CTW Assignment 3- Respond to a Soundscape

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.



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