Mead Hall is located near the center of Pitzer College’s campus. Mead is build as four towers, connected by elevated walkways. The northwestern tower is named W and in clockwise order the other towers are named X, Y and Z. Mead is the oldest building on campus that houses students and the only elevator in the complex is located in Y tower. The elevator is dimly lit and smells of stale air. Above the door there are several empty bottles wedged between the light and the ceiling. The linoleum floor is chipped, the walls are imitation wood, and only decorated by a lone, empty cork board. Since the time of this recording the elevator has been refurnished with metal panelling and although it is arguably more aesthetically pleasing, it has broken several times and is frequently out of service.
30dB decay: .2 seconds
50dB decay: .5 seconds
60dB decay: .7 seconds
decay to background level: 2.9 seconds
For this recording I set up the TASCAM DR-40 recorder on the floor using the tripod for stability and held the balloon 3 feet in the air above the microphone. At 10:45am on march 31st residents of Mead’s Y Tower heard a loud BANG (3 actually since the first two popped prematurely)!!! I expected the small, enclosed space of the elevator to reverberate the pop for longer than it did. The spectrogram shows the high frequency decayed relatively quickly, by .8 seconds, compared to the low frequencies, which took 3 seconds. I know cork is a very absorbent substance, and it may have contributed to the quick decay. I imagine the mechanical workings of the elevator contributed to a slightly elevated baseline. The intensity graph shows a series of fluctuations in intensity which take place at the end of the decay and this could have been from the elevator’s many moving mechanics, or it could be a result of the space’s reflective sound qualities.
If you are looking for the freshest food on the 5 Claremont Colleges, look no further than the grove house, right across from the clock tower on Pitzer’s campus. It is well worth waiting in the line which often starts forming as early as 12:30, one hour before the Grove House starts serving lunch, for the sandwiches, prepared with love by students, are truly life changing.
The Grove House was built in 1902 in the Craftsman style of architecture, and eventually moved from its original location onto Pitzer’s campus in 1977. Its beautiful hardwood floors, comfortable Craftsmen style furniture, and umpteen windows, small and large, give the space a relaxed and open, yet contained and cozy feeling. Pitzer residents and visitors alike use the Grove house for a multitude of purposes. By day students study about the house, work in the kitchen preparing food for the community, and wait patiently in line for their chance to order a truly magnificent and fabulously fresh culinary creation. By night various clubs use the space for meetings and events are held on a weekly basis such as Story Slam, FemCo and Groove at the Grove. It is a hub of social activity on Pitzer’s campus and home to fond memories for many members of the Pitzer community.
For this recording I used the TASCAM DR-40 Sound Recorder
After waiting in line since 1pm and ordering a delicious Grove House sandwich I sat down to eat at the small table next to the ordering window to eat and record the soundscape. I used the small tripod to steady the TASCAM DR-40 during the duration of the recording and situated myself about half way between the half door in the front where orders are taken and the half door in the
back where customers names are shouted and delicious sandwiches are happily received. I started recording at 1:45pm and captured the soundscape of an average busy day at the Grove House. It is not surprising that a wandering Grove House customer might meander outside, thus causing the cooks to repeatedly shout their names, but it’s not awkward since the environment is so friendly. A keynote of the space is the dull hum of cooks in the kitchen, and various signals are present in the repeated calling of customer’s names and responses of “I’m coming!” There are no specific soundmarks in this recording, nothing unique to the space that necessitates preserving, however the calling of names could be seen as an archatype as it it a fairly common form of customer service in the food services industry.