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October 12, 2010


Lost Species

by soundlandscapes

My wildlife sound recording friends talk about it all the time – the wildlife species in danger of extinction or already lost either by the forces of nature or the incompetence or the greed of mankind.

That set me thinking about the sounds that we have lost or are in danger of losing.

Sounds like the hypnotic and at the same time comforting tick-tock of this grandfather clock.

And on the subject of clocks, here is a sound that is probably not found in every modern home. However sophisticated the digital clocks of today none of them have the simple beauty of this nineteenth-century musical clock.

If I were writing this post in the late twentieth-century rather than at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, this sound would have been common currency.

Alas, that sound really is extinct in our modern cut and paste digital age.

The sounds we have lost have disappeared largely in the pursuit of progress. And progress, of itself, is a good thing. It gives us all a better quality of life but it comes at a price. And part of that price is the loss of our sonic inheritance.

Paris has many evocative sounds but, for those of us who live here, few sounds are as evocative as this, the sound of an old Parisian lift. In this modern age of high-rise buildings with high-speed, silent lifts the old Parisian lift with its shiny wooden panels and metal caged doors seems very antiquated. Ergonomically it is completely useless but sonically it is simply wonderful. It is surely a sound worth preserving.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. martincoulam
    Oct 13 2010

    Love the clocks piece,absolutely right

  2. Oct 15 2010

    fantastic collection – those sort of lifts used to be commonplace in the UK too. How people survived without losing body parts beats me but the complex sound is wonderful. And a mechnical mechanism has a soul to its sound no electronic chip has – in a building you knwe you could tell the lfits apart from the sound of the bells being slightly different


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