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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.

Elm Avenue HA4 June 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 4 June 2015

Time of day: 1.45pm

Location: Elm Avenue, 150 yards west of junction with Field End Lane, north-west London.

Description: Traffic passing close by, distant traffic on Field End Lane, faint birdsong, a cyclist passes, a brief clattering sound in the mid-distance, light airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Myrtle Avenue HA4 June 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 4 June 2015

Time of day: 1.50pm

Location: Halfway along Myrtle Avenue, north-west London.

Description: Airplane drone, birdsong, distant traffic, sounds of building work in the street including banging and sawing, occasional passing cars, a distant siren.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Linden Avenue HA4 June 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 4 June 2015

Time of day: 2.05pm

Location: Linden Avenue near the path leading to the railway footbridge, north-west London.

Description: Noise of a hedge strimmer in mid-distance, occasional nearby traffic, a distant emergency services siren, footsteps of a passerby, a ringtone from inside a nearby house, a passing tube train.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Southbourne Gardens HA4 June 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 4 June 2015

Time of day: 2.30pm

Location: Short cul-de-sac running north from Southbourne Gardens, north-west London.

Description: Distant traffic, occasional vehicles passing along Southbourne Gardens, a very faint beeping from a vehicle reversing, distant hammering, a dog barks, faint airplane drone heard briefly, a car door shuts.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Elliott Avenue HA4 June 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 4 June 2015

Time of day: 2.40pm

Location: Elliott Avenue by junction with Forbes Way, north-west London.

Description: Sound of several vehicles passing close by in succession, distant traffic, faint birdsong and chatter of a magpie, slamming of a van's doors, two men's voices.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Pine Gardens HA4 June 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 4 June 2015

Time of day: 2.50pm

Location: East side of Pine Gardens, north-west London.

Description: Sounds of building work from a nearby house, indistinct voices, distant traffic, birdsong, jet and light airplane drone, hammering.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Cavendish recreation ground June 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 4 June 2015

Time of day: 3pm

Location: South-west corner of Cavendish recreation ground, north-west London.

Description: Birdsong, faint voice of a child and its mother, faint distant traffic with siren heard intermittently, a metallic scraping noise in the distance, airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Field End Road HA4 June 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 4 June 2015

Time of day: 3.20pm

Location: Field End Road immediately south of the railway line at Eastcote station, north-west London.

Description: Loud traffic passing along Field End Road, a hammering noise heard briefly, indistinct voice of a man, faint voices of women passing by, the chink of a pedestrian's key chain.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Woodlands Avenue HA4 June 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 4 June 2015

Time of day: 3.30pm

Location: East end of Woodlands Avenue, north-west London.

Description: Noise of road-mending vehicles and machinery, a regular tapping sound in mid-distance, voices of workmen, a car horn sounds briefly

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Hillcroft Crescent HA4 June 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 4 June 2015

Time of day: 4.15pm

Location: North end of Hillcroft Crescent, north-west London.

Description: Birdsong, distant traffic, faint sound of a vacuum cleaner from a nearby house, faint indistinct voices, airplane drone, sound of some object being shifted by hand in the street, the wind stirs foliage.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Yeading Brook open space June 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 4 June 2015

Time of day: 4.45pm

Location: Parkland on south side of the Yeading Brook, north of Tollcross Road, north-west London.

Description: Distant traffic, shouts of children, birdsong, an occasionally strong breeze stirs foliage, faint airplane drone.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: Some wind noise on recording.

Outside Eastcote tube station July 2:00

Grid square: Pinners, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 13 July 2013

Time of day: 3.15pm

Location: Field End Road, Eastcote, north-west London.

Description: Loud traffic passing along Field End Road, voices and footsteps of people walking in and out of the station, beep of the ticket barriers, a station announcement over a tannoy.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Morford Way HA4 July 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 13 July 2013

Time of day: 3.40pm

Location: Eastcote, north-west London.

Description: Distant traffic and aircraft drone, a magpie chatters somewhere in the street, two cars pass close by, a car door slams, faint voices, the wind stirs foliage.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Oak Grove HA4 July 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 13 July 2013

Time of day: 3.55pm

Location: Near junction with Southbourne Gardens, Eastcote, north-west London.

Description: Traffic, distant aircraft drone, birdsong, faint indistinct music, the wind stirs foliage.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Cavendish Recreation Ground July 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 13 July 2013

Time of day: 4.05pm

Location: Eastcote, north-west London.

Description: Voices of cricketers during a match, aircraft drone, birdsong.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: Some wind noise present.

Bessingby Field bowling green July 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 13 July 2013

Time of day: 4.15pm

Location: Bessinbgy Field, Eastcote, north-west London.

Description: Voices of bowls players, clack of bowls hitting each other or the jack, aircraft drone, the wind stirs foliage, birdsong.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Queens Walk HA4 July 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 13 July 2013

Time of day: 4.25pm

Location: Queens Walk where it passes over the Yeading Brook, South Ruislip, north-west London.

Description: Traffic passing close by on Queens Road, a group of teenagers talk as they hang around on the other side of the road, trickling of the Yeading Brook.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Cranmer Close HA4 July 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 13 July 2013

Time of day: 4.45pm

Location: Eastcote, Hillingdon, north-west London.

Description: A quiet residential street with faint sounds from nearby houses, distant traffic rumble, a resident begins sawing logs outside his garage.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Windermere Avenue HA4 July 2:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 13 July 2013

Time of day: 5pm

Location: Eastcote, Hillingdon, north-west London.

Description: Voices of pedestrians, faint chime of an ice cream van, occasional traffic, calls of fledgling pigeons nearby, a TV or radio plays in a nearby house, a train passes.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Sony PCM-M10 recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: Some wind noise present.

Queens Head Pinner 1:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 15 November 2009

Time of day: Around 1pm

Location: The Queens Head pub, High Street, Pinner, north-west London.

Description: The pub is busy on a Sunday lunchtime: customers' voices and noises from the open door of the pub's kitchen.

Technical guff: Stereo. Sonic Studios DSM-6S/EH mics and PA-3SX preamp, Edirol R09-HR digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

River Pinn 1:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 15 November 2009

Time of day: 3.15pm

Location: By the River Pinn as it runs through a field just north of Nower Hill.

Description: Trickling sounds from the River Pinn, itself no more than a shallow, gravel-bottomed stream about six feet wide. Faint birdsong, the wind rustling foliage, distant traffic noise from the A404.

Technical guff: Stereo. Audio Technica BP4029 mid/side mic and Fostex FR-2LE digital recorder.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

TQ 1250 8826 1:00

Grid square: Pinner, Rayners Lane

Recording date: 16 February 2009

Time of day: 10.30am

Location: OS reference TQ 1250 8826. Junction of Dewsbury Close and Church Avenue.

Description: A quiet suburban street. A crow chatters on top of a lamp-post, fainter song from other birds. Two cars drive past in quick succession.

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.