This project will connect people of all ages and backgrounds with their local wildlife through the medium of sound.
In a noisy world, full of trains, buses, podcasts, and chatter, it can be hard to appreciate the sounds of a dawn chorus, or frogs in a pond, or even something as simple as a robin's song. So how can we really 'listen' to the sound of the Chilterns? This project allows anyone with a smartphone or voice recording device to get out in nature and record what they hear (even if they are unsure of what bird song, for example, it is that they are listening to).
Why is the project important?
We take sound for granted, and just as we tend to see the things we want to see, we consciously hear the things we choose to hear, such as conversation, or the entertaining and emotionally engaging tones of music. We rarely take notice of the background soundtrack of our lives. If we take note of our acoustic bearings, these sounds can give a huge insight into the history of people and their places and help us to acoustically navigate our present world. This sound-based project therefore provides the opportunity for exploration and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Chilterns in a very different way but using an almost universally accessible media and technologies. If you are interested in further reading on the subject of soundscapes, we recommend 'Voices of the Wild' by Bernie Krause as a good place to start.
What does the project aim to achieve?
Residents, visitors, and stakeholders will mass curate a sonic map of the Chilterns.
These recordings might take place as part of a school program, a volunteer-led outing into the Chilterns, or on an ad-hoc basis by interested residents of all ages from the Central Chilterns area. Urban 16-20-year-olds are especially encouraged to get involved, as volunteer facilitators will help these students learn new skills such as sound recording, mixing, and performance. These creative responses will then be performed or installed at a variety of Chiltern locations.
How can you get involved?
1. Listen to our example sound recordings on the right-hand side, to give you an idea of what you might record
2. Read our Sound Recording Instructions document, which includes listening exercises as well to help you get the most out of your recording sessions
3. Start recording wildlife sounds in your garden, local park, schoolyard, or further afield
4. Upload your recordings via the form below, to help us start building our online archive of Chilterns sounds which will later be added to a sonic map (for an example, see this project) (Uploading your recordings also gives you the chance to have your recording played on Wycombe Sound!)
5. Get in touch with us if you are a school, local community group, or organization who is interested in partnering with us
Listen to our example sound recordings here: