THIS PAGE HAS A TEXT-ONLY VERSION FOR BLIND USERS
SHARE THIS PAGE

General sound map

Recordings of background atmospheres and incidental noises from all over London. Some form part of a sound grid series recorded at evenly-spaced points across the city, each marking the centre of a square on the map below.

1 3 5
2 4 3 3 11
1 1 1 1 6 5 7 16 21 3 18 1 1
2 8 22 11 3 5 5 17 5 4 2 1 4 1  
3 11 4 7 9 6 25 39 21 38 8 1 5    
1 3 5 7 5 48 42 56 38 11 8 3 2
1 1 2 7 6 15 8 40 15 5 1 1 4
1 1 41 2 8 4 1 9 7 1 1
3 4 3 7 1 3 5 2  
6 1 20 6 1 3 1 1
1 1 2 1 1
1 1

Above: graphic based on a daytime satellite image courtesy of the Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. Each red grid square is 2.5 miles or 4 kilometers across.

Ravensbourne Norman Park 1:00

Grid square: Bromley, Widmore

Recording date: 26 February 2012

Time of day: 12.30pm

Location: Norman Park recreation ground, south Bromley.

Description: Distant rumble of airplanes, faint trickling of the Ravensbourne, a dog barks, birdsong, a man laughs.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA 2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp, Sony PCM M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Ravensbourne Streamside Close 1:00

Grid square: Bromley, Widmore

Recording date: 26 February 2012

Time of day: 11.50am

Location: Streamside Close off Sandford Road, south Bromley.

Description: A residential cul-de-sac with birdsong, distant traffic and siren, children's and adults' voices heard faintly.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA 2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp and Sony PCM M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Ravensbourne Shortlands 1:00

Grid square: Bromley, Widmore

Recording date: 24 July 2011

Time of day: 7.50pm

Location: Queensmead recreation ground, Shortlands, Bromley.

Description: Trickling of the Ravensbourne, sounds of footballs being kicked, distant voices and laughter, faint birdsong, background traffic.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA 2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp, Sony PCM M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Ravensbourne Beckenham Palace Park 1:00

Grid square: Bromley, Widmore

Recording date: 24 July 2011

Time of day: 7.15pm

Location: Near the Midland Bank sports ground, Beckenham Palace Park.

Description: Faint sound of the Ravensbourne, loud contact calls from ring-necked parakeets, other birdsong, distant traffic.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x DPA 2006C mics, Sound Devices MixPre-D preamp, Sony PCM M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

TQ 4023 6930 1:00

Grid square: Bromley, Widmore

Recording date: 20 February

Time of day: 1.15pm

Location: TQ 4023 6927. Outside Primark on Market Square off Bromley High Street.

Description: Lunchtime in a busy pedestrianised street. Hubbub of shoppers' voices and footsteps, girls shouting and laughing, and a street trader's voice in the distance.

Technical guff: Head-worn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics. Olympus LS-10 digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

About general sound map recordings

The majority of recordings on the general sound map are simply of curious or distinctive sounds heard around London. Some also appear elsewhere as part of the 12 Tones of London statistical recording project, and here are subsumed into their appropriate grid squares.

These kinds of recordings always have descriptive file names which don't require any further explanation. But just over a hundred others have ones consisting only of the letters 'TQ' followed by eight digits. These are the Ordnance Survey co-ordinates marking the exact centre of each of the sound map's 112 grid squares, and so these file names tell you with some precision where the recordings were made. Reaching each point was done with the help of a GPS receiver and a willingness to scramble over fences and run onto golf courses. The contents of those recordings are summarised in the graphic below:

The key on the left-hand side shows the most common sound categories encountered. The louder a particular sound type encountered at the centre of a grid square, the darker its icon. More than one icon of the same kind means that sound takes up more of the recording's length. Despite the wide spacing of the recording points and the brief duration of the sound files, they seem to do a reasonable job of plotting in outline the common or persistent sound types heard around London during the daytime.