Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Sound Worlds of the School Children

Pupils of Strathdevon Primary School took part to Sound Preference Tests on Thursday 28th April. Many thanks to each and everyone who participated and filled out the forms about the sounds they like and dislike in Dollar.

Five liked and disliked sounds were inquired including where these sounds can be heard. These preliminary results are based on sounds that were written in the first row in the form and are thus presumably the ones that came first to respondents’ mind. More results will be posted in the near future.

The most liked sounds according to the 7 years old (27 pupils) were the sounds of the birds “in trees”, “in garden” and “everywhere”. Other sounds mentioned were quite diverse including rain, sounds of cars, rustling of the leaves and “barking in my house” (probably the pet dog). Music was liked both indoors and outdoors i.e. “in the car” and “Dollar Academy Band”, the latter referring to the bagpipe orchestra rehearsing outdoors during summer semester.

The most disliked sounds according to the 7 years old were the voices and human sounds: people shouting and screaming at school and home. Whispering in the house was not liked either, not to mention the siblings (“Sally asking me to play when I’m reading”). Disliked traffic included cars, lorries and engines. Other disliked sounds were wind on the window, turning pages as school, kettle boiling, cracking of glass and the all time non-favourite sound of most of the pupils probably all over the world: “nails on the blackboard”.

The most liked sounds according to the 10 to 11 years old (31 pupils) were the sounds of The Burn and the birds. Dollar Burn streams in the middle of the village and is quite audible close to Strathdevon Primary School as well. According to the answers the bird singing can be heard in Dollar almost everywhere. Other sounds mentioned were the rustling trees, cat purring at home and bees near flowers. Another liked sound was the opening doors of the bus at the bus stop.

The most disliked sound was traffic including loud engines. Voices and animal sounds were mentioned as well: shouting, crying babies and children, barking dogs and birds in the trees (sound that were actually liked very much, too). Signals such as ambulance sounds, alarm clock and car alarm were not liked either. Other sounds mentioned here were the sandpaper and rolling baskets in the Co-op, nails on chalkboard and the “gillotene at school” (a paper cutter, perhaps?)

According to preliminary results it seems that the bird singing was liked in both groups probably because you really cannot escape it in Dollar. Quite interestingly, the sound of the Burn was mentioned only once in the first group whereas the second group rated it very high. The disliked sounds of the first group were human sounds and voices that were replaced by the sounds of traffic in the second group. The sounds of the two age groups tell us that their everyday lives differ sonically quite a bit regarding the disliked sounds. The older ones pay more attention to the traffic sounds not present most of the time whereas the little ones are more sensitive to shouts, screams and cries around them. In the school environment the high-pitched sound of the chalkboard was equally disliked.

Please tell us, what you think. There will be more information coming in the future.

Heikki Uimonen

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