Rediscovering sound as theatre of the mind

Ok so I’ve been fascinated with the power of sound for a while now and last year I toyed with the idea of doing sound portraits and sound maps but only dabbled a little here and there.  Well over the weekend I started reading Joel Beckerman and Tyler Gray‘s new book The Sonic Boom: How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel, and Buy and have been inspired anew to further explore sound as a medium, and not just music, but all types of sounds, the sounds that we hear in our everyday world.

“The response to sound is central to the human psyche. It’s essential to our humanity and day-to-day experiences.  It frames every moment of every day. It shapes our moods, our preferences, and our personal and collective histories, and it triggers memories and powerful emotional reactions and connections.  And it does this so invisibly.” – Joel Beckerman

The last sentence really intrigues me – how sound does all of the above in such an invisible way, straight to the subconscious mind, bypassing the scrutiny of the critical mind.  Our brain fits all the sounds we hear into patterns and from those patterns we get a multisensory reaction – a theatre of the mind!

“Sound can instantly change people’s moods or perceptions and bring distinct images to their minds. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the right sound at the right moment is worth a thousand pictures.” – Joel Beckerman

I find that exciting.

Like everything I do, I like to jump right in there and get going without a too much preamble, so Sunday I brought my trusty little Olympus LS-5 recorder with me to do some sound mapping.

I met up with my bro – Michael Tunnel – to watch the Dallas Cowboys take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Wembley Stadium.  I know London doesn’t immediately strike you as a likely place to go watch an American Football game live, but the past several years the NFL have been playing games over here and it’s set to grow in the future with talks of the Jaguars actually having London as it’s home base (at least part-time).




These 2 clips are probably the best of the lot are recorded.  One is a sound map of the Green Man Pub and the other a small sample of the game, where I had these two, mad for football and the Dallass Cowboys in particular, American ladies sitting behind me.  They were good fun.

NOTE:  I find it best to listen to sound maps with headphones on. It creates a more submerses you into the environment and helps you create that theatre of the mind experience.

1. Pre-Game Gathering at The Green Man Pub, Wembley

2. Two Mad American Women Showing Their Love For The Dallas Cowboys

Oh yes, my Zoom H5 Handy Recorder arrived yesterday.  I’ll officially unveil it in a later post.

Peace, Out…