Clearly "silence" is a contested word, but personally I don't have any issue
with not attributing it to situations that might better be described as quiet.
The differing experiences of "quiet" are however very interesting.
Years ago, I was standing with a group of people at night (composers/sound
artists on a course as it happened) by the River Dart here in Devon. We were on
a sound walk and it was a particularly still August evening. Conversation fell
away and we became still. As we did so I felt a "rushing in" - an almost
physical pressure. It was quite startling, but I've experienced it a number of
times since when I've purposefully put myself in similar situations. Its the
sort of experience that is personal and no recording technology could replicate
- but I recognise it in experiences related in this thread.
I don't wish to overanalyse, but I'd be intrigued in a wider sharing of
experiences of such quiet places to see if there's any commonality, or if our
experience's differ widely.
--- In "Jez" <> wrote:
> these 'silences' aren't silent. What tends to happen is the extreme quietness
> combined with the listeners attempts to perceive it lead to a situation where:
> 1) on a psychological level, one accepts the definition of silence
> 2) on a physical level, the ears attempt to adjust to the surroundings & to 1)
> the combination means that 'silence' is the surface perception. There are all
> kinds of sounds present, even in the disorienting stillness of the most quiet
> places on earth (such as deep caves or deserts) but, as is the way of us
> humans, it is easier for us to apply filters to our perception of what is
> micro / macro listening to these places or recordings of them reveals a
> wealth of sound, all be it on a sometimes very subtle level.
> it's amazing to perceive stillness & amazing to hear whats there at those
> --- In 404 <404@> wrote:
> > Thanks for this, Raimund. Fascinating stuff!
> > On 05 Jun 2012, at 19:39, Raimund wrote:
> > > <But every now and then there's moments where the wind lies down and the
> > > flies stay away and it's silent. Not quiet. But silent. I'm sure that
> > > anyone who's ever driven into the Australian outback or desert know what
> > > I'm talking about. I can highly recommend it>
> > >
> > > Peter,
> > >
> > > I think I know what you are talking about. I experienced that stunning
> > > silence several times shortly after sunset while camping in the Sonoran
> > > Desert (Arizona).
> > >
> > > There is a simple explanation for that kind of silence: A strong
> > > temperature gradient in the air above the ground creates a sonic shadow
> > > region for each sound source (the ground is still hot, but the air is
> > > getting cooler at night). See
> > > http://www.acs.psu.edu/drussell/Demos/refract/refract.html. So, I think
> > > there is still some noise around, but it just cannot be heard due to
> > > these refraction effects.
> > >
> > > Regards,
> > > Raimund
> > >
> > >