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Claire Good Group

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Water Drums With Sound!

The freshwater drum is a fish known for its noise. Males make a grunting or rumbling sound during the breeding season, which is thought to attract females. That noisiness generated many colorful nicknames, including croaker, thunder pumper, grunter, grinder, bubbler. Other names include silver bass, gray bass, lavender bass, and gaspergou from the French casse-burgeau "to break a clam." Locally many anglers refer to them as "sheepshead."

Water Drums With Sound!

Key ID Features: Freshwater drum average 10-14 inches in length. It has a humped back with a long, sloping forehead and white lips. Coloration is gray with purple/bronze reflection and rounded triangular tail.Present in Park: Commonly found in the Mississippi River. It is one of the most often caught fish in our fishing programs.Habitat: Primarily in large rivers and shallow lakes that have mud or sand bottomsMN Status: Present

There was a time when I could spend most of my time hidden in a little recording studio lost in the woods.The studio was not pro built. but I had some nice microphones there (a couple of Brauners, a stereo modded Oktavas MK012 and a nice Sony PCM D100 handy recorder) + a couple of nice 500 series Neve preamps and an UA Apollo interface. The studio in the woods was perfect for recording with friends and spend large amounts of time doing sound design while isolated from the noises and rhythms of the city.

Now, I spend most of my time in the city so I have almost dismanteled the woods studio, but I recorded some nice organic percussion sounds during the time I spent there, and I want to share them with you all.

Sound is like light in some ways: it travels out from a definite source (such as an instrument or a noisy machine), just as light travels out from the Sun or a light bulb. But there are some very important differences between light and sound as well. We know light can travel through a vacuum because sunlight has to race through the vacuum of space to reach us on Earth. Sound, however, cannot travel through a vacuum: it always has to have something to travel through (known as a medium), such as air, water, glass, ormetal.

Photo: Sensing with sound: Light doesn't travel well through ocean water: over half the light falling on the sea surface is absorbed within the first meter of water; 100m down and only 1 percent of the surface light remains. That's largely why mighty creatures of the deep rely on sound for communication and navigation. Whales, famously, "talk" to one another across entire ocean basins, while dolphins use sound, like bats, for echolocation. Photo by Bill Thompson courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service.

When you hear an alarm clock ringing, you're listening to energy making a journey. It sets off from somewhere inside the clock, travels through the air, and arrives some time later in your ears. It's a little bit like waves traveling over the sea: they start out from a place where the wind is blowing on the water (the original source of the energy, like the bell or buzzer inside your alarm clock), travel over the ocean surface (that's the medium that allows the waves to travel), and eventually wash up on the beach (similar to sounds entering your ears). If you want to learn more about how sea waves travel, read our article on surfing science.

There is one crucially important difference between waves bumping over the sea and the sound waves that reach our ears. Sea waves travel as up-and-down vibrations: the water moves up and down (without really moving anywhere) as the energy in the wave travels forward. Waves like this are called transverse waves. That just means the water vibrates at right angles to the direction in which the wave travels. Sound waves work in a completely different way. As a sound wave moves forward, it makes the air bunch together in some places and spread out in others. This creates an alternating pattern of squashed-together areas (known as compressions) and stretched-out areas (known as a rarefactions). In other words, sound pushes and pulls the air back and forth where water shakes it up and down. Water waves shake energy over the surface of the sea, while sound waves thump energy through the body of the air. Sound waves are compression waves. They're also called longitudinal waves because the air vibrates along the same direction as the wave travels.

You can reflect a sound wave off something the same way light will reflect off a mirror or water waves will bounce off a sea wall and go back out to sea. Stand some distance from a large flat wall and clap your hands repeatedly. Almost immediately you'll hear a ghostly repeat of your clapping, slightly out of step with it. What you hear is, of course, sound reflection, better known as an echo: it's the sound energy in your clap traveling out to the wall, bouncing back, and eventually entering your ears. There's a delay between the sound and the echo because it takes time for the sound to race to the wall and back (the bigger the distance, the longer the delay).

Sound waves lose energy as they travel. That's why we can only hear things so far and why sounds travel less well on blustery days (when the wind dissipates their energy) than on calm ones. Much the same thing happens on the oceans. Crisp water waves can sometimes travel vast distances across the ocean, but they can also be messed up when squally weather dissipates their energy over shorter distances.

If you're inside a building with a giant dome, the sounds you make will reflect off the curved roof like light rays bouncing off a mirror. Buildings that work this way are sometimes called whispering galleries. The dome of the US Capitol and the famous reading room in the British Museum in London are two well known examples. You can hear the same effect at work outside when you sit in a naturally curved area called an amphitheater. You can talk in a normal voice and still be heard very clearly a considerable distance away.

The energy something makes when it vibrates produces sound waves that have a definite pattern. Each wave can be big or small: big sound waves have what's called a high amplitude or intensity and we hear them as louder sounds. Loud sounds are equivalent to larger waves moving over the sea (except that, as you'll remember from up above, the air is moving back and forth, not up and down as the water does).

Apart from amplitude, another thing worth noting about sound waves is their pitch, also called their frequency. Soprano singers make sound waves with a high pitch, while bass singers make waves with a much lower pitch. The frequency is simply the number of waves something produces in one second. So a soprano singer produces more energy waves in one second than a bass singer and a violin makes more than a double bass.

Remember, however, that sound waves don't look like this as they travel. These up-and-down patterns are what you'll see if you study sound wave signals with an oscilloscope (a kind of electronic graph-drawing machine). Sound waves travel through the air as squashed-up compressions and stretched-out rarefactions. They only look like this on an oscilloscope trace.

But here's a conundrum. If a violin and a piano make sound waves with the same amplitude and frequency, how come they sound so different? If the waves are identical, why don't the two instruments sound exactly the same? The answer is that the waves aren't identical! An instrument (or a human voice, for that matter) produces a whole mixture of different waves at the same time. There's a basic wave with a certain amplitude and pitch, called the fundamental, and on top of that there are lots of higher-pitched sounds called harmonics or overtones. Each harmonic has a frequency that's exactly two, three, four, or however many times higher than the fundamental.

One thing to note about the "speed of sound" is that there's really no such thing. Sound travels at different speeds in solids, liquids, and gases. It's generally faster in solids than in liquids and faster in liquids than in gases: for example, it goes about 15 times faster in steel than in air, and about four times faster in water than in air. That's why whales use sound to communicate over such long distances and why submarines use SONAR (sound navigation and ranging; a sound-based navigation system similar to radar only using sound waves instead of radio waves). It's also one of the reasons why it's very hard to figure out where the noise of a boat engine is coming from if you're swimming in the sea.

Les Filles de Illighadad come from a secluded commune in central Niger, far off in the scrubland deserts at the edge of the Sahara. The village is only accessible via a grueling drive through the open desert and there is little infrastructure, no electricity or running water. But what the nomadic zone lacks in material wealth it makes up for deep and strong identity and tradition. The surrounding countryside supports hundreds of pastoral families, living with and among their herds, as their families have done for centuries.

A set of three water drums, designed so that the differences in dimensions correspond proportionally to the distance between sounds. Each drum consists of an outer and an inner part. The outer bowl contains water and a half-sphere that is turned upside down. On the sides there are three holes, with strings, holding the bowl in place. Drums are tuned in, letting the air under the inner bowl. They are played with a medium hard stick, which gives a bass, deep sound.

\n\nA set of three water drums, designed so that the differences in dimensions correspond proportionally to the distance between sounds. Each drum consists of an outer and an inner part. The outer bowl contains water and a half-sphere that is turned upside down. On the sides there are three holes, with strings, holding the bowl in place. Drums are tuned in, letting the air under the inner bowl. They are played with a medium hard stick, which gives a bass, deep sound.


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