At first, I was very skeptical of this entire sound journal observation experience, but I began to find it increasingly interesting.  I am not the type of person who generally stops to consider how sounds interact or analyze the sounds that I hear on a daily basis.  For this project, however, I was forced to.  After my observations, I realized that some of the sounds made by my parents’ washing machine were similar to those made by my hamster (the pitter-patter noise) as well as were similar to some of the noises made by my roommate typing on her computer.  Although some of the noises were similar, I was surprised at the variety of noises that certain objects made and was impressed with the information that one can gather through common, everyday noises.  I was particularly astounded that I could hear that certain keys on my roommate’s keyboard stuck based on the different noise that those few keys made.  Overall, this experience made much more aware of the noises around me and how interesting those noises can be.


5 responses »

  1. laurenbreton says:

    Sound Observation 1:

    Location: my living room

    Variation one: listening to all of the sounds separately
    clicking, clacking, pattering (pitter-patter), emphatic thumps

    Variation 2: listening to the sounds interacting
    Sounds like an orchestra of thumps, with some repetition and some sense of pattern, although a lot of the thumps sound sporadic; swishing and pinging occur during pauses; typing becomes faster after brief pauses. The actual typing sounds like mice running/scampering/scurrying.

    Summary: It takes a lot of effort and concentration to focus on the typing, because of all the other noises in the house (traffic, radiators, etc.) that are simultaneously occurring. The thumps and clicks all sound similar at first, but can soon quickly be distinguished (space bar vs. regular keys vs. backspace), plus some of the keys on the keyboard stick, creating harsher sounds when more pressure is applied and softer “thumps” when the keys don’t stick. They rhythm is a sporadic pitter-patter that is punctuated with familiar, more distinct sounds (double-tapping the space bar). Additional variations could include listening to the pitter-patter of the keyboard with the traffic and the noise from the radiator as well as the pinging from Erin’s laptop battery. It would also be interesting to listen to the typing with other noises of the computer itself, such as the fan turning on to prevent overheating, the noise that it makes when loading a CD, etc.

  2. laurenbreton says:

    Sound Observation 2:

    4:28-4:42 pm
    Location: My parent’s laundry room

    Variation one: listening for each individual sound
    high pitched squeal, fluid, chugging noise, cyclical rolling, thumping stops

    Variation 2: Listening to how the noises interact
    Sounds like a constant rolling tide with a high pitched whistle – always present; noticeable throughout but especially so when machine stops moving; sounds almost don’t interact except for the chugging of clothes and the rushing of water. The sounds are very symmetrical – chugs left then right evenly; even ebb/flow of washing machine.

    Variation 3: Spin cycle
    Very suddenly the sound changes to a growl/grunting noise that is very terrifying; this sounds very mechanical and very loud – high pitch squeal becomes almost completely indistinguishable

    The washing machine displays a wide variety of sounds, one of which is a constant high-pitched squeal. It balances the sounds evenly, switching back and forth at regular intervals. The chugging of the clothes tumbling mixed with the rushing of the water and the high pitched squeal work together to form the familiar noise of the machine. The growling is added to enhance the sound and makes the washing machine sound very unhealthy. It would be interesting to listen to the washing machine through it’s entire cycle and observe all of the noises that it makes when cleaning clothes. Another interesting way to listen to this would be with the dryer also going and trying to distinguish which machine makes which noise. The growling, however, makes it difficult to hear everything else.

  3. laurenbreton says:

    Sound Observation 3:
    5:58-6:09 pm
    Location: My parents’ laundry room

    Variation 1: listening to all of the sounds independently and trying to determine what they are as they simultaneously occur
    tumbling, rolling sound, clunking, grumble, constant hum punctuated by the rolling/tumbling sound, pinging/denting sound (very irregular)

    Variation 2: listening to all of the sounds at once and trying to determine how they interact
    Clunking/grumble seem as if they are almost rhythmic and there is a sort of clacking/clinking that randomly is interjected along with the pinging; sounds very mechanical – very much sounds like it is vibrating off of the floor, walls, and washer; vibrating likely helps to create the constant hum; all sounds seem to punctuate the constant vibrating hum; sounds almost like waves rolling on a beach

    As they dryer shuffles the clothes around, it creates a symphony of sounds. All of the sounds such as the pinging of metal , the tumble of clothes, and the grumble of movement seem to punctuate the constant humming/vibrating of the machine. The rhythm is predictable, moving in a cyclical manner with minor additions that are unpredictable (such as the pinging/denting noises). Another variation that could be interesting would be listening to the washer and dryer simultaneously or listening to the rumble of traffic coupled with the tumbling of the dryer. Also, it would be interesting to listen to change floating around in the dryer, or heavier clothes being dried.

  4. laurenbreton says:

    Sound Observation 4:
    8:15-8:22 pm
    Location: my bedroom, right next to my hamster’s cage

    Variation one: listening to the hamster eat
    scratching, hollow sound, shuffling, scuffing

    Variation two: listening to the hamster run on the wheel
    creaky, squeaking, breathing noise, rustling, pitter-patter

    Variation three: listening to the hamster play
    rustling, crunching, plopping – very metallic

    It would be interesting to listen to her crawl around around the floor in her ball, as well as listen to her play on her toys that aren’t her wheel. It is strange to think that one tiny creature can make so much noise and such a variety of noises in such a short time. Also, it would be really interesting to listen to the angry noise that she makes when she is being “threatened” or disturbed, but I don’t want to scare her. I never realized just how many noises she makes, because I never stopped to listen. I always thought that she made noises that were (for the most part) pretty similar, but after this observation I realize that they were not

  5. laurenbreton says:

    Sound Observation 5:
    6:15-6:57 pm
    Location: On a farm in Fayette, ME

    Variation one; listening to just the sheep:
    crackling, baaaaaaa-ing: from weak and scratchy (older sheep) to confused and panicked (babies) to strong and determined, almost reprimanding (middle-aged mothers and fathers), clicking (chewing), thumping

    Variation two; donkey:
    piercing bray, shrieking, almost sounding indignant, shuffling, rustling, wheezing

    Variation three; horse:
    clicking (sounds indignant, cross), wheezing, swishing, rustling of paper

    Variation four: fringe sounds
    rumbling, clicking, ticking, swishing, singing

    This sound experience was taken from a farm that I had spent a lot of my spare time in high school at, so it was a place that is very familiar to me. With it being spring now, however, the noises at the farm have changed. Although I assumed that, for the most part, the sheep would sound the same, the babies have completely different brays than their mothers and fathers. The smaller the baby is, the more panicked the “baaaaaas” are, to the point where one can hear the difference in voices from those most recently born to those that were born several weeks ago. Another aspect of this listening that I found interesting was all of the noises that I would hear simultaneously, but normally wouldn’t realize. For example, in the fringe noises, I didn’t hear the ticking/clicking of the electric fence until I began blocking out the rustling, chewing, and braying of all of the animals. It never ceases to amaze me how many sounds occur at once, yet how little we often hear all of them. Also, I was impressed by how easy it was to identify one animal from another, simply based upon the noises that they created. The donkey and the horse made very similar noises, but the noises from the horse sounded much more cross and aggressive than did those from the donkey.

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