The soundscape was recorded within the walls of the Rains Center outdoor pool at Pomona. It was about 8:30pm on Wednesday, March 5 2014 and the water polo team was mid-practice.
With the coach’s permission, I stood in the corner of the walled-in pool area and recorded the minute long recording above with the TASCAM DR-40 SOUND RECORDER. I kept the recorder generally pointed at the center of the pool.
About the soundscape
As previously stated, the recording documents a Wednesday evening water polo practice at the Pomona pool. It’s a full-sized pool surrounded by thick walls maybe 8 feet high. Out of the water are several other people, some coaches, some other team members not playing, and a few lifeguard chairs. The coaches are in steady but spaced out communication with the athletes in the pool. Most of the sound consists of the splashing of water, which I would label a sonic archetype of any active swimming pool as well as a keynote of the recording as it pervades the entire recording. In addition, one hears shouts and calls by the players and coaches, the blowing of a whistle, and the blunt smack of flesh hitting the ball, which is similar to a volleyball.
I would designate the sound of the whistle blowing a signal that there was some interruption in the game, be it a time-out or a goal scored. I hear the sporadic vocalizing of the team and the coaches as a soundmark, as well as the impact sound of players hitting the ball. These sounds plus that of the water allow our minds to locate ourselves in a water sports setting, and if we pay attention we can specify that the game involves a ball.
The event occurred in the middle of the Pomona Track. Picture a classic running track: an open grassy field surrounded by an oval track of probably a quarter mile circumference, and the land surrounding the track is slightly elevated forming a shallow bowl shape. There is also a rectangular metal equipment shed on the side of one of the straightaways of the track, probably 20 feet long.
Recording Setup / Recording Device
An 18” balloon was popped and recorded using a TASCAM DR-40 sound recorder. I stood in the center of the track and popped the balloon while a pal recorded the event with the microphone about 3 feet from the balloon and pointed in its direction. The pop was recorded on Wednesday, March 5 2014 at 9:00pm.
-Maximum Intensity: 86.85 dB
-Minimum Intensity: 34.91 dB
-30dB Decay: .03 s
-50dB Decay: 1.56 s
-Return to Background Level: 1.7 s
Using Pratt, the recording was edited down from just a moment before the pop to when the audio returns to its pre-pop levels. The visible sound graph that we get shows the sudden spike of the initial pop and its extremely brief decay, then a moment of near silence before we see a considerably softer but distinct echo. I’m quite sure that single echo is coming off of the equipment shed that stands on one side of the track.
The visible intensity contour plot gives us a similar image. There is the initial spike followed by a steep drop and then the clearly audible echo, which we can now see is just about half as loud as the initial event. The echo quickly dissipates back to the pre-pop background levels.
Again the same sonic event is visualized in the spectrogram. The initial pop makes up the massive window of frequency in the beginning, which immediately drops into the much softer echo and then decay.