Sound map launched for UK's coastline

A crowd-sourced sound-mapping project collecting noises from around the UK coastline was launched today in an attempt to preserve them for future generations.

For the next three months, the public are being asked to record and send in their choice of sounds from along the beaches of Britain as part of a project launched by the National Trust and the British Library. Sounds such as a working fishing village, gulls screaming or a kettle whistling from inside a beach hut can be uploaded to the sound map.

The collated sounds will then be added to the British Library Sound Archive to create a snapshot of the coastline for future generations to hear. Sounds can be recorded on a smart phone, tablet or handheld recorder to be uploaded to the map via the Sounds of our shores audioBoom website or an app.

Cheryl Tipp, curator of wildlife and environment sounds at the British Library, said: “There is something really evocative about the sounds of our coast; they help shape our memories of the coastline and immediately transport us to a particular time or place whenever we hear them.

“As millions of us head to the coast this summer for holidays or day trips we want the public to get involved by recording the sounds of our amazing coastline and add them to the sound map. This could be someone wrestling with putting up a deck-chair, the sounds of a fish and chip shop or a busy port.

“We’d also love to hear from people that might have historic coastal sounds, which might be stored in a box in the loft. This will help us see how the sounds of our coastline have changed over the years.”

All of the sounds should be a maximum of five minutes in length and images and words about the sound can be added. People will then be able to share their sounds on the map with friends and family. The closing date for uploading sounds is Monday 21 September 2015.

The sound map will join more than 6.5 million sounds dating back to the birth of recorded sound in the 19th century, with tens of thousands of environmental recordings from storms and waves to birdsong and weather. This will provide live data to scientists and researchers detailing how our world sounded at a given moment in time, but also enable them to identify changers in the natural environment.

Musician Martin Ware, producer and founder member of Human League and Heaven 17, will be using the sounds submitted by the public to create a new piece of music for release in February 2016.

Ware said: “I’ve had a deep connection with the coast all of my life. As a kid growing up in Sheffield we’d go on family holidays to Scarborough or Skegness; I can still remember the sounds that filled our days at the seaside.

“There is something emotionally deep about our connection with the coast which has shaped our identity. That is what is so exciting about this new commission and I want to capture the sensory nature of the coastline, reflecting the diversity and beauty of the sounds of our shores.”

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