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.

Hirst Crescent HA9 April 2:00

Grid square: Sudbury, Perivale

Recording date: 12 April 2015

Time of day: 2.15pm

Location: North-east corner of Hirst Crescent, north-west London.

Description: Distant traffic, faint voices growing louder, leaves skitter along the ground, a car door slams, footsteps and noise of a wheeled suitcase passing close by, faint clatter of cutlery from a nearby flat.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder. Some wind noise on recording. Roll off at 100Hz.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Pembroke Road HA9 April 2:00

Grid square: Sudbury, Perivale

Recording date: 12 April 2015

Time of day: 2.10pm

Location: North end of Pembroke Road, north-west London.

Description: Hiss of a pressure washer which soon cuts out then resumes later, loud sound of cars passing slowly close by onto the garage forecourt, loud noise of passing motorbike, music from a car, a distant train.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder. Some wind noise on recording. Roll off at 100Hz.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Lambert Walk HA9 April 2:00

Grid square: Sudbury, Perivale

Recording date: 12 April 2015

Time of day: 2pm

Location: Lambert Walk off Clarendon Gardens, north-west London.

Description: A train passes in the distance, traffic, intermittent birdsong, beat of music playing somewhere nearby, sounds of desultory activity on the estate, the wind stirs foliage.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder. Some wind noise on recording. Roll off at 100Hz.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

The Dene HA9 April 2:00

Grid square: Sudbury, Perivale

Recording date: 12 April 2015

Time of day: 1.45pm

Location: The Dene at junction with Queenscourt, north-west London.

Description: Distant traffic, voices of a mother and her children passing by on opposite side of the road, slamming of car doors, birdsong, the wind stirs foliage.

Technical guff: Headworn stereo. 2 x Shure WL-183 mics and Olympus LS-14 recorder. Some wind noise on mic, roll-off at 100Hz.

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

King Edward Park VII HA9 April 2:00

Grid square: Sudbyry, Perivale

Recording date: 12 April 2015

Time of day: 1.30om

Location: South-east corner of King Edward VII Park, north-west London.

Description: Constant traffic in distance, shouts of men playing football in the park, other indistinct voices, faint airplane drone.

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

Recorded by: IM Rawes

Additional notes: None.

Grand Union Western Avenue 1:00

Grid square: Sudbury, Perivale

Recording date: 13 August 2011

Time of day: 3.10pm

Location: Beneath the Western Avenue bridge, Perivale, northwest London.

Description: Loud noise of a barge's engine as it passes by, cooing and flapping of pigeons roosting beneath the road bridge.

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 1647 8447 1:00

Grid square: Sudbury, Perivale

Recording date: 17 February 2009

Time of day: Noon

Location: Just south of the club house, Horsendenhill golf course.

Description: Rumble of distant traffic with sirens, bird song, occasional thwack of golf clubs.

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.