Monday, 22 June 2015

Help record the 'Sounds of our Shores' this summer

I’m really very excited about the new 'Sounds of our Shores' project that launches today. Find out what we are up to and how you can get involved by clicking on this audio clip or by reading the blog below:

Children recording coastal sounds at Birling Gap, East Sussex
As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations for the Neptune Coastline Campaign National Trust are working with National Trust for Scotland and the British Sound Library to create the first ever coastal sound map; an archive of new and old coastal sounds from across the UK. We can’t do this alone, we need your help. 

Over the next three months we are asking you go out to your local coast or a new stretch of coast and to discover and record the sounds that you hear there. You can then upload them to the 'Sounds of our Shores' audio boom channel.

You don’t need any fancy equipment to do this, by all means if you have sound recording equipment do use it, but equally if you've got a smart phone or a camera that records video and sound you can use those too. There are some great tips on our website on how to get the best out of your recordings and on how to upload them to the sound map via the 
 'Sounds of our Shores' audio boom channel.

We want to know what sounds are important to you and why they are so special.

You might not consider some of your everyday sounds to be special, but in 10 or 20 years some of those sounds may change or disappear. Let me give you an example: When I first visited the Lizard, over 10 years ago, the foghorn was a fantastic deep low rumbling sound, a sound that you could feel through the base of your feet and it travelled right up through your body. (Old Foghorn recorded by Edwin Carter): 

Today the frequency of the foghorn is almost twice as high, apparently the higher pitch travels better and further making it easier for passing ships to hear it.

listen to ‘Current Lizard Lighthouse foghorn’ on audioBoom. The new fog horn certainly goes through you, but it's not the same as the old foghorn. Had the old foghorn not been recorded that sound would have been lost and I would miss it. Wouldn’t you?

Not only is the ‘Sounds of our Shores’ a chance to make a collection of important sounds, it is an opportunity to recognise and appreciate what sounds are important to us and why they are so special. 

Listening back will make you smile
Similar to a memorable song, sound has a wonderful way of bringing us back to a moment in time, a place or emotional space. Sound touches us in a way that we can’t feel unless we really listen. Sound is so important in our lives, yet we take little time to appreciate it, which is I’m so excited about this project: not only do I get a chance to share the sounds that I hear and think are special but I also get to hear what sounds you hear, and what sounds you think are special.

Sometimes it's difficult to listen, quite often when I first sit down I’m confronted with all the thoughts of what I've got to do tomorrow or the next day. Once these thoughts drift away, suddenly I start to hear things I couldn't hear before. I notice the bird singing in the background and the man walking along the beach with his dog. I become more aware of what is going on around me and I feel better connected to the place I’m sitting in.

Using a smart phone to record at Wembury, Devon.

As well as contributing to a significant sound mapping project and sound archive, the‘Sounds of our Shores’ is also a perfect way of getting out and about to new places along the coast or exploring your local patch in a new way. There’s fun for all the family with this project, everyone can do it, so go on get out there, I want to hear what you hear!

What could you record

We are asking for sounds to be recorded along the UK coast, this can include waves crashing or rippling, footsteps in the sand, people laughing and playing on the beach, seagulls, choughs and other coastal birds, shanty singers, boat engines, winches, surfers, the sound of a busy café absolutely anything that you can hear on the coast. Here are a few of my favourite coastal sounds:

Choughs - no longer a common sound in Cornwall, but making a come back - the sound of a chough never fails to impress.

Ravens - I love the vocal sounds that adult ravens make they range of sounds they make are some of my true favourites. The sound of young ravens is not at all pleasant in terms of tone, but emotionally I absolutely love the sound. It reminds me of summer and of success as these new birds meet the world on the wing for the first time.

Warblers - coming to us from Africa in the spring the male sedge warbler sings his heart day and night until he finds a mate. Another favourite Lizard sound for me.

Fishing boat engine - on a calm sea at dawn I can't think of any better sound than the sound of a fishing boat engine chugging away. No doubt commercial fishing is a very tough job, but it paints a very romantic scene from the shore.

- Cat

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