Author Archives: Deniz Korman

Acoustic Space: Olin Basement Corridor, HMC

Loading map...



Location: Corridor located within the basement complex of Harvey Mudd College’s academic buildings. The map below shows the exact location of the corridor.


Description of the space: The corridor is approximately 7 ft wide, 9 ft tall, and 90 ft long. The ends of the corridor turn at 90 degree angles and keep continuing. There are doors that are slightly caved in, as well as light fixtures on either side of the corridor which might prevent reverberation. The floor is solid, although a portion of it is carpeted.


Recording setup: The recording was done at the center of the corridor. I held the balloon 5 feet high, approximately 6 feet from the TASCAM DR-40 Sound Recorder which was placed on the floor using a tripod.

Reverberation time:
30 dB decay: 0.6 sec
50 dB decay: 1.3 sec
decay to background level: 2.0 sec
minimum: 3.0 sec

Acoustic description: The resonance of this space does not cause any echoing, as the intensity drop seems to be linear, without any secondary peaks. The decay time is also relatively fast, which could either be caused by the placement of the recorder, or the acoustic properties of the corridor.

pHake Lake, Bernard Field Station, February 15


Bernard Field Station-pHake Lake-February15_2017_830am

Location: The Bernard Field Station is a natural laboratory located on the Northest part of the 5C campus that serves as a natural environment in which students can conduct experiments in. It is a piece of land that has been left mostly untouched and is isolated from any outside disturbances which replicates the natural ecology of California. Since it is home to a lot more wildlife and gets rare visits from humans, the soundscape of the field station is very much different than the rest of the 5Cs campus.

At the time of my recording they were working on the construction of a new facility within the field station (at a distance), which can be heard in the recording.

Recording: I made my recording on the edge of the (artificial) lake located within the Field Station, at 8:30am in order to capture all the wildlife activity that goes on in the morning. The capturing was done using a TASCAM DR-40 Sound Recorder at a height of 3ft with the windscreen.

The clip starts with a strong industrial humming sound which sounds like an airplane, but is actually coming from the construction. Although the humming is prominent, you can still hear bird calls going on in the background. Since the geo-spatial aspect of the audio is removed in the recording it is hard to tell if the calls are made by a single bird, or multiple birds. However, to the sophisticated ear these bird calls act as signals, acting as identifiers of the birds species, and possibly intention. Since the birds live, or frequently visit the field station, the presence of bird calls can be considered a soundmark, although the individual calls change with season and time of day. By themselves, these calls can additionally be considered as signals between the birds. At 0:27, we hear the train whistle coming from the train station down in the Claremont Village. This is a sound that can be heard all across the campus, and I’m surprised that it could also be heard from the north border of the campus. It acts as both a signal, letting people know that the train has arrived, and also a keynote. At 0:50 and 1:10 you can hear quiet rustling noises which was caused by a bird diving into the reeds located near the lake.

Seeley G. Mudd Quadrangle, February 14

Part 1:


Part 2:



Location: The quad is in located in the middle of four dorm buildings, and is a very active part of campus. It’s surrounded by concrete roads which students walk or skate on to travel between their dorm rooms, classrooms and the dining hall. Both West Dorm and North Dorm have student-operated speakers (facing East and West respectively) that they use to broadcast music to their residents during the day. Since both dorms’ speakers are angled slightly outwards, the quad in between the two dorms gets two separate streams of loud music from both dorms. Since this is the residential end of the campus, you can often hear students walking or skating around, shouting to each other, or having conversations. The flat architecture of the inner dorm can result in echoing of music and voices, sometimes making it hard to locate the sources of sounds.

Recording: The recording was done in the grassy area in the middle of the four inner (U-shaped) dorms using a TASCAM DR-40 Sound Recorder at a height of 3ft with the windscreen.

Description: From the beginning of the clip, you can hear music on the background which is a a distinctive soundmark for this location. The clip starts with somebody screaming/calling to their friend–a signal–and then we can hear scratching noises which are made by people walking by. Halfway through the first recording we hear another speaker go on, resulting in two different streams of music. The cacophony of multiple speakers is once again very characteristic of the soundscape of the quad. At 0:40 we hear some rustling/scratching noises again. Although this sounds like an artifact, I think it is the result of people walking on the sidewalk along the quad, and can be considered a keynote sound. At 1:20 (Part 2, 0:20), you can make out slight talking which is mostly masked by the music. At 1:40 (Part 2, 0:40), you can hear the sound of wheels going across the sidewalk. This 2-part sound is a result of the the front and the back wheels crossing cracks on the quad sidewalk, and is a very prominent keynote within the Mudd soundscape.