EXETER SOUND WALKS
Exeter Sound Walks is a collection of short walks shaping a particular experience and focusing on some of the sounds that can be found in my suburban neighbourhood. The walks explore the sounds of different places, and the changes that the seasons bring. I am making two each month from June 2020 – May 2021. The complete collection will then be published as a book.
Exeter Sound Walks are for people who are open to a different kind of walk, and perhaps to experiencing a familiar place in a new way. The walks are drawn in pencil as illustrated maps designed to download as a pdf and print on one sheet of A4. They are short in distance (about a mile) and long in pauses. If you do one, make sure you’re not in a hurry.
Sound walks are best done alone, or in the company of a quiet friend.
In March all my concerts were cancelled due to C-19, so I have had an empty diary like all live performers and many others. As a consequence, in addition to doing a bit of online teaching I have been doing a lot of gardening.
Now that the garden is looking much better than it was I have been enjoying observing it, and walking in our beautiful surroundings.
I have been listening as I go, seeking out sounds, allowing sounds to find me, exploring unlikely places, and just pausing for a while to hear what’s there.
When I close my eyes I hear a lot more.
From my position at the bottom of the Exe valley in Exeter, I can usually hear further than I can see, because sound travels round or through obstacles that get in the way of the sightline.
Some of the sounds I notice are specific to this time and place, such the great-crested grebe family on the flood channel who join us each spring and then leave, or a metal sign that has come loose from its fixings and clangs in the breeze – one day it might get fixed and the sound will be gone.
Other sounds are more-or-less continuous like those of a weir or car tyres on asphalt.
Still further, there is the fundamental sound character of a space, which is affected by the texture of the objects the sounds bounce off and the intimacy or expanse of the space.
My sound walks are musical compositions: the choices I make shape a particular listening experience for somebody else.
I hope you enjoy them, and I’d be interested to hear how you get on.