• elizabethcackett

Sounds of the City

Above: Map of Shoreditch car park showing field recording positions

Inspired by Schaeffer’s four modes of listening and my experience at this year’s Musarc’s Field Studies course the aim for this piece was to explore the constant pulse and rhythmic soundscape of the city using simultaneous field recordings taken from various static locations within a car park and narrate what was heard.

An emergency services siren, a plane flying overhead, a street encounter and the sounds emanating from an adjacent building site provided a variety of motifs, textures and sonic interest. ‘How much I prefer them in their raw state; rather than in the state of vague composition’ (Schaeffer) resonated with my response to and usage of the car park field recordings. The embodiment of this space allowed for the listener to be transported around the car park exploring how acoustics of an open but defined space within a city affects sound. It also highlights the effects sound can have on mental and physical states as narrated by “the pulse of the city never stops” implying our inability to relax and instead be influenced by the constant influx and somewhat intrusion of sound.

The intention of a narration using the four modalities to explicate what is heard in the soundscape was to give the listener a continuous theme to a piece that is compromised, in essence, of sonic fragments. Furthermore, the piece allows for people to consider the impact of sound on our lives once they have gained a deeper awareness of it.

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