This weekend, we had our first Echo Location listening and sound recording walks to add to the ever growing and rich soundmap of Bedford.
It was great fun, and I was impressed with how many interesting sounds were recorded. We did end up running out of time, so not all the sounds have been uploaded to the map yet – but will be soon…. please keep checking!!
We started the session by looking at a few interactive sound maps, and talked a bit about what we might expect to find by mapping the sounds of Bedford. Everyone then teamed up into pairs, and got kitted up with a zoom H1 digital recorder, with 2 sets of headphones attached. We made a short walk as a group without recording, but simpley listening to the world through a microphone, for a heightened and amplified listening experience of the familiar world around us. We got to the river and stayed still for a while to listen together in one place, rather than walking through a soundscape. This gave a different perspective, as we could observer a ‘stationary’ soundscape in more detail, whist also listening for passing, intermittent and occasional sounds. It is amazing how revealing just listening to the world through a microphone can be, and how muh more away of the sound environment we become. It is quite a magical and immersive experience. Following that, we split off into groups to make recordings.
Everyone went out in their pairs, ‘tethered’ together by the dual headphone arrangement, accompanied by a BCA helper with a clipboard, map and logging sheet to make notes of where there recordings were made, in order to make accurate uploads onto the online map later on. We thought it would be interesting to tag the map by using red stickers for ‘human’ sounds, green stickers for ‘nature’ sounds and blue stickers for ‘machine / object’ sounds…. but of course, there is usually some kind of cross-over in this broad catergorisation, and therefore this exercise was simply to give us a rough idea of the kind of sounds people had recorded, and the distribution of the colours on the map was interesting to see.
here is a photo of one of the maps after a sound recording walk…
We then all had a go with the free sound editing software ‘Audacity’ to neaten up and edit our sounds a bit, ready to upload to the map. People then took their edited short sounds away to upload to the map from home as – unfortunately, due to the prolific nature of everyone involved – we ran out of time…!
Thanks for everyone who took part – and remember – you can easily continue to take part and contribute sounds to the sound map if you have a smartphone and download the audioboo application. If you would like to take part in a future listening and sound recording walk, then do get in touch with Bedford Creative Arts, on 01234 818670.