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Occasional posts on subjects including field recording, London history and literature, other websites worth looking at, articles in the press, and news of sound-related events.

09 September 2012

London voices: outline of a new sound map

HERE’S A MOCK-UP of a forthcoming sound map. The idea is to record people’s voices in public, and then try to create a pattern of samples which represents the city’s overall demographic profile. This means a balanced sex ratio and some attempt at least to capture class and ethnic variations of accent and, indeed, language.

All the quotemark icons are grey to begin with. An icon will turn black when the pointer hovers over it, and when you click the icon an audio player will load into the blue speech-bubble shape. Visited icons will turn red, orange, yellow and blue: a visual reward to encourage site visitors to listen to more recordings on the map (I hope). The shades and colours have no meaning beyond suggesting variety.

London voices sound map


Icon size roughly matches differences in local population density – but you’ll have guessed that already. Yes, I know Ilford’s not in south-west London!

Most sound maps aren’t pre-planned in detail and they work like unstructured lists to which more items are added as time goes by. A map of London voices starts the other way round when the goal is to depict demographic patterns through sound.

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