Favourite sounds


favouritesounds.org is a sound-mapping site, based on Google maps, set up to explore the connections between sounds in the environment and their geography. It is a development from the long running favourite sound project that, from 1998, has aimed to discover, and celebrate, what people value about the soundscapes of the cities, towns and neighbourhoods where they live and work.

The project asks the seemingly simple question, ‘What is your favourite sound of London, or Beijing, or Prague, or…, and why?’ The replies have been fascinating, revealing both the city of the ear and the significant role that everyday sounds play in our lives. Many have been recorded, and appear on this site. Since its beginning as a radio program for London’s Resonancefm a growing number of world towns and cities—Beijing, Prague, Berlin, Birmingham, Manchester, Southend on Sea—have been happy to support the project. In some places—New York, Chicago, Brussels—researchers have created their own specific versions. Comparisons of soundscapes, and our attitudes to them, across cultures and continents have revealed some wonderful surprises in their similarities and differences. We look forward to discovering more in the future.

favouritesounds.org is organised by project. Many are related to favourite sounds responses but the site is open to an increasing range of approaches. Some explore people speaking about sound and sonic memories. Others are student projects. The soundscape simulators enable one to play with sound combinations relevant to particular places and consider which mixes are preferable.

Favouritesounds.org aims to contribute to the discussion around our fast changing sound environment. Anyone with a project idea that might benefit from the site’s features is welcome to get in touch.

Peter Cusack, June 2012