Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Digital Camera Sounds

My old digital camera makes a creaky D4 noise when the lenses open and retract, and it plays what's just flat of a B7 for its beeps, a very high note indeed.

Digital Camera


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

June & July 2008 Compiled

We posted 16 sounds these past two months. I figured it was time for some compilations, so I whipped up the typical formats:

"Linear", a quick chronological run through all the sounds set to a beat.


"Layers", i.e. all sounds at once. About a minute and a quarter long.


"Mix", whereby I hone in on a few sounds and spin that off into something. 1 min, 39 sec.


Til next time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Aerial Truck Platform Backing Up Beep

For a week or so an aerial truck platform thing lumbered like an hydraulic dinosaur around the building where I work. The property owners were either cleaning or painting or treating the stone at the top of the chimneys and stuff. It seemed like important work--important enough to use a SkyLift, exactly as in this image I have stolen off Flickr.

Anyway, at one point the beast was inching its way down the alley outside my office window, all the while sending out its mating call: an E7 beep. And I captured a little of it. At the very end of the recording there is a cool sound of engine noise as well, something very brief but Death Star-ish.

Aerial Truck Platform Backing Up Beep


photo by CovLtwt, used fair 'n' square

Monday, July 14, 2008

Microcassette Transcriber Sounds

Presenting the M-2000. And hey, that's no microcassette, that's a Transformer!

Listen to these euphonious sounds from yesteryear of an old piece of analog electronics.

Here's rewinding a tape. I hear simultaneous A3 and A#3.


Now here's fast-forward. I hear A#3 and D#4.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

DVD Burner Fan

A small fan. In the white noise there's a faint whine sharp of a G5.

DVD Burner Fan


Monday, July 7, 2008

Unidentified Spooky Sound

One night a few years back I was in my bedroom and heard a spooky sound coming from outside in the distance. I sought my microcassette-corder, opened the window, and captured a couple minutes of it on tape. I never figured out what it was. Motorcycles on the highway, racecars at the fairgrounds, an extraterrestrial spacecraft dropping a monolith for some apes? I hear G3, G#3, C#4, and D4.

Unidentified Spooky Sound


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Answering Machine W/ Mysterious Message

Someone left a brief message on my home answering machine tonight. It appeared to be a wrong number as the caller says nothing and you can hear a mysterious siren in the background. Wonder where in the city it came from? And if it was them being chased. I love this kind of stuff. Thanks for the call, anonymous person! The beep is a B5.

Answering Machine W/ Mysterious Message


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Garbage Truck Compressing

I had my sound recorder handy at last week's garbage pickup, and recorded the dulcet tones of a garbage truck working its compressing magic.

I hear both an A4 and an A♯4.

Garbage Truck


Monday, June 23, 2008

Gas Generator

We had a pretty short but nasty storm last week, which resulted in us losing power for close to twenty-four hours.

A neighbor (well, technically a neighbor three doors down from us) had a gas generator running during the outage, and was nice enough to let us hook up our freezer to it via a series of extension cords, in order to keep our food from spoiling.

The generator is growling an A3.

Gas Generator


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Robin Chirp W/ Angry Squirrel

I was in my bedroom when I heard something that kinda sounded like a beeping. I went outside and realized it was a bird chirp. Seeking out the sound, I saw that it was coming from a robin in our neighbor's tree. There was a feisty squirrel making a racket in the same tree. I am not sure if the squirrel's chattering indicated that he was angry, but for some reason I like to think so.

The chirp seems to be pretty close to a B♭4, with an occasional dip to an A4.

Robin Chirp


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Weed Trimmer

Captured out my living room window, across the street. Guy was putting the finishing touches on a lawn with an old weed trimmer. It wavers in pitch around an A3.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Pan Clang

Since dish washing is among my regular duties, clanging a pan of water against the sink is one of my favorite sounds. Here I clang an F4.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Little Wedding Bell

I attended a delightful wedding last weekend in Madison, WI. On the reception tables were little bells to ring during happy couple kisses or just if you felt like it. Well of course I kept mine to turn it into a post here. It's spot-on an F5!


Monday, June 9, 2008

National Weather Service Alert

I caught a strange weather alert on the radio from the National Weather Service in nearby Lincoln, Illinois the other night. They'd been broadcasting a few of these ones with clipped announcements. I never found out why. It has a comedic effect, though, because the tones are such dramatic attention-grabbers and then the announcement just goes kaput.

And those tones are: Middle C (the short opening and closing tones) and a long note middle-way between G#5 and A5 (played before the announcement--probably some thousands of Hertz).


I wonder, are these tones nationally standardized across weather stations, or do your radio weather alerts sound different than mine? Same computerized voice?

I wasn't sure what picture to post this time, so I went with what I thought was cool: shots of doppler radar stations. Enjoy.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Leaf Blowers

Two guys were using leaf blowers to blow grass clippings off the pavement of the funeral home across the street from where I work. The tones waver in pitch around an A3. Some might call it noise pollution. I call it a duo of groundskeeping drones. In stereo...


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Flagpole Clanging

On an extremely windy day, as I was walking home from the train, I recorded the noisy clang of a couple side-by-side flagpoles.

It sounds to my half-assed ear to be around a D4.

Flagpole Clanging


Monday, June 2, 2008

Toy Bee, Plus Bee And Elephant Mix

This toy bee makes an awesome vibrating noise similar to the toy elephant I posted back in April.


Toy elephant's central note was close to an F#2 whereas this is more of a C#2, a fourth lower. Mix them together with a dance beat a little bit and... I call it "Be And Elephant Are Friends". It's just a short, simple ditty.


Saturday, May 31, 2008

May 2008 Compiled

We posted 16 noises this month. So what could it sound like, put all together?

This is the Linear compile, all the sounds posted this month in chronological order to a beat. This month I twisted it: the second half is the sounds played in reverse chronological order IN REVERSE. You'll see--er, hear.


Now here is the Mix: selected sounds from this month made into something song-like. Helicopter, car, and train are key. Are you ready to rave?


Finally, here are the sounds Wall At Once. I think the aggregate noise of this past month is rather pretty, with major sevenths resonating. Ghost Train holds it all together.


I really wanted to hear Wall At Once with a lot of delay on it, so ta da.


See you next month!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Drive-Up ATM, Plus "Nucular" Beat

The musical sounds of money being dispensed! My recent visit to the local drive-up ATM machine. The notes are sharp of an E4 (button beeps) and A#5 (prompt beeps).


Now here it is mixed with a jaunty beat and George W. Bush saying "nucular arms".


Monday, May 26, 2008

Toy Castle Flag Whapping

I was over at a friend's house recently where his kids are lucky enough to have an original Fisher Price Castle. I was pulling the springy flag pole on it back and letting it go when I noticed it was making a cool sound, so I recorded it. It's less musical than percussive, but knowing I'll probably be glad to have it in the soon-here May mix(es), I'm going to post it anyway and call it a Middle C, which it actually sounds a little bit like to me.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Eerie Freight Train

On my way to work on Tuesday, my commuter train was standing still for a bit. I heard a high-pitched sound. I looked out my window and saw a freight train start moving in the opposite direction.

What then transpired was an eerie, impromptu song containing a variety of notes, among them G#4, G5, G6, G#5, and C6.

Eerie Freight Train


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sequence of Sounds By A Roboraptor In Play Mood

Dern, my Roboraptor:
Isn't he cute? Yes, that's a crude mod (the toes).

I recorded some of the sounds he makes in play mood.

His starting roar is a D then a D#--ah heck, I won't even pretend like the rest of them are notes of any kind. I just thought they were some cool sounds and would be fun to play with in the month-end mixes. Do I hear electric guitar in there?

Anyway, the sounds are:


1) 00-05 seconds
Opening Roar
the Roboraptor emits this roar when it's switched on

2) 05-11
Wagging and Woofing
now in play mood, wagging tail and making woofing noise

3) 11-19
when you place your hand near Roboraptor's face, Roboraptor nuzzles it and makes this pleasing sound

4) 19-25
Biting and Tug-of-War
when you place your finger in Roboraptor's mouth, a sensor senses it and Roboraptor bites your finger and plays tug-of-war with it

5) 25-29
my favorite sound, Roboraptor laughs and sort of dance/waddles

Roboraptor videos on YouTube...
Roboraptor videos on Google...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What's That Doorbell Song? Plus, Sync Up With Churchbells

This is the doorbell that came with my house when I bought it. It's not the most pleasant tune of tones you'll ever hear, but I have yet to get around to replacing it.


My question is: does the song have a name?

Wait--it's the same song as the Immaculate Conception Cathedral bells! Or at least part of it--the last two measures--C4, G#3, A#3, D#3 ... D#3, A#3, C4, G#3.

In fact, let's play that part of the cathedral bells song and the doorbell at the same time. In your speakers/headphones, the cathedral will be on the left and the doorbell on the right. Aaaaannd go!


How neat. They're in the same key and nearly the same tempo. What a world. But what's that song?? Anyone know?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Air Conditioner Conditioning With A Hum

This giant, industrial strength air conditioner sits atop a building on the campus of Sacred Heart-Griffin high school near my house. The other day I was walking by and noticed it emitting a loud musical hum. It's a note just sharp of a D4.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Helicopter In The Mix

I liked Helicopter In The Sky so much I mixed it with a few other sounds and some drum tracks. It's nothing special, really. Just a short experiment, it clocks in at 1 minute 29 seconds; Emerson Lake & Palmer music this isn't!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Helicopter In The Sky

I recently scored this recording of a passing helicopter. The pitch drops with the Doppler Effect, but if there's a note in the first few seconds it's somewhere between an F3 and F#3.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wind Chimes Chiming

My mom flies these wind chimes off the front porch awning of my parents' house. They (the wind chimes) are in the key of E major starting with an E5. In the recording, wind gusts blow through the trees and a neighbor's wind chimes in the distance--plus the requisite birds--to create a nice mixture of sounds.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Weird Electric Drill Tones

This Black & Decker "Fire Storm" electric drill has a trigger that when pressed slowly, gradually cycles through its various speeds. The odd thing is each speed with this drill is accompanied by a particular tone. The tones don't correspond to any notes exactly, but they're all in the 6th octave, starting with, approximately, E6 and working up and bouncing around from there. The noise of the whole drill at top speed is about a D#4, in case you wanted to know.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Freight Train Horn

Recorded at a distance of about 100 yards, this freight train horn is near a D#4.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Singing Wine Glass

The term "glass harmonica", or "armonica" as Ben Franklin called it, refers to any musical instrument played by rubbing glass.

This armonica, a single wine glass half-filled with water, is playing a G5. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Goose Honking

Recorded at the Washington Park pond in Springfield, IL.

That Canadian Goose is honking an F4.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I ♥ My Casio


Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

--Douglas Adams, "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy"


Count me among one of the above-mentioned ape-descended life forms.

My Casio is playing a happily chirpy B4.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ice Cream Truck Song

I was out walking one day when an ice cream truck came my way.

The song is based around a B4.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Car Honking

Honk honk! This is the horn of my Volvo 850, aka Big Red.

It's a G#4.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Wood Chipper

To start out the month, here is the sound of a wood chipper. Thank goodness, they were just feeding sticks into it.

Notice the A# caused by the 60 Hertz again.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April 2008 Mixes

We posted 25 sounds this past month. I sort of went a little crazy with mixes, producing three of them.

First is the compiled mix, which focuses on (what I felt were) the best sounds of the month:


Second, if for some god awful reason you're aching to hear every sound we put up this month AT ONCE, here it is! Brace yourself, it's cacophonous!:


Or, if you'd rather hear them all in a more mellow fashion, listen to the linear mix:


See you next month!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Street Light Buzz

The ultimate 60 Hertz electrical noise! One of those buzzing street lights. In the background are a bird and a police car siren.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Railroad Crossing

I was walking by the railroad tracks one day when a freight train came by. Here's the tail end of the recording: the passing of the train and the end of the bell dinging.

The dings are some note between A4 and A#4.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Clothes Dryer, Plus 60 Hertz Electrical Song

As promised, here is the fluffy, soothing sound of my clothes dryer recorded in hi-fidelity audio. It's a hum near an A#2.

That's more 60 Hertz electrical noise, of course. So, I have put together this little song with a bunch of samples of 60 Hertz electrical hums.

It uses hair clippers, microwave, refrigerator, box fan, washing machine, clothes dryer, and as-yet-unposted clips of a vacuum cleaner and a street light buzzing. If you listen close you can hear a bird and a police siren in the background.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Cathedral Bells

Strolling north on 6th street in Springfield, Illinois the other day, I noticed it was near 2 o'clock and I was approaching the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which has bells in its clock tower that chime:
  • on the hour with a melody and then a number of dings announcing the hour
  • on the half hour with just the melody (no dings)
  • and on the quarter hour with a shorter melody
This recording, then, captures the full melody plus two dings. Hang in there during the 28 seconds between them. I always enjoy the sound of these bells when I catch them.

The four bars of the melody are G#3, C4, A#3, D#3 ... G#3, A#3, C4, G#3 ... C4, G#3, A#3, D#3 ... D#3, A#3, C4, G#3.

The dings are D#3.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Idling Bus

I was out walking on my merry way one day when I turned a corner and there pulled over idling at the side of the road was a Springfield Mass Transit District bus. Luckily I had my Microtrak with me. This is recorded about ten feet from the back side of the bus. I think it turned out pretty cool.

I hear spot on a B2.

Now, here it is slowed down 200%.

And sped up 200%.

Play all three at once... if you dare!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Get It On

Years ago when I was in college and needed one badly for a band (or so I thought) I bought a gong with with what I could scrape together and some student loan money.

Here I strike it once. Typical of gongs, it's hard to say what note it plays. I hear a bunch of tones... various C's and F's.

By the way, feel free to download this and use it as your doorbell.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Lawnmower Flange, Plus Bonus Repeat Track

They were mowing the lawn of the funeral home across the street from where I work recently. The guy was on a riding mower, and for some reason as he turns from mowing parallel to me to coming toward me, there's a subtle flange effect. It's very cool. The note is close to an A2.

But it really comes to life on repeat. As a bonus (scoop) here is one minute of it! Crank it up!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

(Unfortunately) Not The Sonic Youth Album

Sunday is laundry day at my house. So you can vicariously partake in the profound experience, here is the sound of my washing machine.

It's one more electric motor humming near an A#2 probably caused by 60 Hertz electric cycles. Yep...

Tune in next week for the exciting sounds of my dryer!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Kooky Cow Toy

I found this strange Mardis Gras necklace at my friend's house where it resides as a toy for their 3 1/2 year old daughter. You push a button on the back and it makes a mooing sound three times. Cute. I also like the gaudy beads.

As it moos, the pitch rises somewhat slowly, plateaus near a D3, and then falls off rapidly.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Box Fan

Who doesn't enjoy the calming sound of a box fan? I put the microphone right up to the motor to capture its hum as well as the background drone of the blades.

I hear simultaneous notes A#2 and C3. Probably the A# is the motor. Most motor hums in my house seem to be near A#, as evidenced here, here, and here. According to yet another article at Wikipedia that doesn't cite and references or sources,
Electric hum, mains hum, or power line hum is an audible oscillation at the frequency of the mains alternating current, which is usually 50 or 60 hertz depending on the local electric utility configuration.... Assuming a tempered scale with A=440Hz, a 60Hz tone is almost exactly halfway between A# and B two octaves below Middle C....
So perhaps I'm hearing a 60 hertz tone in the electric hum of these motors.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hearing Chords In Drum Cymbals

For cymbals, my current drum kit came came with a crash and a hi-hat.

Here is the crash. Typical of cymbals, there are many overtones in it; the loudest ones here are G#4 and a C5.

In the case of the top hi-hat, this recording will demonstrate how complex the tonality of a cymbal can be. I strike it twice in two different places, the first time between the bow and the rim and the second time between the bow and the bell. In the first strike, there are distinct tones of B3, D#4, and E4, forming something like a B4 chord. In the second strike, the notes are tougher to discern, but they sound to me like A3, B3, and D#4, forming a nice B7 chord.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Warning! Bridge Raising!

Last week I was walking down Harrison Street, headed towards Printer's Row for a leisurely lunch. Wouldn't you know the bells of the Harrison Street Bridge were a-banging, as the bridge was about to go up.

It's two notes played together at an octave interval -- a B♭3 and a B♭4.


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