Soundsketching 'Rain on Dry Earth'
The soundsketches for Rain on Dry Earth explore the field recording of the first rain in months hitting the forest floor during the 2018 summer heatwave in the Forest of Mar in the Scottish Cairngorms. The recording was gathered by burying two hydrophones just underneath the surface of the earth with the rain hitting the microphones from above. Rain on Dry Earth could be titled Rain in Dry Earth because the audio perspective is from within the ground, surrounded by the soundscape of raindrops vibrating with and against the dry earth particles. It reveals materials in different states – liquid and solid, wet and dry – smashing and colliding together. The choice of the hydrophones and their placement isolated the sound of the rainstorm to the exclusion of everything except the rain and the earth.
The sound can be heard here
I first considered the frequency of the sound, in Hertz, of the rain drops as they hit the ground. This was done by analysing the spectrum of frequencies within the soundscape as it developed over time using a digital rendering of the sound recording called a spectrogram. In this format, time runs along the horizontal x axis and frequency up the vertical y axis. I used this visual rendering of frequency of the rain drops and combined it with textures that visually echo the patterns of rain on a windowpane so as to give visual reference to the imagery. This was an attempt to explore the sonic texture of the rainstorm.The textural drawing did not stay within the exact edges of the spectrogram rendering, its shape remained within the frequency range but was not bound by strict demarcations like in a musical score.