Hildegard Westerkamp

(10 points)

Hildegard is a radio artist, composer, and sound ecologist. She performs, has workshops, writes and gives lectures. She considers her work as important and at the same time underrated because not many people understood the purpose of her type of work. She studies sounds and applies it to the world surroundings. Hildegard thinks her field of work is a craft. People just like her feel as though they are more connected with the world. Soundscape is music based on more naturalistic sounds. It also involves the art and science behind sound. She wants people to know that sound whether people notices or not controls a lot of factors in our lives. Sound is more louder and noticeable now, from toys, to appliances, to film sound has changed.

Sound-walking is suppose to open up our ears to the sounds of the environment. The purpose is so that we acknowledge sound that we hear all the time but possibly on a deeper level. Sounds change, especially overtime as the environment changes. Where there were factories in the past there may be parks, where there was small traffic before a new highway has been built so there is more cars, where there were empty spaces it is now filled with houses. The sounds that were once being made from factories, small cars, and empty spaces are now occupied with different noises. I think Hildegard wants us to realize that although we notice a difference, we don’t necessarily notice a difference in sounds often enough. She notices noises that were once there, are not there anymore.

Sound does not have to be based on quiet and loud, or good and bad, but more-so how does the sound make you feel when you are hearing it. She studies sound in it’s context. She states, “Soundscape recordings are excerpts of moments in time, nothing else” which means sounds can either have a negative or positive effect on someone. It can be a sound that helps relive a good time. Or it could be a sound that makes you think of the bad. Either way she wants sound to be as meaningful to others as it has been for her. Once a sound is recorded and replayed, the listener can only be in that moment. Trying to re-record that sound may not work out because it may not sound the same way.

Hildegard choice of work makes her feel free and not limited. She speaks of quiet and silence, as quiet still has noise but to be silent is to be completely still with nothing moving. The sound of silence, for her can be correlated with emptiness and possibly fearful. However, quietness can express peace and clarity. Personally I find her job to be weird and before this article I had not known that people actually do this.

Singing in the Rain

(20 points)

The movie is about transition in film between silence and sound. In the mists of it all we have a couple, Don and Lina, who are the movie stars and a famous couple. Don is a guy that had a dream and Lina is that woman who only sees a man for their money and fame. Lina uses their role of being movie stars to make her become more famous. She isn’t as quite into Don as he first was into her. The role she plays on the movie screen, she plays in reality if she wants to get the most fame out of her and Don’s relationship. During their films, because the technology to have sound on film was not yet created, they were recorded in silence. On the screen, the words that actors/actresses would’ve said was put in quotation after every time someone would say their lines. To create a change of expression or a change of scenes the film would have orchestras in the background. However, the first sound movie came out in 1927.

When it came to adding sound directors didn’t quite know how they were going to get all the actors to be heard at any point of the film and with every movement that they made. Then when sound equipment was invented it was too loud and made too much static. Not to mention too big so it was difficult to blend it into a set. On the silent screen actors looked the part, but when sound was coming into play the way actors would say a line or the overall sound of their voice did not correspond with the visual idea the director had for the film. They also had singing in the show and people didn’t have that talent to be recorded. In today times an actors voice has to have that certain sound just to get the part. For ex, Morgan Freeman he has “that voice” that cannot be duplicated and therefore makes him perfect for certain roles. But back then it wasn’t about your sound it was about your looks. Sure the actors/actresses had the right look for the big screen, but when the technology of sounds were evolving they didn’t have the voice to back-up their image.

That was the problem directors were having with Lina. Her voice wasn’t matching particular roles and she needed to be replaced. In the scene where the mic is in-between the bushes the director get frustrated because although in order to fulfill her role Lina had to move her head side to side to show a little sadness, but it wasn’t working well with the sound equipment. Every time she would move her voice could not be picked up by the mic. Actors needed to be directly in front the mic in order for it to capture their words. The director pointed out where the mic was and the direction she needed to speak in to be heard but because she kept moving her head only half of her lines were being heard. Her voice was also too high pitch for her role they needed a woman who had a warm tone. She got upset because in the silent film her body movements could go any which way to show her expression but for a sound film she needed to be still and that was uncomfortable for her because she didn’t want to talk into a bush. He even put a mic inside her dress and covered it up with flowers so it wouldn’t be seen, it did work but then the mic picked up her heart beat so it conflicted with her lines.  If I was the director I think I would’ve moved the bush to a different area that way she can look Don in the eyes and it wouldn’t be as if she was talking to the bush.

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Lonely Whale

(10 points)

For war purposes there were hydrophones placed along the ocean floor which are microphones designed for the water to capture sounds. Initially they were used to capture the sounds of Soviet sub marines used during the war, but with all the wars over they discovered a different sound being picked up from the microphones. One acoustic technician believed it to be a whale, and with further analysis they claimed it to be precisely a blue whale. Fascinated that the hydrophones picked up a whale sound that had the frequency of 52 hertz. Blue whales usually send sounds that are between 15 and 20 hertz, this particular whale was exceeding that. Whales would “sing” to attract a mate or help find food. Due to loud volume that male blue whales could make they were considered the loudest animals in the world but this whale was different. Since he was unique and all the technicians knew about him was that he had a sound of 52 and he was a blue whale so they called him 52 Blue.

He was never in a group but alone, so he was the only one that had that frequency. A whale song would attract another but his seemed to attract no other whale. Eventually people gained feelings for him because he was alone, people assumed maybe he was deaf therefore couldn’t hear how loud he was, marine researchers were assuming that he was trying to tell others that he was out there. Maybe he was looking for another whale? or perhaps he hoped a specific whale was looking for him? People connected their own stories with him. Sooner than later everyone was associating themselves in some way. 52 Blue had a song from a singer named after him, an album was dedicated to him, and a sculpture was dedicated to him.

His sound was a sound of sadness for many, because he was so loud he had no mate or family. We can suspect that he wanted love but couldn’t find it. People associated him with bad relationships, death in families and sadness. People were actually moved by this whale and bonded and sympathized with it. The writer states, “One of the themes of Zeman’s film is modern loneliness, that people are particularly responsive to the story of 52 in the digital era—when the Internet promises connectivity but can actually deliver us even deeper into isolation.” I think this quote means that there is some type of fascination with this whale that it draws people in and allows them to not only connect emotionally but along the way give the whale a story of its own. The internet was invented for people to connect but then again its the same thing that may makes us feel isolated or want to be isolated. All whales have the ability to make this song-like sound to attract others yet it can’t attract another whale. Humans have the ability to use the internet to connect yet we may still feel like we are unable to connect with anyone.

Music Industry and Hearing loss!

(10 points)

The article How Loud Is Too Loud? is based on the negative effects that sound waves has on our ears. There is a limit in which human ears can hear without becoming damaged or causing future hearing loss. However, most often we tremendously exceed that amount and without knowing it are causing the tissue in our ears to disintegrate and possibly losing our hearing. Going to concerts, parties, or loud music in general takes a toll on the ears. Musicians are at higher risk because they are constantly listening to intense volumes with no ear protection and instead of taking a break from listening to music they have to keep going on tour and having concerts. Once the important cells in the ear that protects us from too much sound breaks, the body can not repair it back. Exposure to excessive loud noises results in tinnitus. Tinnitus is a continuous ringing in the ear that is caused when the brain, the  auditory nerves, and the sound cells in our ears can not communicate.

The write states, “When properly inserted, foam earplugs block out dangerous frequencies…even from cheap earplugs, which are designed to cut out only the dangerous frequencies. ” This refers to the fact that our ears can only handle a certain level of sound, once that sound wave surpasses what the ear can take we can possibly begin to lose hearing. Ear plugs were made to block out the harmful frequencies to protect the inner ear. A person can hear between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Over time the hair cells that are suppose to pick up sound vibrations get damaged, when too many has been broken then hearing loss happens. Sound is also measured by decibels. Sounds that are louder than 85 decibels causes permanent hear loss. Average sounds we listen too may not cause hear loss at that moment but the constant sound of it will cause damage. For example even listening to our iPod’s at maximum volume over time can give us tinnitus. Each time we listen at maximum volume we are breaking our hair cells. Our vocals aren’t loud enough to cause damage, listening to someone speaking and so-forth aren’t dangerous frequencies. (http://www.dangerousdecibels.org/education/information-center/noise-induced-hearing-loss/)

At music venues the music played between 98 decibels and 115 which is greater than 85 decibels; which is the levels a human ears can loss hearing. Going to a concert and being right in the front or close to the speaker can have a bigger effect on you than a person in the back, nonetheless the ears are still being damaged. Music is played loud because it’s a large venue and the sound has to reach all areas and the whole audience needs to be able to hear the music. If music was played quieter at a concert then not everyone would be able to hear it clearly because of the environment. Then everyone would want to be in the front so that they get the best sound. I think people may be mad because the expectation of a music show is that the music is loud so that the whole audience can sing along and enjoy it. But to go while it is playing at the volume level that our ears can handle, may be complicated for the people in the back to enjoy. With the combination of a musician talking, or a DJ screaming, the head singer of a group singing, in a crowd who is screaming loud and jumping up and down, the average sound waves wouldn’t really be successful in that environment.

If I was in the front row of a concert or any music event I would want the sounds to be lower because it does irritate the ear and you leave with a ringing sensation. But if I was in the back row I would want the volumes high so that I can hear every song.