Close your eyes. Listen. What do you hear? Did people listen the same way four centuries ago? And what did they hear? Radio producer Chris Brookes takes our modern ears on a sound-rich journey through the acoustic world of Elizabethan England. How different were the sounds they heard? And can we tune into their auditory world?
The inhabitants of Elizabethan England were gripped by sound far more strongly than we are today. They not only heard sound differently, but they heard different sound, and they listened to a much wider variety of it than our modern ears do. Their acoustic matrix was more complex, their 'heard horzion' further away and in terms of acoustic ecology, more 'populations' of sound existed before later industrial society threatened many of those sound 'species' with extinction.
Inspired by the observations and ideas of acoustic academics, artists and composers, 'Hark' builds a soundtrack of Elizabethan society.
A documentary feature co-produced in St. John's, Vancouver and London by Chris Brookes, Paolo Pietropaolo, and Alan Hall of Falling Tree Productions and inspired by Bruce Smith's book The Acoustic World of Early Modern England.
With the voices of:
Michael Ashton - steeplekeeper
Gordon Dickens -Thames harbour pilot
John Drew - author & historian
Elizabeth Goldring - author & historian
Diane Hadley - farmer
Sophie Matthews -site interpreter
Susan May - farmer
Simon Meyer - steeplekeeper
Robin O'Donoghue - film sound mixer
Stewart Pearce - voice consultant
Anthony Rooley - lutenist
Juliet Rylance - actor
Bruce Smith - author & historian
Barry Truax - author & acoustician
First broadcast on CBC's Ideas, 29 September 2008 and BBC Radio 3's Sunday Feature, 5 October 2008.