Author Archives: Emma Gardner

Frank Dining Hall Brunch at Pomona, Sunday, 10 February 2013, 12:00 p.m.


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Location. Frank Dining Hall, on the campus of Pomona College, at Sunday brunch around noon. Specifically, the recording site was the wall of the room in which the food is served that is located by the door to the meeting room near the pizza and dessert serving areas. There are various serving areas throughout the room, both on the sides and in the middle, that break up the space. As one of the two dining halls on Pomona’s campus, and as the closest one to all South Campus dorms, Frank is a popular destination for students on Sunday mornings (or early afternoons) to fill their stomachs and to recount the weekend’s adventures. Many of the sounds captured thus relate either to serving food or socializing.

About the soundscape.

Keynotes: Keynote sounds in this soundscape include that of air ventilation that can be heard in the background throughout the recording, the squeak of shoes, footsteps of people walking by, and the fairly muffled voices of brief background conversations among students and workers; when in Frank, these sounds are not noticed unless one tries to pay attention to them. Various unclear noises, like rustling, that are heard at times in the recording are also keynotes.

Soundmarks: The noticeable soundmarks of Frank are the clinking of silverware being grabbed and the clattering of plates being set down or picked up; the intensity of these sounds varies throughout the recording, but they are quite common and noticeable in Frank due to the noisy nature of the plates and silverware holders there.

Signals: There are not any signals in this recording of the soundscape since none of the sounds are created with the intent of conveying a message.

Archetypes: The two soundmarks of clinking silverware and clattering plates can also be viewed as sonic archetypes, as the sounds of silverware and plates are widespread indicators of dining halls in general.

Acoustic Space: Blaisdell Bathroom






Location. Restroom B12, on the second floor of Blaisdell Residence Hall at Pomona College.

Description of the space. This bathroom is a medium-sized, rectangular room with tile floors and three drywall walls. The fourth side of the room has a shower curtain drawn across it, with a bit of space above the curtain. The side opposite that has protruding sinks and mirrored cabinets. In the corner of the room is a walled-off area for the toilet. Thus, the rectangular shape of the room is broken up by protruding objects on various walls.

Recording setup. The microphone and balloon were six feet apart from each other. The microphone stood between the two sinks on the countertop, close to the wall. The balloon was popped from a height of almost six feet, at a spot close to both the shower curtain and the walled-off toilet area. Though near two “walls” of sorts, this location was near the center of the room.

Reverberation time.
maximum intensity: 80.13 dB
minimum intensity: 34.77 dB
30 dB decay:  0.62 sec
40 dB decay:  0.92 sec
decay to minimum: 4.02 sec
decay to pre-pop background level of 41.34 dB: 0.82 sec

Acoustic description. Because the space is fairly contained, with many hard walls and surfaces for sound waves to bounce off of, the sound does reverberate pretty strongly. However, there are avenues for sound to escape, as well; the curtained wall especially, along with the spaces under the door and under the walled-off area for the toilet, allow the sound to dissipate and prevent the humming noise after the balloon pop from approaching one specific frequency too closely.