Echo, Château de Chinon

A strange local rhyme exploits this distinctive echo.

1 Star, yawn2 Stars, OK3 Stars, interesting4 Stars, worth a detour5 Stars, worth a journey
(10 Votes, average 2.00)
Loading...
This way to the echo

How can a Sound Tourist resist a road sign pointing towards an echo? Despite having no decent sound recording equipment, no aptitude at speaking French and ignoring the fact I was wearing a cycle jersey of dubious taste, I attempted to capture the event on my mobile. You might need to turn up the volume to hear the echo.

A description of the echo appears in the Rough Guide to the Loire which describes a traditional local rhyme which exploits the timing of the echo:

Me: Les femmes de Chinon sont-elles fidѐles

Echo: Elles?

Me: Oui, Les femmes de Chinon

Echo: Non!

Which translates into English as:

Me: Are the women of Chinon faithful?

Echo: Them?

Me: Yes, the women of Chinon

Echo: No!

And I can confirm the description is correct –  by that I mean the echo rhyme really works, I know nothing about the faithfulness of Chinon women! The echo is a reflection from the side of the chateaux and is beautifully clear (if a little quiet for recording on a mobile).

Location

If you exit the Château visitors’ centre northwards away from the town (it seems like the back entrance) you’ll pass L’Echo de Rabelais. Across the road you’ll see a big sign to the echo vineyard close to the smaller sign for the echo. Follow the small Rue de l’Echo for 200m and you’ll find a small raised vantage point. A

Way of Silence

This tiny beautiful island has a Way of Silence – a waymarked soundwalk.

1 Star, yawn2 Stars, OK3 Stars, interesting4 Stars, worth a detour5 Stars, worth a journey
(3 Votes, average 3.33)
Loading...

“‘If you can be yourself, you are everything,’ says one sign. ‘Listen to the water, the wind, your steps,’ urges another.” [1]

On the small Isola San Giulio (St Julius’s Island) in Italy, there’s a Sound Walk. The ‘Way of Silence’ is a flagged alleyway that goes around the island, with plaques that instruct you to listen out for particular sounds. Such a process of walking and structured listening was pioneered by acoustic ecologists as a way of better understanding soundscapes.

When you tire of the sound walk, turn around and follow the back of the plaques which have different messages, forming the ‘Way of Meditation’.

Location

Lonely planet page on the island

Credits

  1. http://www.orta.net/eng1/indipendent.html
  2. Photo by oliver hiltbrunner (c) some rights reserved
  3. Suggested by Gianluca Memoli

Bell Caves

What makes the echoing sound of these caves unusual, is the way the different chambers are connected together.

1 Star, yawn2 Stars, OK3 Stars, interesting4 Stars, worth a detour5 Stars, worth a journey
(7 Votes, average 3.43)
Loading...

The Bell Caves have a unique sound. What makes the Bell Caves unusual and worth a visit is the acoustic effect created by the connections between the chambers. As the sound moves between the large chambers along the passageways, a very distinctive reverberance is heard, as sound sloshes about from one chamber to another.

The caves were quarries which were excavated at different times in history, but it is claimed some date back to the 4th century B.C. The walls are made of beige coloured limestone.

Location

The Bell Caves are in the Beit Guvrin National Park. The park also contains a Roman amphitheatre.

Credits and sources

Golkonda, India

Guides will demonstrate the clapping telephone, which was used to signal over long distances in this ancient city.

1 Star, yawn2 Stars, OK3 Stars, interesting4 Stars, worth a detour5 Stars, worth a journey
(5 Votes, average 3.80)
Loading...

This is the ruined city of the Kingdom of Golkonda (c. 1364–1512) which has several curious acoustic features including what has been described as an “amazing clapping telephone”. Clap near the entrance, and sound is reflected by a nearby building so that it can be heard a kilometer away at the highest point of the city, at the Bala Hisar pavilion. Some other quirk of this “magical acoustic system” means that close to the person clapping, the sound can only be heard within a few metres.

Demonstrating the clapping telephone. Lynn Robert Carter commented that the sound is more remarkable than appears on this video.
There’s also an interesting flutter echo as well

Logistics

11 km west of the city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh state, south-central India. Suggested website for more information.

Credits

  1. Photo: mikecogh (c) some rights reserved

Vienna Musikverein

Possibly the best and most famous concert hall for classical music.

1 Star, yawn2 Stars, OK3 Stars, interesting4 Stars, worth a detour5 Stars, worth a journey
(2 Votes, average 5.00)
Loading...

If you were to take a straw poll among acoustic engineers to find the best concert hall in World, then the Musikverein would come pretty close to the top: it might even top the list. It’s one of four concert halls around the World that are commonly cited as sound exemplars, with extraordinary acoustics against which all new designs are compared. Like all good concert halls, the Musikverein provide sound reflections that enrich the orchestral sound. Without these reflections, the music would sound rather thin and distant.

Scientists have spent many decades trying to unlock the secrets of the hall, and perhaps the most important feature is its diminutive floor size. People are packed together in a way which wouldn’t be allowed in a new building because of modern fire regulations. This results in a very lively sound; the music reverberates and echoes for a long time, bouncing around the hall, creating sound that seems to envelope the listener. It’s ideally suited to the music of Brahms, Bruckner, and Mahler; these famous composers all had music premiered here.

360 video

Location and logistics

Website: Book a concert, or second best, go on a tour.

Credits

Photo: By Li Sun – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

Experience amazing quiet punctuated by creaking icebergs and tinkling ice on the shoreline.

1 Star, yawn2 Stars, OK3 Stars, interesting4 Stars, worth a detour5 Stars, worth a journey
(10 Votes, average 2.80)
Loading...

I visited this amazingly serene place many years ago when I camped alongside the lake. Lying awake in bed, there was almost silence apart from the sound of the wind and the occasional creaking and groaning of the icebergs and glacier. Ice broken off from the Breidamerkurjokull glacier forms large, strange sculptural shapes which float on the pristine, clear glacial water.

Location

Close to highway number one about 350 km east from Reykjavík. Watch out for the aggressive skuas. Depending on the time of year, there can be lots of bird noise. There is a popular boat trip around the lake, so this is best heard when the other tourists have gone home.

Sources and credits

  1. Photo Tania Ho (c) some rights reserved

Whispering Arch, Grand Central Station

A whispering gallery found in a surprising place, Grand Central Terminal in New York.

1 Star, yawn2 Stars, OK3 Stars, interesting4 Stars, worth a detour5 Stars, worth a journey
(77 Votes, average 2.83)
Loading...

There’s an area under 4 archways, on the way down to the lower concourse, where you can experience an amazing sound effect. If you and a friend stand at opposite ends of the underpass and one of you speaks towards the wall at a normal volume, the other person can hear you perfectly even though you are a good 10 metres away and facing in the opposite direction. The stone walls and ceiling do a great job of reflecting the sound on a path across to the opposite side of the underpass. For more on the cause of this effect, see Whispering Gallery in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Logistics and location

In the lower concourse outside the Oyster bar. Whispering galleries need to be visited when it isn’t too busy otherwise the effect can’t be heard above other noise.

Sources

  • Site suggested by Charlie Mydlarz
  • Photo Nick Gray