Symphonies of Sound

I've always been fascinated by the nature of sound, so for my project, I decided to capture the sounds of nature right in my own backyard. As I began walking around my backyard, the first thing I heard was the crunching of leaves right below my feet, so I decided to record a couple of seconds of walking upon these dry leaves. What first came to mind while doing this was the Mycelium sound walk from Week 4 and how we often fail to notice what is right beneath our feet - whether dead or alive. 

After walking around a bit more, I found a bee pollinating our rosemary bush and could faintly hear its happy little buzz as it went about its work. Delighted by this discovery, I decided to capture its sound in a video, which can be seen here:

Since we are blessed with a pool in our backyard, I also recorded the sound of water gently splashing back and forth. Water is truly unlike anything else in appearance, feeling, and sound; it is the marker of life and distinguishable using almost any of our senses. Interestingly, the pattern of the ripples formed when touching the water resembles the pattern of sound waves moving in all directions (see images below). I thought this was very fascinating because it provides a visual model of wave propagation from a central source.

            Sound Waves Help Particles Heal - Research & Development World

Of course, after a few seconds, the water ripples vanished away much like the sound of someone's voice after speaking, and so this made me wonder - where does our sound go? 

After a bit of research online, I found a clear answer: "On their journey across space, the sound waves generated by your speech will blend with other sound waves created by other noisy things like cars, wind, other people talking, music. So as you can see, the sound of our voice goes pretty much everywhere, but it gets pretty much distorted, blended, reflected, and absorbed along the way."

I am truly fascinated by this idea because of the harmony it presents. Like a synchronous symphony, the sound from our voices blends with other surrounding sounds as they make their way through space, reflecting, absorbing, bouncing off, but ultimately progressing farther and farther into the universe. As energy cannot be created nor destroyed, the sound energy is merely transferred or translated into something else - for instance, mechanical energy when it reaches our eardrums, and then chemical and electrical energy which is used by the brain to interpret and analyze the noise, while some of the energy is lost as heat. This brings up a profound thought, then, for if sound energy cannot be created nor destroyed, but merely converted into something else, then the words we say in producing sound also bear eternal weight. Indeed, the consequences of our words are truly timeless, as their meaning not only propagates to others' minds and hearts, but quite literally their sounds go on throughout space as well. 

To digress into another random observation, I remember from my LS 7C class that the way we hear sound is  due to the vibrations of our hair cells in our inner ears, which send electrical signals to connected neurons which ultimately lead to the brain. Evidently, then, different sound frequencies and pitches produce different types of vibrations of these hair cells, and so an arrangement of repeated sounds (i.e., a song) would produce a repeated progression of vibrations, kind of like a dance, and indeed, this video actually proves that our inner ear hair cells 'dance' when listening to music!


Sound Wave Photo:

Inner Ear Hair Cell dancing: