Soundscape

As a pianist, I feel like I’m quite attuned to sound, especially rhythm and harmonies in music. But I wanted to use this assignment to catalog sounds from ordinary, everyday life. I decided to go on a “sound walk”, similar to what we did for our serendipity expedition in Week 2 and mycomythology walk in Week 4, only this time with sound. I kind of created a sound map, using each interesting sound as my next destination. 

Sound 1, Sunset Village:

I started off in the middle of Sunset village, which reflected a mixture of natural and man-made sounds. Like everything in the course, I learned to be more present in the moment in order to find the right sounds. I like this particular audio because I could hear the birds, alongside people talking.

Sound 2, Sproul Landing:

I could hear the wind rustling the trees nearby, so that was my next stop. It’s probably my favorite sound that I heard in this expedition because it’s so peaceful. Unfortunately, you can hear a lot of wind in the audio, but there is also the rustling of leaves in the background. The rustling really reminds me that I’m in nature and it was nice to stop for a few moments and enjoy it.

Sound 3, Bruinwalk Crossing:

As I walked down the road, I was on the lookout for the next interesting sound. I stopped at a crosswalk and realized that I wanted to record the sound of the crossing signal. Last year, I used to find this sound annoying, especially when I was late for class and desperately needed to cross the road. But I thought it was important to capture the sound because it makes up part of my soundscape here at UCLA. I also got to capture the sound of cars, which is pretty much inescapable in the city. Instead of looking at it as noise pollution, I wanted to include this audio because it is a part of our daily lives.

Sound 4, Hydration Station:

I had to stop to fill my water bottle and I realized that I wanted to capture that sound as well. Like many people, the sound of running water and fountains is extremely calming for me. I read this article about how running water and the sounds of waves can induce an almost hypnotic state. The sounds of water can be beneficial while meditating or sleeping, and the rhythmic sounds of waves or thunder can actually slow down our brainwaves. Personally, I enjoy listening to the rain sounds to help me sleep.

I wanted to round off my sound walk by capturing the sound of my heartbeat as I walked, to reflect the inner rhythm we have. I often try to listen or feel my heartbeat when I’m anxious to help ground me, yet another way in which sound affects my life. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a clear recording, but it is an important part of my soundscape.

Overall, this sound of exercise became one for mindfulness again. I prefer to walk with headphones in, drowning out other sounds with my music. I love listening to music, but I realize that I like listening to my environment as well. There’s a lot to listen to when you look for it, and the sounds of nature can make you feel calmer. I was reminded of last week’s lecture, and the idea that everything around us has its own frequency and vibrations. While we can’t hear most of these sounds, they still interact with us in subconscious ways.