Monday, March 31, 2008

March Compiled

We posted 21 audio files this month.

As a public service, of course, here are all of them strung together. March 2008 in one listen.


And now with a funky beat...


Windows XP Hardware Connecting Dings

Thought I'd give my sound recorder a breather. Here's a sound from my computer, currently running Windows XP Home edition.

This is the default sound it makes when I attach my iPod or a thumb drive to a USB port while the computer is on.

It is two tones, starting on a C4 and ending on a G4.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Kitchen Sink Drain Gurgle

My kitchen sink drain pipe gurgles in musical ways. And it does so incessantly.

After the guy installed my new sink (pictured), he tested it by running water for a minute. After he turned off the water, the thing went into its five minutes of playing bongos. The guy had to ask, "Did it do this before?" Yep, though I don't mind.

In this recording, we find it playing a nice little tune in G minor built around strange rhythms and the notes G3 and A#3.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

TiVo Beep And Bump

Two of the well-known and cutest TiVo sounds--I call them beep and bump--recorded with the good old digital voice recorder held up to the center speaker.

Beep, played when you move up or down in a list, is D#5, while bump, played when you try to do something not allowed, happens to be G#2.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Electric Toothbrush!

An unpleasant visit to the dentist prompted me to once again reach for the electric toothbrush.

Honestly, I can't imagine why I would use a non-electric toothbrush, as it wouldn't naturally produce the simultaneous, mellifluous tones of a C#4 and a F4.

Grocery Store Checkout Sounds

I surreptitiously captured a bit of my checkout experience recently at the local County Market, a regional chain of grocery stores.

Unidentified store music hovers in the background while the sound of my groceries being handled mixes with the beeps of the register.

The beeps are D#5 exactly. The store music is in F.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Post Office Garage Watch Out Beep

I work pretty close to the main Chicago post office. When I walk down the sidewalk to my train, I'll occasionally have to stop because a car, mail truck or semi will be exiting from the post office's big garage.

I'll know to stop because a device of the garage door will start making a steady, loud beep.

It's not the most pleasant C6 I have ever heard, but it does stop me in my tracks.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cell Phone Ring Tone

This is my ring tone. It's called "Basic Ring 3" and is close to an F#, that most vulgar-looking of keys.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Cats' Meows

Vocalizations by my cats...

This is Mason (left in pic), two sets of two meows, asking for food. Both times he raises the pitch on the second meow about 1/2 step. The first set is approximately D#5 and E5. The second is D5 and D#5.

This is Galileo (right), two sets of three meows. This bit of his is pretty musical and is typical of feeding time. There are slight variations in pitch going on, and purring too, but it's close to G#5, F#5, D#5 both times.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Metra Door Dong-Ding

Tim has contributed the lovely strains of the Chicago El doors closing here.

So, I figured I'd record the El's suburban equivalent, a train on the lovely Metra rail.

Unlike the El, the tone starts low and then goes high. The tones go from a C5 to a F5.

Elevator Dings

We have three elevators in the six story building where I work (the elevator lobby pictured is not in my building -- our elevator lobby is festooned with dark red 1970's disco bricks).

I hit the UP button and was surprised when two elevators simultaneously stopped on my floor. The tones of the two elevators were slightly different. One appeared to be a G5, while the other seemed closer to a F#5.

I again tried taking an elevator later in the day and got the F#5 elevator.

A while ago I had actually noticed that the elevator dings were slightly different, on the rare occasions when they would simultaneously ding. By having the tones slightly off from each other, a person will know that more than one elevator is arriving at a given floor. Pretty cool, I think.

I will attempt to pin down the tone of the third elevator in the near future.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Strange Horn Of An Oncoming Metra Commuter Train

So, I finally got off my sick bed this weekend to purchase a handheld digital voice recorder. I recorded several neat sounds today, the first of which I'll share with you.

This morning I decided to try to capture the sound of the horn of an oncoming Metra train. My train station in the morning usually has a couple trains that go by before my train leaves for downtown, so I knew I would have a good chance. As a fast-moving train goes by its horn is usually honked a few times as it passes the station.

So, I turned my new recorder on and was surprised at the sound of the horn coming from the Metra train -- it wasn't the horn I was used to; it was quite different, much more musical than the customary Metra train horn (don't worry, I'll attempt to capture the more familiar Metra train horn in the near future).

It's hard to pin down the note due to the Doppler effect, but I'd say it starts out as an E4 and slowly slides down to something halfway between an E♭4 and an E4.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Microwave Hum And Beep

The beeps of my microwave are A#5, unlike the B5 beeps of Splotchy's oven panel. But that's not all. The hum it makes when it's running is also an A#, a low A#2.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Starting The Car

This blog has me paying attention to the notes all kinds of things make. The "fasten your seat belt" dings when I start my car are E5, for instance.


My didgerdioo, recorded in the studio (i.e. my basement). It's a very low B1!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Metal Fence Finger Pings

When I walk by fences made of vertical metal bars, I almost always drag my index finger along them to see what interesting tones they might make. This one here (not pictured) produced, of all things, Middle C#.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Street Cleaners In C

On July 3rd, 2006 I attended Taste of Chicago. It was the evening of the big fireworks display, and the place was a mad house. Thousands of people had jammed Grant Park, creating a solid block of bodies. No one could move. As usual, Lake Shore Drive was closed off the length of the festival, and the crowd swarmed it for the fireworks. After the display (which was amazing) a fleet of street cleaners, one for each lane, inched it's way along LSD to disperse the crowd, horns blaring. I just happened to have my trusty digital voice recorder handy. Turns out those street cleaners were blasting Middle C!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Oven Beep

The buttons on my oven's control panel make an insistent beep -- if you guessed the note of the beeps was a B5, you guessed right!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hair Clippers Buzzing

I was trimming my beard today when I wondered, "What note are these clippers playing?" Turns out it's spot on A#2.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Chicago 'L' Ding-Dong

This is a recording I made of the "DING-DONG" and "doors closing" of the Chicago 'L' near the Berwyn stop on the Red Line. The notes of the ding-dong make a 4 and 1 on the Western scale, just slightly sharp of F#4 and C#4. Recorded 6/20/2006 using my trusty digital voice recorder.

A Quick Note About Notes

For musical notation, we'll be using this keyboard numbering system:
Click for larger pic

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Now Hear This

Okay, it's another blog. It's a magical blog, a blog filled with whipped cream and topped with chocolate sprinkles.

It's an audio blog.

Here is the prime directive of A Blog Of Notes.

Contributors to this blog will periodically upload sound samples that consist of a note or handful of notes. Yep, that's the plan.

In each post, they'll provide the details of what produced the sound, and the notes employed by the sound. My intention is to indicate where the sound resides on the scale of traditional Western music -- we'll see how that goes, I guess. I'm probably going to need to learn more about music and frequency theory as this project goes on.

In some cases where we'll be including notes of musical instruments, the tone will be easy to convey (an F# on a guitar, for example).

However, one little twist where I think this blog can get interesting will be recording sounds in the environment around us that have tonal properties that convey a particular note or notes.

For example, what is that one note I'm hearing when I tap out a phone number on the buttons of my cellphone? What notes are used in the "DING-DONG" of my commuter train when the doors are closing? What note is being used by that person's car horn that's telling me to get the hell out of the way?

We hope to find out. And we hope you'll join us.


All original audio recordings on this website are licensed under Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0.
Audio recordings of copyrighted material do not carry this license, as the original authors of the sound retain their copyright.
When using original audio recordings for your own use, please cite the contributor of the sound recording, as well as the URL of this website.