Will and Zeke’s Davis Green Adventure

Our recording begins as we walk towards the center of the Davis green. You can hear some friendly banter between Will and I as we discuss upcoming concerts. Another prevalent noise is a constant flow of wind while we wander towards the granite benches near the sidewalk. The microphone also does a good job of picking up the dull thrum of surrounding conversation, with a few more discernible phrases interspersed within the recording. For much of the recording we can also hear Will softly strumming his guitar which provides a nice and simple background soundscape. For a short bit you can hear some clicks and pops of my beatbox in accompaniment to Will’s guitar. The long section of our interview then commences which was quite exciting and amusing for everyone involved. We then head back through the Davis center, run into an SGA booth asking for suggestions, and head through the tunnel. It cuts out halfway through the conversation because the sound file was too big to transfer from my phone voice memos.

I enjoyed the interaction of the many human voices throughout our recording because of the differences distinguishable through a reduced lens. Listening to the recording also reveals how cacophonous the more populated areas of the campus are. I was also interested in how a lot of the sounds I could hear on the recording were not exactly noticed while we were in that moment and time. I really liked this particular assignment because I got to see how much sound exists all around us that we aren’t even registering.

The dark side of the cell

In class today we will listen to excerpts from Anne Niemetz and Andrew Pelling’s installation “The Dark Side of the Cell.” For more information about their audio and video recordings/compositions visit the website:


Figure 1. a) An optical microscope image of a triangular AFM cantilever. At the apex of the triangle is a small tip that is barely visible and appears as a small block spot. A cartoon zoom of the side view of the cantilever shows the pyramidal shape of the tip that has an approximate radius of about 20 nanometers. In b) a schematic of the AFM cantilever is shown. The tip itself has a 35 degree half opening angle. c) A cartoon of the AFM setup. The AFM cantilever is mounted on the end of a tube piezoelectric crystal. As the crystal moves the tip over the surface, a laser monitors the tip displacement. The laser is bounced off the back of the cantilever into a position sensitive photodiode that records the cantilever motion. A computer assembles a three dimensional image based on this data.

Ultrasounds and Maternal-Fetal Attachment

My group is exploring the connection between sound and the mind, body and soul. My research looks at the experience of having an ultrasound done during pregnancy. Central to this is the maternal-fetal attachment. This audiovisual experience enhances attachment by giving the expectant mother an opportunity to see the fetus in motion, helping her to make a connection prenatally. The picture of the fetus combined with the doctor explaining what various parts of the picture are in relation to the body helps the woman to understand the reality that she is going to be a mother, and this will be her child. Additionally, the woman is able to see the fetus growing over time as it starts to look more and more like a baby. This connection between souls has become an important part of maternal-fetal bonding in the Western world and is a great experience for an expectant mother.


The sound I included is an ultrasound being conducted on a pregnant woman. The frequency of ultrasounds is so high that it cannot be heard by the human ear; only the image based on the movement of sound waves can be heard. The technology used in this clip is unique because it adjusts the frequency of the ultrasound to a point where it can be heard. The knowledge of what this sounds like is helpful in comprehending the full picture of the woman’s involvement in the ultrasound because it adds an audible component to the central aspect of the experience.


“One drop” drumming pattern

Here are some explanations of the “one drop” pattern that is characteristic of roots reggae.

Drum Lesson: How to Play “One Drop” Watch the interaction between the bass drum (played with the foot) and the snare & high hat (played with the hands):

Here is a more technical explanation of how to recreate the “One Drop” rhythm using a sequencer music program: “Feel it in the One Drop

Bob Marley’s song “One Drop”:

Listening to Taste

acoustic tribology - listerning to what the tongue feels

IMAGE: Acoustic tribology diagram via NIZO.

Are the senses always separate? The condition known as synaesthesia, or the blending of sensations in a given experience, has come up in our discussions recently. Here is an example of researchers blending hearing and tasting in order to provide more accurate information for food scientists who wish to better understand “mouthfeel.

Read about the device that measures taste via hearing, and listen to what the taste of coffee sounds like here: “Listening to What the Tongue Feels

Relaxation and Sound

The college years are the most enjoyable years for many people. However, with the academic pressures that come with college, they can also be the most stressful. Hearing about taxing college classes from my friends, I decided going coming into UVM that I would emphasize relaxation in my life. I have discovered that sound has a profound impact on how I am able to relax in any given situation.

One way I am able to relax is by engaging in activities that directly involve creating sound. For example, my boyfriend and I were in the musical “Pippin” together in high school. Sometimes we just break out into a song from the show. I find that relaxing because singing is a way for us to let loose. When I sing with my boyfriend, I am engaging in semantic listening. “I call semantic listening that which refers to a code or language to interpret a message” (Chion 50). This is necessary in order for us to stay together in the song.  Another time I make noise to have fun is at UPlayers, the UVM theater club. Sometimes we do improvisation exercises that emphasize the role of sound. This requires causal listening because I have to know who is making the noise, but there’s no specific word meaning involved. Causal listening is listening with the purpose of identifying the source of a sound (Chion 48). My dance class is another time when listening is important. I am able to relax in dance class because it gives me the opportunity to achieve expressive freedom. Sometimes we listen to music without words when we are coming up with a composition. When this happens, I am engaging in reduced listening. This refers to listening just for the purpose of analyzing the sound, not the cause or the specific meaning (Chion 50). This is the best type of listening in this situation because it allows me to connect with the music on a deeper level.

Sometimes, when I am a contributor to a group noise being created, I can hear the sound, but I don’t really listen. An example of this is when I’m at the Marché. There are a lot of people talking, including myself and my friends, as well as the sound of eating, walking, and usually some music in the background. However, until I recorded this event, I didn’t realize that all these sounds were being made. I noticed that I associate these sounds with relaxation. This is useful information because now I can actively seek out that crowd noise to calm down. “Luckily, we can train our listening just as with any other skill” (Horowitz 2). My goal is to train my ears to recognize crowd noise on a more conscious level. Spending time with my friends over the summer is another time I get to wind down. When we go downtown, we always talk at the same time. I want to train my listening to appreciate what everyone is saying.

I also use sounds for relaxation when I am less involved in making the sound, and more of an observer. This often happens when my boyfriend tells me about a video game he likes. I listen semantically, not really having much to add. This gives me a nice break from having to think of things to say. Paying attention in these situations is important to my relationship. “Listen to your significant other’s voice…the emotions carried in the harmonics. You may save yourself a couple of fights” (Horowitz 2). I am also able to relax when I’m listening to music, like my favorite song “Be OK” by Ingrid Michaelson, or to the opening music of my favorite TV show, “Numbers”.  In these situations I engage in reduced listening to relax, so that I can sit back and appreciate what I hear. I also observed that when I’m brushing my teeth and showering, I engage in causal listening to relax. The familiarity of the water running on my hair and the brush scrubbing my teeth is very comforting. Overall, making sure I listen is a helpful tool in relaxation. Using semantic, causal, or reduced listening can be most effective depending on the situation.

Sounds Referenced:

Works Cited

Chion, Michael. “The Three Listening Modes.” The Sound Studies Reader. Comp. Jonathan Sterne. New York: Routledge, 2012. 48-53. Print.

Chisholm, Kenneth. “Counterfeit Reality.” Numbers. CBS. 11 Mar. 2005. Television.

Horowitz, Seth. “The Science and Art of Listening.” New York Times 9 Nov. 2012: n. pag. Print.

Michaelson, Ingrid. “Be OK” YouTube. YouTube, 04 Sept. 2008. Web. 10 Feb. 2013.