Reading Response #4

For me, one of the most interesting qualities of sound is how our brains choose to filter out or amplify certain sounds based on our socialization and context. During the day when there’s more ambient noise it’s much easier for me to ignore it. By contrast, even the tiniest sound feels really loud late at night when things are quieter. The role of socialization is briefly discussed in “Unsettling the World Soundscape Project”, as we are accustomed to listening for different things based on cultural context. This reveals how sound can be used for nation building as it was for the “Soundscapes of Canada” series.

The binary between silence and sound is more complex than it appears. In doing the sound exercises this week I found that true silence is hard to find. The sounds of our own body processes such as breathing or scratching can become magnified in seemingly silent places. Ironically, silence can speak volumes, but only for people who have heard it before and can recognize its silhouette. For everyone else silences function as they were intended and they go unnoticed, erasing whatever has been left out. I also find the connotations between human-made sounds and natural noises to be interesting. Natural noises are seen as calming and relaxing, whereas mechanical noises or the sounds of other people talking can be perceived as a source of annoyance. I’m not sure why this is but I think the opposite can also be true.

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