Tuesday, 3 May 2011


As I am essentially creating soundscapes I thought I would research into origins and the definitions of them. The term was first coined by R. Murray Schafer, a Canadian composer best known for his World Soundscape Project. It's goal is "to find solutions for an ecologically balanced soundscape where the relationship between the human community and its sonic environment is in harmony." This refers to "Acoustic ecology" which is basically the connection between living things and their environment through sound. This can be presented in many ways but often having recorded sounds of the environment carried by an orchestra. This is far more literal than my work yet still relevant.
I have found using a wok creates a really nice sound when stationary but also when it's tilted after being struck you can bend the note made as the water changes position in context to the rest of the wok. This is possibly something to look into.

Plastic Experiments

All of the previous experiments have produced very high-pitched sounds. I tried to acheive bass notes with a larger, more hollow object and using a softer material like plastic. Just like the glass you create different pitches depending on how full the bottle is but the sound is always very dull. The fuller the bottle was the better the sound but still very flat. I found using the drumstick was the best thing to strike the bottles with but the sound just wasn't of a good enough quality to use.

More Experimenting

The bottles and jars are my preferred objects to use. They produce bright, unique sounds and the pitch can be altered by simply adding water. As you can see I marked the bottles to show the level with water and 'X-ed' them to show the level at which the sounds were clearest and kindest to the ear.

Some Experimenting

Just a few things from my kitchen which I decided to capture sound from. The sound produced from the plate and bowl is surprisingly crisp. The flat, cirlcular shape gives great resonance much like an actual cymbal does.

Experimenting & Equipment

I have found that whilst experimenting with sound the object with which you strike the 'instrument' makes the sound differ greatly. The carving knife produces a strong, metallic sound but can leave harsh overtones. This is ok for larger bottles but too piercing for smaller objects like jars. The drumstick as you would expect produces a 'woody' sound which is far softer and more appropriate when striking metal. The butter knife is much like the carving knife but less overbearing, suitable for smaller objects. The spoon is similar to this. The fork has less of a solid impact which is ok for very high-pitched sounds but doesn't work with things like woks/saucepans.


I once read a theory that everything has a limit to the amount of heartbeats it has in a lifetime, which is a similar number throughout all varieties of mammals. The theory is that the smaller the animal is, the faster its heart beats therefore it dies sooner than a larger animal whose heart beats slower, thus living longer. The hypothesis was first proposed by a biologist named Raymond Pearl in 1926. The theory is not an exact science and is disregarded as solid fact by the general thought behind it is considered to be true. I liked the thought of a heartbeats counting down like a ticking clock and wanted to show this through sound. Being a drummer I wanted single notes rather than a constant sound to represent each beat, much like the heart itself. This is where I began experimenting with various objects.