[Top] [All Lists]

Re: Very quiet recordings

Subject: Re: Very quiet recordings
From: "vickipowys" vpowys
Date: Tue Jun 5, 2012 4:09 pm ((PDT))

Just throwing in a few random thoughts to this very long thread...

someone said:
> And for the most part, quiet sounds are not always readily nameable  
> and thus require a greater intensity of listening.

Nothing focusses the mind like a strong sense of survival - I've been  
camped out in the Australian desert on cold and still winter nights,  
having walked for days and being well away from vehicles, people,  
roads.  What bliss!  But in my sleeping bag at night until I fall  
asleep I will be listening intently, wondering what is around, and I  
will hear the soft rattle of pebbles as a wallaby comes to drink at a  
waterhole, and I will hear the soft crunch of paws in the sand as a  
dingo comes to check me out.

But you do not need to go to the desert to experience quietness.   
Anywhere in rural Australia has the potential for quiet, where I live  
is quiet.  It is winter now and last night when I listened, no  
creature made a sound, it was so still and quiet.  What a difference  
to summer when the air is filled with the sounds of crickets and  

> Conversation fell away and we became still. As we did so I felt a  
> "rushing in" - an almost physical pressure........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.

My situation is the reverse, in that I have quiet around me most of  
the time.  My ears are naturally focussed on the big picture.  When I  
am bombarded with noise (e.g. weekend neighbour's kids on motorbikes)  
it is very easy for me to become quite distressed and I need to take  
stock, go indoors and get on with something other than listening.   
When the bikes go, my hearing can expand again, along with my mind  
and my thoughts.  So for me it is not the quietness rushing in, but  
my listening rushing out.  The noise rushes in and traps me, but the  
quiet makes me free again.

Vicki Powys

On 06/06/2012, at 6:11 AM, soundings23 wrote:

> 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:
>> quickly:
>> 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 there.
>> 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 times.
>> --- 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:// 
>>>> So, I think  
>>>> there is still some noise around, but it just cannot be heard  
>>>> due to these refraction effects.
>>>> Regards,
>>>> Raimund
> ------------------------------------
> "While a picture is worth a thousand words, a
> sound is worth a thousand pictures." R. Murray Schafer via Bernie  
> Krause.
> Yahoo! Groups Links

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the naturerecordists mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU