This is definitely an urban soundscape. I recorded the sounds of the street outside my open window at 11:00 at night. It was pretty windy, and I think at certain spots you might be able to hear the leaves of the four trees in front of my building rustle a bit, but by far the majority of the sounds heard are man made. I was sitting by my window which I opened about ten seconds into the recording, and after that it’s nothing but about two and a half minutes of street sounds. Several cars go by, the MARTA train pulls into the station across the street, a neighbor opens the gate to the building. There is a constant electric hum-probably from all the lights outside. You can hear my ceiling fan and the pages of the book I’m reading in the foreground.
These are sounds I constantly hear. I guess I tune them out now, but I still know they are there. The sound of the train tracks and the traffic are part of my personal soundscape, and far from bothering me, I find it unsettling when they are missing. I do hate that gate though. That clanging noise it makes is very jarring for me.
When I hear these sounds in my everyday life, I might be feeling any number of things. They are constantly in the background, and, as I said before, I’m adjusted to the point where definitely notice if they are gone. When I listed to them recorded and played back, however, I do not feel any particular connection to them, and, without context, I feel like this recording is kind of depressing. It’s just traffic on a street. It’s loud, there’s lots of banging and clanking and other generally dissonant sounds…there’s nothing inherently happy, peaceful, or inspiring about it (like you might experience with a natural soundscape). Physically, when I listen to this soundscape, I feel a bit tense. I think this is because there is no real pattern to it, so it is not possible to anticipate what the next sound will be. I imagine that for someone who was listening to this for the first time, the window opening might startle them (I bet someone actually jumps).
I recognize everything in this soundscape, because I’ve lived in this apartment with these noises for nearly four years. I love the train because it reminds me of the trains that run behind my grandmothers house and the house my family lived in when I was in high school. The sound of trains is comforting to me because they’ve been around my entire life. Words that this soundscape brings to mind: loud, urban, city, tumultuous, jarring, rhythmic, constant, ubiquitous.