Skip to content

Listening to the world MUS654

It’s the beginning of this year’s #MUS654 and we’re looking at all things sound for this week. Under the #MUS654 tab (at the top of the page on this website) are all the sessions and this week’s topic: The Mechanics of Sound has to do with sound. Every year I come to this with fresh ears as I learn to listen again. What does my world sound like? What can I hear?

So often sounds wash over us. Listening is a strange thing compared to sight. With sight, we can close our eyes and ‘make it go away’, but not so with sound. Bathed in sound from dawn to dusk and in between, the world never stops. Sitting in my office now, lights off, sun coming through the window, through the quiet I can hear the tappity tap of my keys and I wonder what else can be heard. I know there are programmes that can identify what you type by listening to the sounds of the patterns of typing, and the loudness of the different key strokes. What does the world around me reveal?

There are so many things that I am unaware of.

I recorded myself typing the text above. See if you can hear the patterns of my typing. Can you hear when I made mistakes and went back to correct them?

On this week’s page there are several activities you can explore. I have chosen this as an ice breaker, because it’s fun, and everyone can participate- whether you consider yourself to be specifically musical or not. I have recorded a ‘soundscape’ of something that I encounter every day. Your job is to listen and guess what it is. Please leave your guesses in the comments below 🙂 and in a few days I will post the answer in the form of both words and a picture. Don’t spoil the answer by reading all the comments first!

As a musician, listening is crucial; it is distinguishing between the smallest nuance. It is a skill that we continue to develop, and we can choose to open our ears to the world around us and to hear it with new vibrancy. What can you notice? What is around you? What sounds do you like and can you pinpoint why? So many questions…

Have a go recording your own soundscape, and do look at the other resources and activities on the page. Whether you are in #MUS654 for the long haul (all 10 weeks!) or just happened by the page, welcome and let’s explore the world of sound together. I am always open to questions or comments, and would be delighted if you shared your comments and creations so others could join in, widening the conversation.

Featured Image CC BY-NC-ND by Images by John ‘K’

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. The Bassist's Reflections #

    So finally I have managed to do my own recording feel free to check it out:

    I think it’s fairly obvious, but that’s ok.

    October 4, 2017
  2. More Sharpie in the morning #

    Had a go at creating my own Soundscape… Turned out quite well i think! Here is the link:

    September 22, 2017
    • Laura #

      Love it! At first I thought it was running, then I thought maybe not- it was so regular and there was a slight hint of rain (?) so maybe it was windscreen wipers, but then I heard breathing and decided it was running. I liked the evenness of the steps and the tiny bits of sound from other people as you passed them by. Then there was a ‘thank you’ and the purpose of the people changed! Was it a race? Toward the end there were more people and although I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying, it sounded positive, and then there was a beep-beep that could have been a finishing sound marker? And the running stopped! If it was a race, well done ! and what a great thing to capture. It’s really nice to hear that from your perspective and to work it out from just the sounds.

      September 23, 2017
  3. #BassFace #

    Listening to the sound clip I initially thought of the sound of white noise from an old television. Then I thought of a hair dryer but was sure this wasn’t quite right. Another thought was of the sound of a gas stove, but I was sure that would be lower in pitch. Then the bubbling of the kettle gave it away, with the click confirming this thought!

    September 15, 2017
  4. *Bwarkbwokbok* #

    I instantly thought it was a train, then heard the bubbling water and thought it was a kettle! 🙂

    September 15, 2017
  5. Sharpie in the morning #

    Kettle boiling making tea or coffee

    September 15, 2017
  6. Lauryn #


    September 15, 2017

Leave a Reply