Save our Sounds

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How often do you listen – really listen- to the sounds around you ?

Radio lovers know how important sound is to paint a rich picture and transport the listener to another place. Yet, perhaps less often we think about how sound also creates a sense of time. It has the power to evoke another age, or trigger cherished memories.

The whistle of a kettle, the ticking of a clock, the chime of my first bicycle bell, the revving of a car engine choking into life.

Each brings to life a particular time and place. But how many of these sounds will be forgotten?

And how soon will the sounds that are specific to the here and now be history: the ringtones on our mobile phones; diesel engines, dialing into a 56K modem?

So the BBC World Service is starting an exciting new project – Save Our Sounds  .

We’re asking listeners and users of the website all over the world to send in recordings of sounds you think may one day be endangered. We’re plotting the sounds on our interactive map .

Have a look round. It’s already beginning to build up a fascinating tapestry of sounds.

It’s also interesting to think about the effect sound has on our moods and life-style.  The continual din of contruction, the tinkle of wind chimes in a shady garden, the calls of market traders: each has their own impact. What’s it like living in one of the world’s mega-cites? What sounds grate and pierce your inner core? What sounds give you a sense of belonging? Tell us why you’ve chosen the sounds you have.

Here are tips on recording. Here’s how to submit your sound.

What sounds define your neighbourhood? Or your way of life? Will they be the same for your children or your grandchildren? After the project we’ll be sharing your sounds with the British Library Sound Archive.

Next week Outlook will be featuring sounds that may be danger of disappering from five parts of the world – from the fishwives of Luanda to the chai wallahs pouring tea in Delhi.

Kate Goldberg, World Service online.

8 Responses to “Save our Sounds”

  1. 1 Ann
    June 13, 2009 at 10:50

    The song of a skylark on a summers day…

    Never fails to transport me back to running free on the Scottish hills as a child.

  2. 2 globalcomedy
    June 13, 2009 at 18:08

    Interesting question. What will still be around is kind of like other stuff. How many people still use turntables? Isn’t it weird then that it can be seen as a relic in a museum?

    One answer: get a digital recorder and create your own podcasts, etc. The technology is there waiting to be used.

  3. 4 Julia in Portland Oregon
    June 14, 2009 at 17:19

    One of my favorite sounds is of the Native American drums and stick games being played at the Arlee Pow Wow in Arlee, Montana. My whole life I’ve spent the evenings the week of July 4th drifting off to sleep listening to the drums and the singers. It is like listening to a heartbeat.

    I will be in Arlee over the 4th, as usual. I will attempt to get a recording the way I hear it – the sounds drifting over the .75 mile (~ 1.2km) of fields, sometimes mixed with the sounds of a Great Horned Owl.

    No guarantees, but I might be able to get a dat recording.

  4. 5 Andy
    June 15, 2009 at 13:28

    The sound of silence and nature. Ever more difficult to come by in this overpopulated world. Maybe i’ll get myself a boat at some stage in my life and spend my time in the middle of the ocean.

  5. June 15, 2009 at 15:04

    Salaam. The sound which I adore the most is the singing of nightingales in my garden everyday in the early morning, at around 5 to 6 Am… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  6. November 27, 2009 at 21:06

    Save our sounds, I like the idea that make this program come up. May be we think it is like going back to the past, when there was only radio in all over the world, but there’s nothing wrong to do the things like we did in the past, although I know that the internet-era had come up extensively in a few years ago. But, it hasn’t still reached yet all people in the world as radio did. Save our Sounds is a brilliant program.

  7. December 7, 2009 at 15:10

    What a great idea- for me it’s the sound of a grandfather clock that takes me back- they have a distinctive tick that always reminds me of being a child standing in my nana’s hall.

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