The sound of the Corona Spring

2020’s spring will be a quiet one. Probably one of the quietest in recent (living?) memory. I have a 99 year-old relation. She’s seen most of the 20th century and doesn’t remember a time quite like this. The peace offers a great opportunity to make some observational field recordings as the season gets into full swing, the light extends and everything comes back to life again. Maybe the UKs cities are in the most hifi state they can be right now with industrial and mechanised activity reduced and hustle and bustle banned for 3 weeks (at least)1.

Make some software and get recording

If you can, open your window and listen. Set something up to record the sounds periodically. A max patch might do it, much like the one linked below.

CoronaSpring Standalone App for recording sounds on schedule

Empty Concert Halls

Sound of Berlin Philharmonic’s March 20 Concert in an empty Philharmonie Berlin. This performance of Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra and Berio’s Sinfonia are currently available for free.

Anyway that diversion aside, I was very grateful to the Berlin Philharmonic for making their virtual concert hall available this month. Late last night, I listened to their concert of 20 March which was performed to an empty hall. The last seconds of Bartok’s concerto for orchestra moved me. The dying reverb and the lack of applause after such a sound really shook me. Have a listen to this:

Last second of Bartok’s Concerto For Orchestra, performed by Berlin Philharmonic with Sir Simon Rattle

Schafer, R. M. (1977). The tuning of the world. Knopf.

  1. R. Murray Schafer (Schafer, 1977) describes a high fidelity environment as one where you can hear more detail from the quieter signals in the soundscape. This conventionally means that the countryside is high-fi and city is low-fi.↩︎

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