While this may sound (heh heh) like cheating, I don’t think it is. For me, I find that familiar spaces can be more difficult to actively listen in, simply because of that familiarity. But there’s still so much to hear! I did some listening exercises in the apartment last semester for a class, but this time offered new sounds. (Also, I’m VERY impressed with myself that I didn’t fall asleep while on the couch, listening with my eyes closed.) Listening in a space where you can’t see everything that’s making sound also allows for reduced listening, a mode of listening that focuses on the traits of sound, rather than the sound source - for example, describing a sound as “rumbling” or "low" rather than “car engine.”
Fortunately(?) our upstairs neighbors are quite active in the sound department. And today was a real treat. Why?
At first, I was annoyed when the vacuum upstairs started. But it turns out that sitting under a floor being vacuumed is kind of amazing! As the machine changed direction, its pitch changed too, so it almost sounded like the vacuum was talking, Charlie-Brown-adult-speaker style. And the different floor types (I’m guessing carpet to laminate/linoleum) made a huge difference in timbre, and in volume. There were even overtones!
Nail clicks from the upstairs dog, which at times sound remarkably like…
Our clock ticking, which sometimes got muffled by…
My own heartbeat? This was strange to me. But a great reminder that it’s equally important to listen inwardly as outwardly.
Water running/trickling through the pipes from upstairs.
Matt’s “hearty” laugh during a phone conversation in the other room (the last time he did that laugh was while watching this video).
It turns out that the “white noise” of the sprinkler outside and our upstairs neighbors’ washing machine, along with the clock ticking, were the easiest sounds to tune out. Whoops. Aaaaaand I forgot to record the super cool vacuum. Double whoops. Hopefully I'll remember a short recording for the next post!
So try listening in your own room/office/space, and see what new things make themselves known :)
She also tends to not listen when told to get off the couch.
2:35 – 3:00pm
Until next time!