- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (February 10, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393239799
- ISBN-13: 978-0393239799
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #280,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World 1st Edition
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As a seasoned architectural acoustics specialist, Cox has made a living out of retrofitting theaters and classrooms to minimize unwanted echoes and other sonic distortions. While visiting an unusually reverberant London sewer, Cox had a sudden epiphany that spawned a new hobby somewhat at odds with his chosen profession: seeking out and cataloging unusual noises. One result of his research is this enchanting guidebook to the “sonic wonders of the world,” in which he analyzes such aural anomalies as humming sand dunes and chirping Mayan pyramids. Without getting lost in arcane scientific minutiae, Cox provides several easily digested lessons in acoustics on his way to describing the many sonic marvels he visited and studied around the world, from the famous whispering gallery of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral to the melancholy underwater songs produced by bearded seals near the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. Interspersed with witty anecdotes and surprising observations on the nature of hearing, Cox’s work will give readers a new appreciation for both the odd and the ordinary noises that form the soundtrack of our daily lives. --Carl Hays
“A riveting ear-opener, Trevor Cox describes in lyrical detail a range of sonic events and new ways of listening that can only brighten our experience of the acoustic world around us. A must-read for sound-lovers of all stripes.” (Bernie Krause, author of The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places)
“Cox reminds us not only of the sonic marvels we often miss, but also how those sounds affect us.” (Publishers Weekly)
“This small encyclopedia of strange sounds reveals how much art there is in the act of listening. Reading it made my ears more mindful.” (Adam Gopnik)
“A technological travelogue conducted by an expert tour guide, bursting with aural arcana that adds just the right amount of tech-savvy detail, The Sound Book brings into relief a world often obscured in our image-heavy existence. Even as we follow Cox to the ends of the Earth, what makes his book a real rush is that it's ultimately an ear-buzzing journey to the center of our minds.” (Greg Milner, Perfecting Sound Forever)
“An intriguing tour d’horizon of the world of sound.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Turns up the volume on…sonic oddities.” (NPR)
“[A] mission to make sound tourism the next big thing.” (Gemma Tarlach - Discover)
“From its first page to its last, The Sound Book invites readers to close their eyes and open their ears to the sounds, both normal and peculiar, that surround us all.” (Science News)
“Charming… From its first page to its last, The Sound Book invites readers to close their eyes and open their ears to the sounds, both normal and peculiar, that surround us all.” (Sid Perkins - Science News Magazine)
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Top Customer Reviews
We assume a posture of defense to the unfamiliar sound. Hearing ability has taken an important role in human beings’ successful surviving. He illustrates interesting exemplifications of evolution. Some vines in the rain forest increase their chances of being pollinated by attracting bats with its concave leaf, whereas a certain moth uses their long tails as ultrasonic decoys to evade the attack from bats. Forests transmit bass more easily could explain why rainforest birds tend to produce low-frequency songs with drawn-out simple notes. Cox says the bird’s song pitch has dropped and the birds now sing more slowly in places where foliage has become heavier over decades. He sounds the alarm, aren’t we constantly sending out critical noise to the living creatures throughout our civilization process? We create noise when we navigate by ship. We grope around in the sea using a sonar system. Noise may displace fish populations from breeding and spawning grounds, and obscure the communication between animals needed for finding mates, navigating, and maintaining social groups. If we are exposed to high levels of noise, our bodies will produce more stress hormones in the long term that might elevate blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease.
We long for tranquility, dreaming of the soundless world. But there isn’t any place without sound in this world. This book is like a sound museum. Every page is filled with peculiar sound. Nature sound heels our mind. The health benefits of natural sounds. On the other hand, it is true that hearing human activity also reduces our stress. Being a social animal has been a vital part of our evolutionary success. As an audio freak, I’m enjoying reverberated music sources daily, while struggling to eliminate unnecessary pink and white noise. Music soothes us. Music making has played an important role in social bonding, collaborative working. Cox opines the core of Western music is the switching between tension-filled dissonance and harmonious consonance. He explains humans initially find consonance can be changed by music that we hear during our lives. His theory, the feeling of tension resolved is something we tend to enjoy, sounds fresh to me. After reading this book, I want to travel around my home country searching our iconic sounds.
I first heard of Prof. Cox and his new book on an NPR interview in early 2014. It sounded intriguing and is! This is not a scientific or engineering text; in fact, it's not very technical at all. What it is is a book of adventures by Prof. Cox as he travels and listens to things that are interesting; this includes auditoriums, underground storage facilities (which have some very interesting reverberations), singing sands, ancient Greek amphitheaters (yes they have very good acoustics, but no the ancients didn't know more than modern engineers).
He covers bird songs in some detail. There are a lot of birdwatchers out there, unfortunately there seem to be many less who listen to them.
He is an acoustics professor, but he covers so very many things that it's difficult to recall them all. It does whet the appetite for more and that's all to the good. Any number of the things discussed can be pursued by the avid reader -- perhaps a little more research online or even trying to make your own recordings. With the number of small portable computers on the market, a microphone or two, and a video camera you can capture sight and sound alike. A modest priced system should get the interested person started.
I could go on, but I won't; the list of things covered is large and it'll do you more good to read the book than to hear me go on and on about it.
If you want a technical book on any of the many areas of sound, from recording techniques to acoustics, to FFTs and DSPs,do look elsewhere; Amazon has many. But for a nice popular book with a sense of adventure, well written by a man who's not only an expert but obviously loves his calling, this is a very nice book indeed.
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