed the first ever implementation of real-time granular synthesis, in 1986. This lecture was recorded at Sonic Acts XIII 2010. Source Vimeo.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Soundscape: Communal Acclamation

Communal  Acclamation (2:01) Have you ever heard a city cheering?  This short video provides an interesting example of a communal event amongst dwellers in the high rise Yaletown district of Vancouver, B.C.  The cheering was the result of the Vancouver Canucks defeating the San Jose Sharks in a hockey game opening the way for the Canucks to play in the prestigious Stanley Cup competition. The video demonstrates the power of sound to go beyond the constraints of sight and be shared by a whole community. 

Vancouver has one of the fastest-growing residential downtown areas in North America: nearly 40,000 people have moved downtown in the last 10 years. Nowhere is this urban renaissance more apparent than in the densely packed high-rise condos and converted warehouses of Yaletown now home to many of the city’s trendiest restaurants, bars and night spots, hip shopping boutiques, and celebrity haunts. Source: YouTube.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Research: Animals and acoustic Communication

BBC Nature Wild Video Collection. Acoustic communication is the sending and receiving of messages using sound. Bird song, the roars of lions and the chirping of cicadas are all examples of this. Sometimes the messages are outside the range of human hearing, such as the ultrasonic squeaks of baby rats or the infrasound rumbles of elephants. Most acoustic communication is not language, in the sense that humans use it, although language is one aspect of this adaptation.

There are 50 videos on animal communication archived on this BBC site.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Documentary: Constructing Sonic Belvederes

Sonic Seascape Terrace (8:16 ) Documentation of two sonic belvederes constructed by Marianne Decoster-Taivalkoski and Hanna Haaslahti in Turku (Finland) during summer 2011. A realtime soundscape composition created by Alejandro Montes de Oca was distributed on the terraces from the hydrophones submerged in the body of water surrounding the terrace. 

Call For Video Links

The Soundscape Explorations directory is looking for online videos related to the field of acoustic-ecology. Please send URL links to

I am interested in all topics related to the soundscape as it is studied from a variety of disciplines be they scientific, social, or artistic. 

Thank you!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Phonographer: Nick Penny - sound diarist

Sound Diarist (1:46) Throughout 2008 Nick Penny, a musician turned sound diarist created an online archive of sounds recorded near his home in Oundle, Northamptonshire, UK. He shares the sounds he records with listeners all over the world who turn into this soundscape of everyday life. His sound diary is available online. Source: BBC. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Soundscape Composition: Sounds of Africa

Each of these two videos is a montage of images and nature sound woven together into an Animal Planet TV Program promotion for Africa Month. Created by David Bez. 

Sources: YouTube

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Soundscape Installation: Times Square Sound Sculpture

Sound Sculpture (1:46)  Even in the cacophony of staccato noise that defines Times Square, one sound seems particularly intriguing. Depending on one's ear it is either a continuous oooom-like mantra, a moan, a reverberating bell or an organlike drone. 

It can be heard if you stand on or near the grating over a subway ventilation shaft on the pedestrian island where Broadway and Seventh Avenue intersect south of 46th Street. You can even detect it sometimes aboard the Queens-bound R, N and W trains before they lumber into the West 49th Street subway station. But no tourist map or sign identifies it.
That is the whole point.

"I wanted a work that wouldn't need indoctrination," says Max Neuhaus, the artist who created the work, which he calls a sound sculpture. "The whole idea is that people discover it for themselves. They can't explain it. They take possession of it as their own discovery. They couldn't do that if it were labeled 'An Artwork by Max Neuhaus.'  Full article.

Source: New York Times Video

Friday, November 25, 2011

Documentary: Listening to Northern Lights

Listening to Northern Lights (7:45)  When solar flares hit the Earth's magnetic field, the skies at both poles can light up with auroras. The particles also create very low frequency electromagnetic waves, a type of natural radio that can be picked up around the globe. Every year sound recordist Steve McGreevy heads north where the reception is best and points his receiver at the sky. This was made for use in the Minnesota Planetarium and Space Discovery Center dome, thus the circular frame of the images). Produced by Joel Halvorson NASA Earth-Sun Museum Alliance (ESMA)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Phonographer: Knud Viktor

Le Sculpteur de son (8:51) Knud Viktor (1924 Copenhagen) is known as a pioneer of phonography and sound ecology. Formerly a painter but also a photographer and a film maker, Viktor wanted to picture the landscape by capturing the impact of the intense light and sounds upon animals. He spent most of his life trying to capture the tiny sound of animals and the sound of erosion on the rocks of Régalon (Lubéron, France) where he was living at the time of this interview.  Source: YouTube

Knud Viktor, Le Chantre Du Luberon  (12:00) Have you ever heard the sound of a worm in a fruit, that of a guinea pig in the womb?  Knud Viktor did. Perceiving the imperceptible, he recorded thousands of sounds, mixing, and processing them for seventeen years, to achieve a "sound painting" of the blue mountain of Luberon.  Originally a painter, printmaker, photographer, he explains why he turned to the world of sound. He explains how by making short films on crickets that little by little, "the sound took over him." He speaks of his early recordings. Source:

Language: French only

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Noise Issues: Moscow

Muscovites angry over noise pollution (4:02) In a city of 10 million people Moscow is dealing with pollution in a whole new way. Prime Time takes a look at an environmental issue that is changing the way we live, sometimes without realizing it.

Source: RT Moscow

See video list for other Noise Issue topics.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Documentary: Michael Colley Hang Performer

Michael Colley: Yue Diao PANArt Hang. (6:19)  Many artists interact with the soundscape which helps give form and definition to their work. Michael Colley performs and discusses his search for acoustic spaces that enhance the sound of this unique percussion instrument. A film by Darren Teale.

Source: YouTube

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lecture: Hildegard Westerkamp, "What's in a soundwalk?"

"What's in a soundwalk?" (33:36) In this presentation, Hildegard Westerkamp, uses recorded interviews, audio mixes, and live readings, to explore the evolution of soundwalks put on by the Vancouver Soundwalk Collective. She traces how the continuity of soundwalk activities over time may have shifted and deepened participant experiences in listening and relationships to space and place. This presentation was part of "Session 5 Soundwalks, Acoustic Spaces and Field Recordings" Sonic Acts XIII, 2010, Amsterdam.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Soundscape Composition: Duluth Harbor Serenade

Duluth Harbor Serenade (8:36) by Philip Blackburn. Duluth, Minnesota is on the shores of Lake Superior. The area is rich in signature sounds and sonic landmarks as is evidenced in the salutes between the lift bridge and boats, the trains, and the various bells around Duluth. Blackburn has taken this ambient soundscape and composed it into this 8 minute performance piece that was part of a  2011 Labor Day Weekend festival. The project was supported by an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, with funds from the Legacy Amendment. More at:

Source: YouTube

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Education: Making Sound Maps

Sound Maps (13:57) An IslandWood environmental science educator  discusses the techniques and practices  of creating a  soundmap  to document an acoustic environment.

Source: YouTube

Friday, November 18, 2011

Documentary: Music in Nature

Music In Nature (8:13) In this short documentary segment we follow Oregon musicians Deklun and Pace from Mount Hood to the coast as they find natural homes for their unique Electronic/trumpet musical improvisations. With a 1000 watt sound system, a computer and a trumpet, they don’t play for crowds. They play for an audience of nature alone. Produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting

Source: OPB

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interview: Annea Lockwood and acoustic ecology

Annea Lockwood - Interviewed by Arie Altena. (33:35)  In this informal interview with sound excerpts, Annea Lockwood touches on her views about field recording and sound mapping. She is well known for her recording of environmental soundscapes.  Her "A Sound Map of the Hudson" River" and the more recent "A Sound Map of the Danube" are considered as classics of the genre. 

This interview was part of "Session 5 Soundwalks, Acoustic Spaces and Field Recordings" included in Sonic Acts XIII, 2010, Amsterdam.

Source: Vimeo

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lecture: Barry Truax - Sonic Complexity

Interacting with Inner and Outer Sonic Complexity: from Microsound to Soundscape Composition (53:54) It is possible to think of the two extremes of the world of sound as the inner domain of microsound (less than 50 ms) where frequency and time are interdependent, and the external world of sonic complexity, namely the soundscape. In terms of sonic design, the computer is increasingly providing tools for dealing with each of these domains, such as granular synthesis and multi-channel soundscape composition. The models of interaction involved with the complexity of each of these domains are instructive, and will be presented with sound examples. 

Barry Truax teaches both electroacoustic music and computer music and acoustic communication at Simon Fraser University. He was one of the original members of the World Soundscape ProjectProduced by Vancouver Computer Music Meetings (VCMM)

Source: Vimeo