Author Archives: Thummim Mekuria

Lyon Court Staircase

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This balloon pop was taken October 31st, 2018, at 5pm. The location, Lyon Court stairwell, consists of brick and cement walls, with two linoleum covered stairways converging in a triangle at a carpeted landing, which then bifurcates into two similarly carpeted hallways. The ceiling stands approximately 7m above the bottom stair, and the stairway itself is only approximately 1.5m wide. Only one of the outer wooden doors was closed at the time of recording.

Acoustic Data:

Maximum: 87.44dB

Time to drop 30dB: 0.5s

Time to drop 60dB: 3.98s (Only dropped 58dB)

Minimum: 29.4dB


Recording Process:

Blew up balloon to a radius of ~.25m. Balloon was held about a meter from the ground, and 0.6m from the TASCAM recorder. Key was used at first but to no avail, scissors were used after to successfully pop the balloon. The sound was collected from the bottom of the east stairwell.

Acoustic Analysis:

The longer reverberation time can be explained by the large amount of vertical open space as well as the narrowness of the stairs. Additionally, the hard linoleum finish on the stairs and the brick and cement walls could have added to the amount of reverberation, and consequent 30dB drop time. The graphs above show that the sound does not totally drop 60dB, which may be understood by the fact that a residence hall such as Lyon is subject to background noise, and the hallways above the landing could have continued to propagate the sound wave.  

by Thummim Mekuria and Daven Crossland

Claremont Memorial Park

The soundscape that I chose to record is in Claremont Memorial Park, found on Indian Hill Boulevard and 8th street. The park is an important part of the history of the city and serves us a public space where people can come to enjoy nature and relax. It is quite big (spans the entire block between Indian Hill Boulevard and Yale Avenue). It is across the street from Sycamore elementary school and contains trees, a swing set, and a medium sized playground set. This variation in the (visual) landscape gives rise to subtle variations in the soundscape of the park.

This recording was taken on the side of the park that is closest to the elementary school. I recorded in the afternoon (around 3pm) when the students from Sycamore were leaving school, which resulted in a lot of car sounds and conversations being included in the soundscape that aren’t there at other times.


The archetypal sounds that can be heard in this recording include cars passing by on the streets, the leaves of trees rustling, and little kids’ voices.