Sonic Postcards of the Chilterns
Explore the Chilterns through sound, with our first SONIC POSTCARDS, designed and recorded by Bucks New University illustration students. The students were challenged to create the first sonic postcards of the AONB, combining simple recording skills and their creativity to bring new places and sounds to life. The students work showcases a wide range of sounds, places and artistic styles and we are thrilled to be able to share such high quality work with you!
What is a sonic or sound postcard?
We were inspired by various sonic maps and projects around the UK, but one unique idea really stood out and we wanted to bring sonic postcards or sound postcards to the Chilterns. The first sound postcards appeared in the early 1900s, and were self-recordable. This provided a new and ingenious method of communication- imagine being able to send a postcard that included a mini sound recording? These original sound postcards combined picture postcards with the new medium of the recorded audio message, all delivered through the post! These sound postcards predate the more popular and commonly known pre-recorded sound postcards that were manufactured as souvenirs, and commemorative memorabilia from the late 1920s until well into the 1980s.
For more information on the self-recorded sound postcard, visit the Cartavox section on the Sonic Futures website.
Why is the Echoed Locations project important?
In a noisy world, full of trains, buses, podcasts, and chatter, it can be hard to appreciate the sounds of a dawn chorus, or frogs in a pond, or even something as simple as a robin's song. So how can we really 'listen' to the sound of the Chilterns? This project allows anyone with a smartphone or voice recording device to get out in nature and record what they hear (even if they are unsure of what bird song, for example, it is that they are listening to).
We take sound for granted, and just as we tend to see the things we want to see, we consciously hear the things we choose to hear, such as conversation, or the entertaining and emotionally engaging tones of music. We rarely take notice of the background soundtrack of our lives. If we take note of our acoustic bearings, these sounds can give a huge insight into the history of people and their places and help us to acoustically navigate our present world. This sound-based project therefore provides the opportunity for exploration and celebration of the cultural and natural heritage of the Chilterns in a very different way but using an almost universally accessible media and technologies. If you are interested in further reading on the subject of soundscapes, we recommend 'Voices of the Wild' by Bernie Krause as a good place to start.
How can you get involved?
1. Listen to our example sound recordings on the right-hand side, to give you an idea of what you might record
2. Read our Sound Recording Instructions document, which includes listening exercises as well to help you get the most out of your recording sessions
3. Start recording wildlife sounds in your garden, local park, schoolyard, or further afield
4. Upload your recordings via the form below, to help us start building our online archive of Chilterns sounds which will later be added to a sonic map (for an example, see this project) (Uploading your recordings also gives you the chance to have your recording played on Wycombe Sound!)
5. Get in touch with us if you are a school, local community group, or organization who is interested in partnering with us
Visit the sonic map and listen to the sounds of the Chilterns that have already been uploaded.