SOUNDktichen were commissioned to create a SOUNDwalk for delegates of the Royal Musicological Association annual conference which was held at the University of Birmingham in September 2015.

The 45 minute walk began beneath Old Joe, the clock tower in the centre of University Square and followed a route off campus, across Edgbaston Park Road and into Winterbourne Gardens. Once on site the walk stopped at several listening points both in the gardens and in the adjacent Edgbaston Nature Reserve. Walkers were encouraged to listen to sonic features of the environment such as the wind in the beech trees, their footsteps on changing surfaces, wildlife and distant traffic. In addition we provided three augmented listening stations where the listeners hearing ability was augmented with the use of technology. By the edge of the Edgbaston lake hydrophones in the water allowed participants to compare the soundscape above and below the water’s surface. In the woodland area a sound recording transported them to a rainy day sheltering under the giant rhubarb. Finally as the walk concluded contact microphones attached to the nut walk (a tunnel frame trained with hazelnut) revealed the movement of the plant in the wind against the metal frame.

The following sounds are recordings of some of the features heard on the walk and others were collected during our research.

Rain falling on the leaves of giant rhubarb in the woodland walk area of the gardens.

This is the sound of aquatic plants in the ornamental pond by the Japanese bridge.

The underwater soundscape of the lake in Edgbaston Nature Reserve.

Rain falling on the leaves of the hazelnut plants that form the nutwalk tunnel.

The wind blowing through the nut walk