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.
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.