Category Archives: Blog

The Great Animal Orchestra

There is a really interesting documentary on BBC Radio 4 about the great Bernie Krause – one of the world’s leading experts in natural sound. Check it out here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01f5hng

Bernie is one of RMG’s favourite people and has pioneered amazing work – recording nature at it’s most beautiful……..from a sonic perspective.

When Bernard L. Krause was a very small far sighted boy afflicted with astigmatism, the sounds of his suburban Detroit home intrigued him – both inside, where the plumbing gurgled and the stairs creaked, and outside, where the songs of whip-poor-wills and crickets lured him to sleep.

Before he was 5 he was studying violin and composition, but by his teens he had switched to guitar – the instrument of jazz – and after college both the Eastman and Juilliard schools turned him down because those schools’ worthies didn’t consider the guitar to be a musical instrument.

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Silence is Golden?

They say silence is golden – but there’s a room in the U.S that’s so quiet it becomes unbearable after a short time.
The longest that anyone has survived in the ‘anechoic chamber’ at Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis is just 45 minutes.
It’s 99.99 per cent sound absorbent and holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s quietest place, but stay there too long and you may start hallucinating. It achieves its ultra-quietness by virtue of 3.3-foot-thick fiberglass acoustic wedges, double walls of insulated steel and foot-thick concrete.
The company’s founder and president Steven Orfield said: ‘We challenge people to sit in the chamber in the dark – one reporter stayed in there for 45 minutes. ‘When it’s quiet, ears will adapt. The quieter the room, the more things you hear. You’ll hear your heart beating, sometimes you can hear your lungs, hear your stomach gurgling loudly.
‘In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound.’ And this is a very disorientating experience. Mr Orfield explained that it’s so disconcerting that sitting down is a must. He said: ‘How you orient yourself is through sounds you hear when you walk. In the anechnoic chamber, you don’t have any cues. You take away the perceptual cues that allow you to balance and manoeuvre. If you’re in there for half an hour, you have to be in a chair.’

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Whales and dolphins focus sound beams on prey

Many marine mammals live in a world shaped by sound – producing clicks to map their underwater environment out of echoes.

Researchers in Hawaii have now discovered just how finely tuned this “echolocation” can be.

The scientists found that toothed whales can focus their beam of sound – pinpointing a target with a narrow stream of clicks to study it in detail.

Their findings are published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

The research has been held with a killer whale named Kina. Kina has been in a bay enclosure at Hawaii’s Institute of Marine Biology since 1993.

Kina has managed to distinguish between two objects that differed in width by less than the thickness of a human hair.

Scientists had suspected that this remarkable accuracy was partly due to whales’ ability to adjust the focus of their echolocating sound beam.

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It might not be meaningful…. but it’s deep!

Voters in elections are more likely to pick candidates with a deeper voice, a new study has suggested.

Researchers at two US universities made recordings of both male and female speakers and then altered the pitch of their subjects’ voices.

In the study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, listeners “voted” more frequently for the “candidate” with the lower voice.

Researchers now want to test their findings in a real political situation.

 

Previous research has found that the pitch of a human voice can strongly influence how people are perceived.

This study looked at how it may affect the way we choose leaders.

Seventeen women and 10 men were recorded saying the phrase: “I urge you to vote for me this November.”

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Stonehenge design was ‘inspired by sounds’

Music could have been an inspiration for the design of Stonehenge, according to an American researcher.

Steven Waller’s intriguing idea is that ancient Britons could have based the layout of the great monument, in part, on the way they perceived sound.

He has been able to show how two flutes played in a field can produce an auditory illusion that mimics in space the position of the henge’s pillars.

Mr Waller presented the idea at the AAAS meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

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The relationship between colour & sound.

Following on from the earlier story about the relationship between colour and sound:
There is an angstrom to frequency formula where one can directly compare colour to sound: The speed of a wave is the product of its wavelength (given the symbol “lambda”) and its frequency (given the symbol “nu”): Takes congruence to a whole new level! 🙂

 

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The man who hears colour.

Artist Neil Harbisson is completely colour-blind. Here, he explains how a camera attached to his head allows him to hear colour.

Until I was 11, I didn’t know I could only see in shades of grey. I thought I could see colours but that I was confusing them.

When I was diagnosed with achromatopsia [a rare vision disorder], it was a bit of a shock but at least we knew what was wrong. Doctors said it was impossible to cure.

When I was 16, I decided to study art. I told my tutor I could only see in black and white, and his first reaction was, “What the hell are you doing here then?” I told him I really wanted to understand what colour was.

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Nokia Ringtone Montage

Following on from last week’s story about Lukas Kmit and the Nokia Ringtone – here’s a short montage of just some of the ringtone variations in chronological order. One of the advantages of branding in sound is the flexibility to keep refreshing it, keep it contemporary or adjust to suit a tactical campaign or commercial – all whilst retaining the core brand values.

http://soundcloud.com/rivieramediagroup/nokia-ringtone-montage

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Choral work seeks record-breaking bass singer

A record company has begun a worldwide search for the singer who can sing a note so low that it is thought never to have been sung before.

 

 

 

Written by Military Wives composer Paul Mealor, the choral work De Profundis includes a low E, which lies more than two octaves below middle C.

It is six semitones below the lowest note found in a mainstream choral work – a B flat in Rachmaninov’s Vespers.

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