The lecture part of our day was very brief. Liam gave us a few links to read (which I’ll look at tomorrow) and then we discussed the exhibition that we have booked for April. Following that, Liam had an idea of how to spend the afternoon testing the way we think about sound, and how we hear/listen to it…



Liam’s suggestion was to take a handful of balloons and some pins, walk around the city centre for a while, and make some noises to see how different environments affect the resultant sound. Essentially we were walking around popping balloons and dropping pins in various places. I teamed up with Emmaalouise and Ranieri, so we grabbed some equipment, and Emma suggested we head out towards the Roman Catholic cathedral on Earlham Road. We weren’t required to record any of the sounds we listened to today, but I hired a Tascam and shotgun mic anyway, as I thought the sounds might be useful. Here’s a video of us playing under an small walkway:

It was interesting to spend an hour or so really focusing on how space and shape can affect something as simple as a pin drop or balloon pop. In small places like blocked off alley ways the balloon gave off a very quick, flat ‘pop’, which sounded almost dead, yet in the multistory car park the initial ‘pop’ was much longer, and the echoes and reverb bounced the noise back and forth for almost ten seconds. Likewise, when dropping the pin, you’d think something so noticeably quiet would get lost amongst the noise of a busy city centre, but almost every time, without fail, we could hear the sound just by concentrating. It helped when we actually watched the pin being dropped, which raises an interesting point about how our sense are linked, but just by focusing our minds, we could drown out almost all extraneous sounds. This could be important when adding SFX to a film in post, as we would need to consider not just what sound we add, but also how we add it, to make sure we get the exact right effect that we need. I might have to look into films which are famous for for their sound and/or special effects. 

Here are some snaps of us around town:

I think this experience has strengthened my desire to create a city-soundscape piece which focuses on noise pollution. It may change it slightly because I might now play with visuals a bit more to see if seeing the source of a noise makes it easier to hear, or if the source of a sound is hidden, does it affect what is heard? But either way, it’s interesting to actually consider just how noisy the city can be at different times of day.


  • We’ve considered ways in which an area or space might affect a sound in different ways.
  • We’ve considered the difference between ‘hearing’ something and ‘listening’ for something.
  • We’ve considered how our senses might be linked to help compensate one another.
  • We’ve considered how much noise our brain filters out and ignores almost everyday.