Listening to Forest Rain
Updated: Jun 24, 2019
Today's trip to the Blackheath Forest in the Surrey Hills was planned with one thing in mind - to find sounds of the rain. Normally a walk in a forest would be planned to avoid the rain, but what might I notice if I lingered a while in the rain, listening?
Sylvan Sound # 1: Forest rain on fallen leaves
This was my only opportunity to record rain during this day trip. I just caught the end of the mornings down pour. I was nestled on a large fallen holly truck. The tree was not dead, as young stems and branches continued to grow from the fallen trunk. It made the perfect seat for a recording. I was only 10 metres from the path, inside a dense thicket of mixed deciduous trees, many young, small and shrubby, so that my route to the log was scrambly. Inside the thicket I was slightly sheltered from the rain but still, I could only record for 12 minutes for fear of damaging the recorder and mics. During these twelve minutes I listened intently to the sound of the rain hitting the sodden leaves. The rain shower was heavy and consistent. There was the distant sound, the backdrop of rain crackle, and the close sound, when the droplets hit the leaves near to the mics, which sounded more like a pop. It’s interesting how multiple droplets and single droplets have quite different sonic qualities, despite identical sources, the sound texture of the whole is markedly different to the sound texture of the individual parts.
I couldn't help but be distracted by the birds, the air traffic, and passing cars, however, they are all an important part of the recording. I’m only a twenty-minute walk from the station, right on the outskirts of the forest, so I anticipated some traffic noise, even the possibly of a passing train or the conversation of a dog walker.
8th May 2019
Blackheath Forest, Surrey Hills
To hear this sound file click here.