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Tram Ride

Trams at Čertova rokle
Originally uploaded by youplayawhat.
It's finally happened! I recorded sounds on the Brno trams and have prepared a special tram ride podcast. I haven't yet figured out a satisfactory way to embed it here, so you have to link over to it at podomatic. When you get there, hit the green play button at left.

It is intended as a soundscape composition. If you've ever ridden central European trams, then you may know what a rich sound environment they can be. In fact, riders get a lot of cues aurally rather than visually. People don't look around much while riding the tram, and you can't usually see what's up ahead to prepare; instead, you have to listen to the announcements for stops, listen to the wheels and travel sounds to tell whether you will speed up or slow down, and, in the case of unwary pedestrians, there are wonderful warning bells.

Inside the Tram
Originally uploaded by youplayawhat.
As the Czechs might say, this soundscape has a certain dramaturgie, in this case, a sort of narrative. First, you hear the trams arriving and departing at a tram stop, warning bells ringing, while you wait for for the right tram; your tram eventually arrives, you climb aboard and validate your ticket (the rude "bzzzz"); then you ride the tram, hear announcements, and get the sense of the general noise; finally, you get off and listen to the tram leaving and the tracks singing. In all, it takes about only four minutes.

As a soundscape composition, I've attempted a more naturalistic approach that aims to hide the editing and my role in the process. Those who care to know and listen carefully will notice that this is a montage and not a single recording. If you're really a stickler, you may also notice that there are about four trams involved in the recording, including the numbers 4, 9, and 11 on tracks in the northern part of Brno. You might then consider it an aural "illusion," but the intent is to focus in on a few of the sound signals that are most important in marking a Brno tram rider's journey.

Ah, the wonders of Odeo. It seems that this may be a solution to embedding the file. I've added the mp3 to odeo, and you should be able to listen to it by clicking on the nifty player below.

powered by ODEO

More trams at NvB:
Tram Culture 101
Tram Number 4
Excuse Me, What Are You Driving?
Quietest Tram in the East
Strange Vehicle
Brno in Motion
Waiting for the Tram, Functionally Speaking
For more urban transportation soundscapes, check out tram-n-bus.

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Blogger morskyjezek said . . .

If you are interested in listening to this podcast, it's now available on SoundCloud at http://soundcloud.com/jessej-2/brno-tram-ride-september-2006.

Odeo has, alas, gone away.    

6:36 PM, December 05, 2011

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