world listening day 2012


Today was World Listening Day, a day for listening to, becoming aware of, and perhaps even appreciating the unique sound environments in which we live but often take for granted.

Every day can be World Listening Day if you want it to be, but having one day a year to consider listening while turning others onto the sonic world around them is a treasure.

For those who want to learn more about World Listening Day, here is a wonderful podcast put together by Eric Leonardson,Monica Ryan and Tom Haigh.

Of course there are many ways to appreciate sound and have a listening experience. 

While sound walks --- events which encourage walking through and listening to unique spaces and places --- are popular, I chose to celebrate World Listening Day with a sound ride.

I find listening while riding a bike to be a quintessentially complimentary experience, something akin to chocolate and peanut butter or cigarettes and black coffee.

So today I loaded up my vintage Cannondale and became immersed in the sound of Tucson.

As usual I was struck by the perfectly orchestrated sonic tapestry of the natural and the mechanized worlds in Tucson, enmeshed in an intricately orchestrated embrace.

Birds and trucks. Jackhammers and cicadas. Humans and machines. All vying to be heard through dissonance and harmony.

There is a certain madness in recognizing this music, but there is also redemption.

It's an unending composition written by an infinite number of composers and improvisors, each playing their part, acknowledged or not, from the Big Bang onward.

And it is all there for the listening. Always.

I find this music of the world unfolding to be reassuring, for silence equals death.

If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, then the tree does not make a sound.

Sound is vibration acknowledged by the listener.

Without the listener there is no sound.

To live is to bear witness to the vibrations of all things.

To live is to listen. To live is to make sound.

What a wonderful thing to

Happy World Listening Day.





First Sounding : Himmel Park - 7:22 a.m.

Highlights include: birds, planes, voices, insects, footsteps, planes, dogs, wind and passing vehicles.

himmel park



Second Sounding : University of Arizona, Manuel Pacheco Integrated Learning Center - 7:58 a.m.

Highlights include : bells, birds, planes, voices, insects, footsteps, planes, wind and passing vehicles.

Manuel Pacheco Integrated Learning Center



 Third Sounding : University of Arizona,  CatMart Vending- 8:22 a.m

Highlights include : Vending machines, insects, footsteps, whistling, doors and vending.


catmart vending



Fourth  Sounding : University of Arizona,  Mall Lawn - 9:02 a.m

Highlights include:  Lawn mowers passing, weed-wackers wacking, planes, voices, birds and insects.

ua mall lawn



Fifth Sounding : Construction at the intersection of Speedway Blvd. and Tyndall Ave. - 9:37 a.m

Highlights include: Machines, whistles, hammering and yelling.

construction speedway and tynall




Sixth Sounding : Intersection of University Blvd. and Euclid - 10:30 a.m.

Highlights include: welding, cleaning and moving of trolley rails (Around 4.5 minutes in it gets very interesting if you enjoy this sort of thing...)


tucson rail



Seventh Sounding : Chicken's at Casa de Steev y Greta y Josie - 11:10 a.m.

Highlights include: Chickens and talking turkey about chickens.