Do you have a suggestion for a place that should be included? Sonicwonders.org is not a Wiki, it’s an edited web page, so you need to send me details for inclusion. Please use the comment box below to suggest a place. To be included I need to know:
- What makes the sound of the place noteworthy and suitable for the website – what does it sound like, what creates the sound effect and why is that interesting?
- Exactly where the place is
- Suggested tags
- Suggested categories: current list: nature, manmade (and other unnatural), architectural, echo
- If you want to be credited on the page, please give your name
Additional information which make the entry more interesting and save me some work!
- Soundfiles, youtube video links and pictures (please check copyright and give details of required acknowledgements)
- Sites on sonicwonders.org which have similar sound effects
- Good times of the year/day to hear the sounds (if applicable)
- Logistics for visitors – opening hours, getting there etc. (preferably just a link to the site’s website with these details)
204 thoughts on “Suggest a place”
Buxton Dome – Derbyshire – UK
Why? It’s a dome with all the usual strange reflections that come with it. The added bonus to this one is the extra “dome” in the centre meaning that you sound like you’re standing next to yourself when you’re stood in the centre.
Doing a gig in there is fun, you can go to the opposite side of the dome and virtually walk amongst the band.
Here is a video of some people messing about in there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEPuTQo_kYk
The ancient Greek theatre of Epidaurus (Google Maps info: Epidavros 210 52, Greece, 37.596314, 23.079619) is well known for having excellent acoustics. If you have the chance to visit it on a day when it is not very busy (you have a fair chance before May or after September) you can test how well someone’s voice or noises such as dropping a coin onto the stone at the centre of the stage can be heard at the back of the theatre. With no background talking, these should clearly be audible. Strong reflections are heard if you stand at the centre of the stage and talk or clap your hands as you move around. A clear “chirp” effect is heard when clapping at the stage centre. I have made my own audio recording of this which I can share, but there is no way to attach a sound file to the webpage. Please email me and I can send the sound recordings.
There is a “singing highway” in New Mexico on old Route 66. It was created as an experiment on crowd behavior by the National Geographic Channel. The rumble strip plays “America the Beautiful” and was designed to be experienced driving at 45MPH. It is located just east of Albuquerque, NM between mile post 5 and 6 on Highway 66, just before you reach the Village of Tijeras. The rumble strip is only in the east bound lane of the highway and is only about two tire widths wide. Although the area is marked with a couple of highway signs you have to look hard on the road to determine where to drive. You drive on it with only the passenger side tires. The song is nicely in tune and it provides a unique sound experience. Search “singing road route 66 or Tijeras” and you’ll find many articles about the project.
A handclap from in front of the Temple of the Warriors (Chichen Itza) echos as a quetzal-like chirp from the stairs and a rattlesnake sound (ZZZZZzzzz) from the colonnade (Group of a Thousand Columns). Two feathered rattlesnake piers grace the (now ruined) temple on top
Check out the oracle room of the hypogeum in Malta with it’s powerful acoustic resonance as well as Tibetan monks using musical instruments to move giant stones through acoustic levitation and stonehenge also has an interesting acoustic system, as you can speak softly at one end and it can be heard all the way across the other side.
I was on a guided tour of the Prague Castle and the guide showed us a curious phenomenon. In the central open space inside the castle, surrounded by the walls of the different parts of the castle, there’s a sort of mini amphitheatre. If you stand in a small, slightly raised circle in the centre of the amphitheatre, and you speak, your voice sounds with a really weird metallic echo, as if it were being distorted by electronic means. It only happens if you stand exactly in the centre. If you move just an inch in any direction, it simply stops. I do not think this was intended: probably somebody noticed it, and they built the platform afterwards. It appears it should be related to the architecture, but it does not really sound like an echo effect, though obviously I’m no expert. I have been unable to find any explanation for this on the internet, and would be extremely grateful if anyone could offer a hint.
In Canal Walk shopping centre, Cape town, South africa, there is an outside area just outside the food court when you cross over the river – theres a brick path, as you walk along the path you get to a slope which goes downwards with a amphitheatre like structure facing the river and a manmade waterfall. When you follow the brick pattern to a circle like pattern in the middle of the “halfmoom” amphitheatre and you face inwards toward the stands. When you speak to yourself you hear the same weird metallic echo. It also sounds as if being electronically distorted – almost as if you’re speaking through a microphone to yourself and only you can hear it. As soon as you move our of this circle, this specific spot – your voice goes back to normal. It was a really trippy experience. I feel like some form of knowledge must be available on these spots. Are there any others like it om earth?
If you think you enjoyed the Whispering Gallery in Saint Peter’s cathedral, you may also enjoy the Whispering Gallery located in Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. This is a special room shaped kind of like a giant egg, specially designed to demonstrate the properties of an ellipse.
The way it works is simplicity itself. When you first enter the room, the first thing you’ll notice is a pair of low platforms with curved clear plastic windows curving out at each end. On each platform, you’ll then notice a pair of footprints, indicating where each person should stand.
You and a friend each stand on one of these platforms with your feet in the indicated positions, facing the window. Then, just whisper, your friend will have no trouble hearing you, in spite of the fact you’re whispering. Now, step off the platform to one side and whisper again. He or she won’t be able to hear you.
How does this work? Well, as I indicated in the first paragraph, this room demonstrates the properties of an ellipse. By placing your feet in the indicated positions, you each end up in one of the two focal points of this particular ellipse. That’s why your friend can hear you if your standing at this point, but can’t hear you if you’re even a little to one side.
The Whispering Wall at the Barossa Reservoir in South Australia. (see link above). It’s a bit like the gallery in St Pauls, London but outdoors and much larger.
Istanbul: Bosporous Strait.
I live on a ridge above Kurucesme which is mid-way between the first and second suspension bridges over the Bosporus. At this point the channel narrows and the current increases. Consequently the huge tankers and container ships that pass through regularly sound their deep horns to warn smaller vessels of their passage. These sounds bounce off the cliffs and buildings that line the strait here and provide a sublime moment that goes deep within you. Ill supply a recording soon..
Are you aware of Porth Oer, on the Llyn Peninsular? It a National Trust place now, but I used to go on family holidays nearby when I was a child. Its a beach, also known as Whistling Sands, because of the creaking sound made when you walk on the sand. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356404031637/
Worth a visit maybe if your’re ever in the area. I thought it was quite well known but it’s not on your site!
Great web-site! I am suggesting a visit to Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast, UK. The ghostly musical tones heard in these location recordings I made in 2004 are created purely by wind swirling across and through the ruined metal and concrete structures. It is an eerie place as it was once a top secret military testing base abandoned in the 1980s and is now a protected nature reserve with a precious shingle eco-system. Well worth a visit. http://youtu.be/5REThKmZOAc
More details about visiting are here: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/orford-ness It is closed at certain times of the year as you have to take a ferry, which is an experience in itself. I would recommend a weekday when it is less busy.
I’ll try to post up some more suggestions soon.
Poulomi Desai | http://www.usurp.org.uk
Suggestion via email from Renan Dissenha Fagundes for very reverberant space: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Bras%C3%ADlia
From Mark via email:
I would like to inform you of the unusual (?) acoustics from the 25 de Abril suspension bridge that links Lisbon and Almada in Portugal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/25_de_Abril_Bridge
I was at the nearby world congress centre for a conference and noticed the constant noise from this bridge. Its over 2kms long and about 70m high. It has two decks, the upper deck has six lanes of constant vehicle traffic and the lower deck carries two train tracks. The low frequency humming noise the traffic and trains creates is penetrating and quite amazing. It’s like being close to thousands of active bee hives, a drone that fluctuates depending on the level of traffic and which escalates as a train crosses. It can be heard for hundreds of metres but best perhaps from a row of restaurants (great fish) on the Lisbon side underneath and close by the railway tracks.
The noise can be heard via this link
but seems much worse when you are there; it almost induces a feeling of sickness, as low frequency can of course.
Soon it will be Parthenocissus quinquefolia time again. Virginia Creeper, as it is more commonly known is a common climbing plant. The leaves are turning a magnificent red at the moment. In a few weeks’ time, the leaves will fall, but not the leaf stems. A week or two after the leaves fall, the stems fall and that is when the wonderful noise occurs.
The best place to hear it is inside a building that is covered in Virginia Creeper, with the window open. As each stem falls, it bounces off numerous other stems making many little “plink” soinds. A gentle gust of wind may bring down a whole cascade. The effect of thousands of similar, unsynchronised sounds is beautiful, like many little elves banging tiny drums.
This natural sound can be heard across much of northern Europe, North America and Canada.
Izvor Govor Voda ( Talking Water Spring )
At river’s spring, water goes through rock crack and creates purl which sounds like people talking. The legend says that those are the voices of people thrown in the cave beneath Sibnica medieval castle. There was a great infection at that time and infected people were thrown to stop epidemic. The water is curative for people who have speaking disabilities and mute children.
You can find some pictures and exact location here: http://www.ajmonegde.com/Izvor-Govor-Voda-Levac-Gledicke-planine.html
checkout Dance Chimes ( Tanzglockenspiel ) in Karlovy Vary! Bells play while you walk across the brass fields, so you can create melodies. It is manmade, by Richter Spielgeräte company, and free for use, since it is located on pedestrian plaza. Kids love it and you can always see them play and jump. On the official product website it is written how they work: ”Nine brass tiles are arranged in a square with a sound element under each. These are set into vibration by the energy of motion and thus produce ringing tones.”
here are some useful links:
official site: http://www.richter-spielgeraete.de/catalog-detail/items/9.06000-tanzglockenspiel-dance-chimes.html
you can find more pictures on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dancechimes?fref=nf
and this is me playing the chimes: http://zvukk.blogspot.com/2014/07/reportaza-tanzglockenspiel.html
Singing underpass, Campbell Park, Milton Keynes. Architectural. This is an exceptionally resonant flutter echo effect in a pedestrian underpass where a footpath crosses under Brickhill Street between Campbell Park and South Willen Lake, Milton Keynes. You need to stand close to the edge of the path to get the full effect.
Google Map here https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zO840K5qpD6w.klHAWMhyS9I0
Sound file and picture here http://soundcollider.tumblr.com/post/92714489573/underpass-in-campbell-park-mk-with-striking
Sound file recorded with an Edirol R-09, the mics are a bit toppy, there is a fair bit more lower mid to it in real life.
Any thanks etc to Soundcollider.tumblr.com, this is me with my found sound hat on.
The Haberfeld building (built 1927) on 17th and Chester in Bakersfield, CA has perfect acoustics in the stairwell on the front side of building on Chester. Stairs and walls are marble. Use to work there and sing going up or down stairs. Met a lady there coming down from higher up on the stairs, singing. She knew about it and liked to come there just to sing.
Market Square, Bruges, Belgium.
No motor vehicles are allowed within the city walls. Recorded music must be kept very quiet. All you can hear anywhere in the city is human voices and the occasional horse drawn taxi. Standing in the middle of the market square, which is bordered almost entirely by cafes, restaurants and bars, You can hear literally hundreds of humans, all talking quietly. It is impossible to make any one voice amongst the others, but the of so many voices, and the lack of any other sounds, makes this a truly unique acoustic experience.
Best times: meal times are when there the most voices present. In the evenings there fewer hooves on the cobbles.
Access: Train to the city limits then walk or horse drawn taxi.
Ringing Rocks County Park
Ringing rocks are also known as sonorous rocks
Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania at 40.56316°N 75.12689°W.
I’m a retired Sonar Technician in the U.S.Navy, so for 21 years I got to listen to underwater sounds. Whales, porpoise, shrimp, sawfish, underwater springs, ships alongside a pier moving back and forth with water lapping at the hull, seagulls, etc. etc. The oceans are a unique sound platform because it’s always the same, yet uniquely different as you travel the world. Also, just communiating from ship to ship or ship to submarine is unique as you can use voice or morse code. The actual sound of sonar underwater is unique too, as the frequencies and patterns are variable. Put a hydrophone in the water and listen to the whales and porpoise comunicating and you’ll be amazed. Thanks
The arch of the Union Terminal Museum Center, Cincinnati, Ohio has the same effect as the arch in Grand Central Terminal. Standing in opposite corners, you can talk clearly to one another as the sound travels over the curve of the arch.
Temples in Japan.
I see that Kathy(#1)beat me to the suggestion of Union Station in St. Louis. The whispering arch is on the Market Street side, just inside the main door into the hotel. I read that there has been a lot of construction there lately; hoping this arch was not part of the items removed.
Saw your article in Reader’s Digest recently & thought I’d mention that Union Station in downtown St. Louis, Missouri also has a whispering arch like the one in New York. St. Louis may be a closer drive for some who can’t make it to New York. It’s always been a fun thing to point out to visitors to the city, in the midst of the gorgeous renovated train station. Their website gives hours, directions & some history, etc. http://www.stlouisunionstation.com/info/history
There is a restaurant in Boca Raton, FL with a domed ceiling. If you are sitting in a particular chair you can actively converse with someone on the other side of the room. It’s like their voice is sitting just outside your ear. Very eerie feeling. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but will get it if you need it.
One of the most amazing sounds i have ever heard in Santa Barbara is the wind when it hits the moore mesa caves. Its like a singing vibration the surrounds you.
Sound: eight-fold echo and 40s+ reverb inside the Gasometer in Oberhausen, Germany. The gasometer is Europe’s highest exhibition hall at 117m and 68m diameter.
Tags: gasometer, industry cathedral, long reverb
Categories: manmade (and other unnatural), architectural, echo
Suggested by: Knut Aufermann
Sound file: https://soundcloud.com/mobile-radio/100-words-per-metre
Times of year: try to visit during an exhibition with no or little sound element to experience the space only. If possible avoid busy holiday times, as visitors create large background noise.
Logistics: Open most days, tickets 9 Euros, check for times, exhibitions and route map here: http://www.gasometer.de/en/
Sound: Every autumn hundreds of wine cellars in the Mosel valley, Germany’s premier wine growing region, turn into magnificent sound installations. Freshly pressed grape juice starts fermenting in barrels and the escaping gas bubbles through glass u-pipes, each barrel at its own speed.
Place: Wine cellars, large and small, in almost every town and village along the river Mosel in Germany, from Koblenz to Trier.
Tags: wine, yeast, fermentation, cellar, barrel
Categories: nature, manmade (and other unnatural), architectural
Suggested by: Knut Aufermann
Sound file: https://soundcloud.com/mobile-radio/the-long-night-of-yeast
Times of year: fermentation starts right after harvest, which is beginning to mid October for Riesling, the main grape variety at the Mosel, and lasts for 4-6 weeks
Logistics: Wine cellars are private rooms, but most wine makers are happy to show visitors around as part of a wine tasting or during open days. Harvest time can be hectic, so don’t expect to be able to stay for hours.
When visiting Santa Barbara in California, USA. I believe you should at least hear the bells of our well known attraction, the Santa Barbara Mission. A tag that could be used is: bells (obviously). Also, while visiting the mission, you can walk across the street and visit our rose garden.
Max Neuhaus’ sound installation Times Square, located in Times Square, Manhattan.
It is the last remaining sound installation in the United States by composer Max Neuhaus.
The Illinois memorial at the Vicksburg National Park and cemetary is a dome with the most fantastic acoustics. When I was in college we would drive to Vicksburg and sing folk songs in there before we went to the bluffs and do rebel yells to listen to the echos.
The Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. With excellent acoustics and first-class sound systems, the beautiful theatre houses sounds that aren’t to be missed.
Manmade, architecture, music
The Beaches of Santa Barbara are almost all below cliffs and the sound reverberates throughout the beach. There is very little ship traffic as well so most of what is heard is natural.
Hell, Grand Cayman. Spiky, spindly like stone formations that occupy an area half the size of a soccer field. Access by raised boardwalks. When a stone is thrown into the formation, it rings and reverberates like a giant wind chime. Hauntingly beautiful.
There is a place in chile called punta tralca (thunder point) where the waves of the see enters in a rock and produce the sound of the thunder. You should check it
What a fantastic idea for a website. I’ve been recording sounds in São Paulo, where I live, for a while. It’s mostly of street vendors. I’ve also recorded the sounds of the jungle on the coast near Paraty. Would love to collaborate on this project. Any tips for getting a good recording? I’m using the voice recorder on my iPhone for now. Here are some of the sounds https://soundcloud.com/catherine-balston
Ringing Rocks County Park includes a glacial field of large boulders. Most ring like bells when hit with a hammer, especially those in the sunshine.
Widow Jane Mine, Snyder Estate, Rosendale, New York. Formerly cement mines. Really interesting visually, long reverbs obvious but also interesting transitional spots where there is one reverb on your right and a different one on your left.
I would suggest experimenting with the Blue Stones of StoneHenge.
Perhaps a wonderful Celtic tune could be played.
At Topsail Beach, NC the sand will sometimes squeek when you walk on it if the moisture content and grain size is right. The waves sort the grain size so there is a strip of sand that squeeks.
the discovery centre at Jodrell Banks south of Manchester in the UK is not only the home of a pretty amazing telescope, but also has a pair of whispering dishes. Whisper into one, and you’ll hear the message clear as day about 10m away.
Just listened to the podcast on NPR and thought of two different sites in eastern Pennsylvania with “musical” rocks — unusual crystal structure causes some boulders to produce muffled bell-tones when struck with a hammer or another rock. Bring friends and a pitch pipe and play “Frere Jacques.”
I prefer the former — good hiking, nice stream, small waterfall, & abundant nature near the Delaware River and not too far from Philadelphia. More than a few youtube videos of this place that you could check out. The latter site is smaller and the rocks are interesting, but the locale doesn’t offer any other excitement besides a picnic grove and a roller skating rink.
I am surprised this place hasn’t made to this site yet. The longest music work in the world, played on the shore of The Thames. The website says it all: http://longplayer.org/live/
If you stand with your back against the tree in the circle and face the corner of the building (NNE) and speak, you’ll hear a very strange echo. Any sound produced at that location, facing that direction will hear a very distinct echo. ENJOY!
Behind the University of Pennsylvania Vet School at 39th & Pine in Philadelphia. I used to live right there on 39th St.
Located on The Ohio State University campus the arches perfectly transmit whispers from one end to the other.
Sent to me via email:
I was just listening to your interview on NPR radio in the US, and wondered if you have ever been in the gazebo at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. I think it is a whispering gallery, and it also has some amazing echo effects.
After a couple of exciting hours of white water rafting, we landed at the confluence of the Thompson and Fraser rivers.
There were 15 to 20 people all helping to load the inflatable rafts onto a trailer when I heard a hissing sound. I told one of the rafting company employees that I thought I heard a raft leaking air. We both checked around the area where I had first heard the sound and found nothing. I then continued to seek the source of the sound and finally identified the cause! It was the silt settling in the shallow waters on the edge of the river! It still amazes me every time I think of it!
The Thompson River ends here at Lytton where it meets the Fraser River. The contrast is striking as the clear Thompson River water joins with the muddy Fraser.
Not an expert but heard you on science friday and thought I’d point this out:
I would like to suggest a sound for your consideration. This is a very wide-field sound, naturally produced, and it only occurs during a short time of the year. I’ve experienced it on a deserted beach near Michigan City, Indiana, USA, but any still areas along the south coast of Lake Michigan may be acceptable. This occurs usually in late January or early February after a long cold spell. The south coast of the lake will freeze (sometimes, as far as the eye can see), and the pressure of the ice forming farther out will push blocks and chunks of ice up onto the shore. When it is calm out, without other sounds to disturb it, the sounds of the ice cracking and groaning from all around are phenomenal and gives me a feeling that is at once memorable and indescribable. Like many other natural sounds, this takes just the right conditions to occur, and i have not experienced it enough to know all the proper conditions. With a little flexibility in travel plans, this is an experience that is well worth it!